General Mills Teams up with Walmart on Sustainable Agriculture

General Mills Teams up with Walmart on Sustainable Agriculture

by Kris Patton

Multimedia from this Release

Ken Powell (Photo: Spencer Tirey/AP Images for Walmart Inc.)

Ken Powell, far right, speaks at Walmart’s Sustainable Product Expo.

Walmart’s Doug McMillon takes a “CEO selfie” during the company’s Sustainable Product Expo (Courtesy: Walmart).

Thursday, May 1, 2014 - 12:30pm


General Mills CEO Ken Powell participated in Walmart’s first ever Sustainable Product Expo and made a big announcement.

Ken joined Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. President and Chief Executive Officer Doug McMillon to announce that the two companies will bolster their work with Field to Market, a nonprofit organization dedicated to working across the agriculture supply chain to address the food demands of the rapidly growing population, while conserving natural resources.

General Mills and Walmart are both members of the Field to Market Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture and pledged to more than double the initiative’s reach to 2.5 million acres enrolled in the initiative by 2015.

“General Mills recognizes the importance of collaborating with others to address global challenges and pursue solutions to sustainability priorities,” said Ken. “We share Walmart’s strong commitment to environmental stewardship and are pleased to announce our collaboration to accelerate innovation in sustainable agriculture – which will improve the economic vitality of agricultural communities, increase productivity and protect the environment for future generations.”

General Mills has been working closely with farmers since the early 1900s. This close connection to agriculture is a large part of our history and one we depend upon for our business. So, it was a natural fit for us to take a leadership role with Field to Market.

Through Field to Market, General Mills and Walmart work with growers to provide access to data that can help guide everyday decisions related to irrigation, tillage, crop rotation and nutrient management as they consider impacts on water consumption, water quality, land use, soil loss, energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.

The commitment will further these efforts by:

  • Leveraging General Mills’ strength in connected innovation to match grower nitrogen management needs with the best global solutions.
  • Co-sponsoring an innovation challenge for the innovators and farmers who demonstrate the most promise to reduce GHG emissions in nitrogen management.

“With the big challenges facing our environment and agricultural communities, it’s essential that we collaborate, which is what Field to Market is all about,” said Jerry Lynch, vice president and chief sustainability officer at General Mills.

This work with Field to Market will improve the economic vitality of agricultural communities, increase productivity and protect the environment for future generations.

There was a lot of excitement around the Expo yesterday due to the attendance of numerous top leaders from across the food industry and the announcement of significant commitments designed to increase sustainable food production.

The leaders also took time to take a photo, a “CEO selfie” if you will.

Walmart and a number of its suppliers, General Mills included, have been working for years to reduce environmental impact and increase the sustainability of products. Yesterday’s event highlighted these efforts and sought to establish further partnerships to accelerate innovation.

Sustainability is something we at General Mills feel strongly about because it is imperative for us all that Mother Nature and farming communities continue to work well. As a global food company, we’re positioned to not only create economic value, but to create social and environmental value as well.

However, the challenge we face is clear: how do we both produce more food for the world’s growing population and conserve and protect the natural resources on which our business depends?

In response to this challenge, General Mills announced in 2013 our commitment to sustainably source 100% of our 10 priority ingredients by 2020 – representing more than 50% of our annual raw material purchases.

We’re ensuring the long-term viability of our business while advancing sustainable agriculture and strengthening responsible practices throughout our supply chain.