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TheStreet Open House

Kellogg's Recipe of Ethics, Social Responsibility Feeds Profits

Stocks in this article: KGIS

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Kellogg Company (K) , the iconic cereal and snack food purveyor from Battle Creek, Mich., is winning accolades for its corporate ethics and social integrity. Shareholders and consumers are applauding and taking notice in more ways than one.

Kellogg's is a pure-play food company with a 100-year plus legacy of maintaining integrity in the way it operates its business, serves its customers, and creates value for investors. I've been following the company for the past two years and the more I've learned about it the more I like it.

For shareholders and ethical investors looking for a publicly traded company that puts its conscience in synch with its corporate objectives, Kellogg's is one of the best. In fact, once again it's been recognized as one of the World's Most Ethical Companies by Ethisphere Institute, an independent research center promoting best practices in corporate ethics and governance. In fact, Kellogg has been recognized six times.

One example: When Kellogg was hit by a shareholder proposal filed by the Green Century Equity Fund, the company decided to commit to only purchase deforestation-free palm oil by Dec. 31, 2015. Kellogg's uses palm oil in its snack food products and came under scrutiny over its joint venture with Wilmar, the world's largest palm oil trader with a high-profile track record of controversial environmental practices.

Lucia von Reusner, Shareholder Advocate at Green Century Capital Management, confirmed via email that "By raising the bar, Kellogg's palm oil commitment should encourage other companies to step up and support the development of transparent and responsible palm oil supply chains."

An investor who aims to be socially responsible finds this kind of ethical corporate effort encouraging. Like me, you can follow Kellogg's and monitor its sustainable and environmentally sensitive practices.

The other side of my enthusiasm for Kellogg's is it's business model and products. Not only is it the world's leading cereal company, it's also the second largest producer of cookies, crackers and savory snacks and a leading North American frozen foods company.

With 2013 sales of $14.8 billion and more than 1,600 food products it's little wonder that besides General Mills (GIS), Kellogg's is one of the most popular food stocks among investors. Average daily volume is about 2 million shares and its current market cap, according to Yahoo! Finance is $22.38 billion.

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