In addition, as a food company, General Mills recognizes the nutrition-related challenges faced by global consumers, ranging from hunger and malnutrition to obesity. The company reported this year on how it is working to be part of the solution – through products, consumer education and philanthropic efforts.Also in fiscal 2013, General Mills strengthened its commitment to global water stewardship. This year's Global Responsibility Report outlines progress towards a global water risk assessment of all General Mills plants and growing regions. Part of this assessment includes the identification of eight at-risk watersheds and collaboration with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) on a global water stewardship strategy. "Water is the silent currency that drives our economy – from energy production, to urban water supplies, to food production," said Adam Freed, Director, Global Securing Water Program, The Nature Conservancy. "Our management of this finite resource is critical to sustaining future growth and a healthy planet. General Mills' strong leadership and commitment to enhancing the sustainability of its supply chains is a model for corporate water stewardship and an essential ingredient to securing a sustainable future for our farmers, communities, economy, and the ecosystems on which we all depend." In addition, General Mills advanced its mission of Nourishing Lives this past year through:
- Health improvements: General Mills has improved the health profile of 73 percent of its U.S. Retail sales volume since 2005. In fiscal 2013 alone, the company improved nearly 20 percent of its U.S. Retail sales volume. Nutritional improvements touched all General Mills U.S. Retail platforms, including Baking, Cereal, Dairy, Meals and Snacks.
- Sustainable sourcing: General Mills continues to make progress on sustainable sourcing strategies impacting both the developed and the developing world. The company is collaborating with industry groups, suppliers and North American growers to reduce the environmental impact of agriculture through its leadership in Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture. In addition, in 2013, General Mills began working with vanilla supplier Virginia Dare, the international humanitarian organization CARE and Madagascar-based NGO Fanamby on a pilot to improve smallholder farmer incomes as well as the quality, quantity and traceability of vanilla grown in Madagascar. The goal is to help vanilla farmers improve their livelihoods, while ensuring a sustainable and quality supply of vanilla for the future. Madagascar is the world's leading producer of vanilla and the primary source of the high-quality vanilla used in Häagen-Dazs ice cream.
- Environmental stewardship: General Mills continues to work toward its fiscal 2015 goal of achieving significant, measurable reductions in energy usage, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, water usage and other sustainability metrics. In fiscal 2013, the company achieved its 2015 GHG emissions goal early and made progress towards all other environmental goals, with the exception of water usage rates, which were impacted by recent acquisitions.
- Workplace excellence: General Mills received numerous awards in 2013. In the U.S., Working Mother magazine included the company on its list of best companies for the 10th year in a row, and the company was named to Fortune magazine's annual list of the "100 Best Companies to Work For" for the 11th time. Other workplace honors were received in Australia, France, Germany, Greece, Mexico, Spain, Sweden and the U.K.
- Remarkable philanthropy: In fiscal 2013, General Mills donated more than $153 million (nearly $3 million a week) to key initiatives that support communities around the globe. General Mills and its Foundation have given more than $1 billion to charitable causes worldwide since 1954.