USA – Minnesota-headquartered global food company, General Mills, has announced that it is investing in renewable energy efforts to support the company’s environmental goal to power its operation using 100% renewable electricity by 2030.
The Yoplait and Häagen-Dazs brands owner revealed that it is currently investing in two large-scale wind farms which will produce renewable energy credits (RECs), and anaerobic digestion (which captures and uses methane from waste to generate electricity).
Internationally, the company added that it is also investigating renewable projects where it has energy-intensive operations.
General Mills notes that the strategic investments as part of the company’s commitment to the RE100 initiative, which brings together the world’s most influential businesses committed to 100% renewable power.
“Signing on to a movement like RE100 extends our commitment to renewable electricity globally, across our supply chain,” said John Church, chief supply chain officer at General Mills.
“We know we’re able to drive more widespread action and impact when we make bold commitments. And we’re proud to be among those corporations that are taking the initiative to use scale for good because together, we can secure more measurable and meaningful results.”
Full value chain targets
In 2015, General Mills was the first company across any sector to publish a goal approved by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) to reduce absolute greenhouse gas emissions across the company’s full value chain by 28% by 2025.
Through 2019, General Mills observed that it has reduced the greenhouse gas emissions of its extended value chain by 14% compared to its 2010 baseline.
General Mills has undertaken several renewable energy projects and is currently investing in more projects to enable the company to reduce Scope 2 emissions in its global operating facilities.
In North America, the company has a 1.6 megawatt generator fueled by the anaerobic biodigester at its Murfreesboro plant in Tennessee enabling the company to reduce its annual grid power and natural gas purchases by up to 20%.
In South America, the company is operating a 335 kilowatt biogas regeneration plant at its Paranavai Yoki location. General Mills said that the power is used by the plant with any excess sent to the local electric utility, reducing the company’s power spend by 30 percent.
General Mills has also installed a 195 kilowatt capacity biogas regeneration plant at its Arras, France Häagen-Dazs production facility.
In addition, the General Mills has signed a mutli-year virtual power purchase agreement with RES America for 100 megawatts of the Cactus Flats wind project in Concho County, Texas.
According to the company, the project generated RECs in 2019 equivalent to about one third of electricity usage at General Mills owned manufacturing locations in the U.S.
Last year, the company signed another 15-year power purchase agreement with Roaring Fork Wind, a joint venture partnership between RES and Steelhead Americas, for 200 megawatts of its Maverick Creek wind project in central Texas.
According to the agreement, the wind farm will supply RECs for General Mills that, together with Cactus Flats will equal 100% of the electricity used annually at the company’s owned U.S. facilities.
“We have a responsibility to use our scale for good, and people and planet are our primary considerations,” said Mary Jane Melendez, chief sustainability and social impact officer for General Mills.
“We continue to seek out and invest in solutions and programs that will restore and regenerate our natural resources which we are all dependent upon.”