General Mills, Inc. is an American Fortune 500 corporation that produces food products.
As You Sow has engaged with General Mills on issues related to recyclable packaging, GMOs, and pollinator protection.
As You Sow Applauds General Mills’ Improved Policies to Protect Bees from Pesticides
After dialogue with investors, General Mills updates pollinator policies
Following engagement with investors and advocates, General Mills has become the first major packaged foods company to improve policies to protect bees and other pollinators from the impacts of pesticides. A shareholder resolution filed by As You Sow and Clean Yield Asset Management was withdrawn after the company agreed to update its Global Responsibility Report with a commitment to support the White House’s Pollinator Health Task Force strategy.
Many of the crops that General Mills buys depend on pollinators. By investing in supply-chain sustainability, General Mills is ensuring the future of its supply chain and its profitability.
“Leadership in sustainability means tackling the tough issues,” said Harriett Crosby, General Mills stockholder and great-granddaughter of General Mills co-founder John Crosby. “General Mills did the right thing and Honest John would be proud. It's not just bees and other insects that are affected by neonics, it's earthworms and birds that eat insects. This is good news for the entire ecosystem.”
Cheerios Go GMO-Free
General Mills has announced that it has stopped sourcing genetically modified organisms for its original Cheerios breakfast cereal
As You Sow engaged with General Mills in April 2013, requesting that it reformulate its iconic Cheerios product, which contained GMOs. The decision to transition this flagship brand is heartening, but it's just the first step for shareholders. The company says that only Original Cheerios will be GMO-free, while the other 12 Cheerio flavors and other cereal brands will not - despite the fact that they produce GMO-free versions for sale in the 64 countries that label or ban genetically engineered food.
As You Sow has long warned investors that a lack of transparency in food labeling is a material risk to brand reputation. The first General Mills shareholder resolution on GMOs was filed by the Adrian Dominican Sisters in 2000, and a recent consumer campaign by Green America added even more pressure.
With polls showing public support for GMO labeling at 93%, many companies are failing to recognize consumer preferences in the marketplace. As You Sow has filed another shareholder resolution with General Mills, urging the company to continue the trend of reformulation. Shareholders will vote in the proposal in September 2014.
Our 2011 waste shareholder resolution with General Mills asked the consumer packaged goods giant to adopt an EPR policy aimed at elimination of post-consumer waste.
General Mills agreed to share key data underlying their perspective on packaging and EPR systems with As You Sow and its shareholder allies, in response to one of the shareholder first filings on this issue. We agreed to withdraw the resolutions in order to review this data and build a good faith dialogue with the consumer packaging giant over the long term. As shareholders, we retain the right to re-file these proposals if we believe the company is not sufficiently responsive.
The As You Sow-led shareholder proposal was co–filed by Green Century Equity Fund and Walden Asset Management. Our ally Nelson Capital Management is also actively engaged in the dialogue with General Mills.
In 2013, we filed a new proposal asking the company to address its responsibility for post-consumer product packaging.
In 2014, we filed on issues related to GMOs and consumer packaging.
Read more about our engagements with General Mills below.