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Kellogg seeks greener operation, mirrors Wal-Mart sustainability push

story by Kim Souza
ksouza@thecitywire.com

Editor’s note: The Supply Side section of The City Wire focuses on the companies, organizations, issues and individuals engaged in providing products and services to retailers. The Supply Side is managed by The City Wire and sponsored by Propak Logistics.

Cereal giant Kellogg recently unveiled plans involving two new sustainability commitments — responsible sourcing and natural resources – that should help the company’s ratings on the Wal-Mart Stores sustainability index.

While Kellogg said its sustainability legacy goes back 100 years to W.K. Kellogg and the use of recycled materials for cereal boxes, it’s no secret that food suppliers to Wal-Mart Stores are also trying to glean better ratings on the retailer’s sustainability index first unveiled nearly two years ago.

Wal-Mart’s rating system asks plenty of questions from its top 100 suppliers, to include: How can wheat, rice and corn be grown with less water and fertilizer? This question is now being directed to Kellogg suppliers in a new set of guidelines required by 2015.

"This company was founded on the belief that there's an inherent goodness in grains and that continues to hold true today," John Bryant, Kellogg Company CEO and board chairman, said in a statement. "We are committed to nourishing families so they can flourish and thrive. Our new sustainability goals will help us do this by delivering high-quality grains in a responsible way that enriches the lives of consumers and agricultural growers around the world."

RESPONSIBLE SOURCING
Kellogg said it will responsibly source its top 10 ingredients and materials by 2020, and validate compliance across all direct suppliers by 2015. With that the company will continue to provide resources and education to key agricultural suppliers, millers and farmers to help them increase their resilience to climate change; optimize their use of fertilizer inputs; reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in their agricultural practices; optimize water use and enhance watershed quality; and improve soil health.

The new plan also calls for Kellogg to build programs to help small-scale farmers improve livelihoods by adapting to climate change and improving their agronomic practices and business skills. The company said it seeks to identify areas within Kellogg's supply chain with a high prevalence of women farmers and workers and develop programs to provide resources and education that improve the livelihoods of these women, their families and their communities.

Around the world, Kellogg said it works with its growers, suppliers and partners to improve the company's overall impact on the environment. This includes helping wheat farmers in the United Kingdom improve soil health, supporting a women's cooperative of more than 600 farm families in Bolivia, and promoting new rice growing methods in Thailand that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Kellogg, its leading corn supplier, Bunge, together with The Nature Conservancy are active in agricultural conservation management in the U.S. Midwest Corn Belt including portions of the Missouri River, Upper Mississippi River and Ohio River watersheds. The goal is to encourage farmers to implement best management practices, track farm-level and watershed outcomes that will benefit the region, and measure continuous improvement of on-farm practices using Field to Market metrics.

"We also want to support the smallholder farmers and women farmers who grow our ingredients around the world," said Diane Holdorf, Kellogg Company chief sustainability officer. "Not only is Kellogg innovating great-tasting, nutritious foods, through our work with growers we're also building trust in our foods."

CONSERVING NATURAL RESOURCES
Kellogg Company will further reduce energy and GHG emissions by an additional 15% (per metric ton of food produced) from 2015 performance. Other aspects of the plan include:
• Expand use of low-carbon energy in plants by 50% by 2020;
• Support watershed quality, implement water reuse projects in 25% of plants by 2020, and further reduce water use by an additional 15% (per metric ton of food produced) from 2015 performance;
* Increase to 30% the number of plants sending zero waste to landfill by 2016; and
• Ensure that 100% of timber-based packaging continues to be either recycled or from certified sustainable sources, while implementing resource-efficient packaging, as measured by improved performance for recycled content, recyclability and food-to-package ratios.

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"We're making progress but also recognize the need to drive change, which is why we're stepping up our plans now with new goals for 2020." Holdorf said.

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