Global food giant adopts biogas as it targets 100% renewable electricity by 2030
– ‘We are investing in solutions that will restore and regenerate our natural resources’
– ‘By using scale for good we can achieve measurable and meaningful results,’ company says
– Company has reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 14% in five years
The maker of household brands such as Nature Valley and Haagen Dasz ice cream General Mills has set a goal for its supply chain to operate on 100% renewable electricity by 2030, as part of the RE 100 global corporate initiative.
Anaerobic digestion (AD) is central to the delivery of the target across the US-based global conglomerate’s international operations.
AD projects underway include:
- In North America, the company has a 1.6 megawatt generator fuelled by an anaerobic biodigester at its Murfreesboro plant in Tennessee, converting process wastewater from its yogurt and dough production into the biogas fuel. Power and heat from the generator are fed directly back into the yogurt processing facility to reduce its annual grid power and natural gas purchases by up to 20%.
- In South America, the company has a 335 kilowatt biogas regeneration plant at its Paranavai Yoki location. This plant is one of the largest manufacturing plants in Brazil where electric power is produced from biogas generated by the site’s wastewater treatment system. The power is used by the plant with any excess sent to the local electric utility, reducing the company’s power spend by 30%.
- In Europe, the company has a 195 kilowatt capacity biogas regeneration plant at its Arras, France Häagen-Dazs production facility. The plant uses electric power produced from generators that are fueled by renewable biogas from the site’s process wastewater treatment system. When the plant doesn’t use it, the power generated from the biogas is sold to the local utility grid, while heat in the form of hot water is recovered to reduce natural gas consumption at the ice cream plant.
The aim is to restore and regenerate our natural resources
“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.”
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. By last year, General Mills has reduced the greenhouse gas emissions of its extended value chain by 14% compared to its 2010 baseline.
“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.”
For more information on General Mills’ ambitious climate commitment and progress, read the company’s 2020 Global Responsibility Report.