General Mills set a goal to source 100% renewable electricity by 2030 as part of the RE100 global corporate initiative. To achieve this, the company is investing in renewable energy efforts to support its environmental objectives. Examples include two large-scale wind farms that will produce renewable energy credits (RECs), and anaerobic digestion (which captures and uses methane from waste to generate electricity). Internationally, the company is investigating renewable projects where it has energy-intensive operations.
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 (Scopes 1, 2, and 3) by 28% by 2025. Through 2019, General Mills has reduced the greenhouse gas emissions of its extended value chain by 14% compared with its 2010 baseline.
The renewable energy projects currently underway, as well as those yet to be implemented, will enable the company to reduce Scope 2 emissions in its global operating facilities. Projects underway thus far include the following:
- In North America, the company has a 1.6-megawatt generator fueled by the anaerobic biodigester at its Murfreesboro plant in Tennessee. Self-renewing bacteria in the biodigester convert plant process wastewater from its yogurt production into the biogas fuel. Power and waste 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. The power generated from the biogas is sold to the local utility grid, while excess heat in the form of hot water is recovered to reduce natural gas consumption at the ice cream plant.