Kellogg beats waste-to-landfill reduction target

Up next: the giant cereal and food company is focusing on sustainable agricultural sourcing practices.

Nearly half of the facilities run by food and cereal maker Kellogg Co. now send 5 percent or less of the waste they generate to landfills, beating the company's 2015 target. That's according to its just-published third global corporate responsibility report.

Since 2005, Kellogg has reduced its overall waste-to-landfill amount by 51 percent; one plant in India actually reduced its food and packaging waste by 67 percent in 2010 alone. Since its baseline year in 2009, the company has reduced waste to landfill by 20 percent, according to the report.

Here is where Kellogg stands on some of its other environmental and corporate sustainability goals:

  • Sustainable packaging: I don't know about you, but cereal boxes always seem to take up way more space than they need in my kitchen cabinets. So, it didn't surprise me to read that Kellogg is keyed in on reducing its packaging from a physical and carbon footprint standpoint. For example, almost all of its cereal cartons are now made of 100 percent recycled fiber (about 35 percent from consumer-recycled materials). Between 2005 and 2009, the company reduced its packaging (by weight) by 25 percent, or about 288 million pounds. In its Kashi business, for example the weight has been reduced by 12.4 percent. Kellogg is a member of AMERIPEN, which is one of the industry associations focused on sustainable packaging issues.
  • Agricultural sourcing: Where does this stuff come from, anyway? Recognizing that consumers increasingly want to know the source of the food on their plate, Kellogg is focusing on improving the sourcing practices for rice, corn, wheat and palm oil. Right now, these conversations are mainly exploratory. But it is clear that Kellogg and other companies could use their might to help influence more sustainable harvesting practices.
  • Water consumption: The largest impact for Kellogg comes from its agricultural suppliers; for example 95 percent of the water used for certain cereals is used during that phase of production. Last year, Kellogg began reporting data about its water usage to the Carbon Disclosure Project. Since 2006, it has managed a 14 percent reduction in water use per metric tones of food produced. In 2010, the reduction rate was 3.6 percent.
  • Energy and greenhouse gas emissions: In 2010, Kellogg reduced its energy use by 1.6 percent and cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 0.7 percent. Since its 2005 baseline year, it has cut consumption by 7.5 percent and 9.8 percent, respectively. At the current rate, the company said it expects to meet its 15 percent and 20 percent reduction goals by 2015.

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