General Mills Australia
Food manufacturing

Overall

Owned USA
Rating C
About the Ratings

Company Ownership

General Mills Australia Pty Ltd
AUS
General Mills Inc
owns 100% of General Mills Australia Pty Ltd
USA
Food company, especially grain based
USA's #2 cereal maker (behind Kellogg).

Company Assessment

General Mills Australia Pty Ltd
Praise
This company received a packaging performance level of 4 (Leading) in its 2024 APCO Annual Report. Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) is a not-for-profit organisation leading the development of a circular economy for packaging in Australia. Each year, APCO Members are required to submit an APCO Annual Report and Action Plan, which includes an overall performance level from 1 (Getting Started) to 5 (Beyond Best Practice).
Source: APCO (2024)
Information
Some, but not necessarily all, of this company's ice cream products are palm oil free. For more details, follow the link to see Borneo Orangutan Survival Australia's list of products which manufacturers have told them are palm oil free or contain segregated certified sustainable palm oil.
This company is a signatory to the Responsible Children's Marketing Initiative (RCMI), which is managed by the Australian Food & Grocery Council and covers products found in retail outlets. Companies that have signed up to the initiative commit to: only advertising healthier choices to children and encouraging a healthy lifestyle through good diet and physical activity; not paying for or seeking product placement television programs, editorial content or interactive games aimed at children, unless the product is a healthier choice; not advertising and marketing to children in Australian schools unless they are asked to by those schools.
Source: AANA (2023)
General Mills Inc
Praise
In 2023, the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) asked companies to provide data about their efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate climate change risk. Responding companies are scored across four key areas: disclosure; awareness; management; and leadership. This company received a CDP Climate Change score of A-.
Source: CDP (2023)
This company is listed on the EPA Green Power Partnership website (USA) as using renewable energy for 106% of its organisation-wide electricity use in the USA.
Source: EPA (2023)
America's Most Responsible Companies 2022 by Newsweek and Statista recognises the Top 500 most responsible companies in the United States. Companies were evaluated in three areas: environmental (waste, energy use, etc.), social (leadership diversity, employees and philanthropy) and governance (transparency and economic performance). This company received a total score of 88/100, ranking 2nd in the Consumer Goods sector, and 21st overall.
In 2023, the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) asked companies to provide data about their efforts towards removing commodity-driven deforestation and forest degradation from its direct operations and supply chains. Responding companies are scored across four key areas: disclosure; awareness; management; and leadership. This company received a CDP Forests score of B.
Source: CDP (2023)
The PalmOil Scan app, produced by the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA), rates companies on their commitment to sourcing sustainable palm oil. Companies are scored on their use of certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO), commitment to sourcing CSPO, on-the-ground conservation action, and membership to the RSPO. Companies can earn a rating of Excellent, Good, Poor or No Commitment. This company is rated "Good" (retrieved 18 Nov 2023).
Source: WAZA (2023)
This company is listed as having best practice on a report card on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality in corporate America.
Over the last 60 years farming has become dependent on the intensive use of chemicals. As You Sow's 2021 report, Pesticides in the Pantry, examines the growing risks posed by the use of synthetic pesticides in agricultural supply chains to food manufacturers, and scores companies on their efforts to reduce pesticide use in their supply chains. Scores ranged from 16 to 0, with an average score of 7.5. This company received a score of 16/27.
The 2022 Corporate Human Rights Benchmark assessed 127 companies in the food and agriculture, ICT and automotive manufacturing sectors on their human rights performance. This company received a score of 30.3%. The overall average score was a disappointing 17.3% and the highest score was 50.3%.
In 2023, the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) asked companies to provide data about their efforts to manage and govern freshwater resources. Responding companies are scored on six key metrics: transparency; governance & strategy; measuring & monitoring; risk assessment; targets & goals; and value chain engagement. This company received a CDP Water Security score of B.
Source: CDP (2023)
The 2024 Social Benchmark assesses the world's 2,000 most influential companies on their responsibility in meeting society's fundamental expectations towards three measurement areas: respecting human rights, providing decent work, and acting ethically. This company was assessed in 2023 and received a score of 11/20. The average score was an alarmingly low 4.6/20 and the highest score was 15.5/20.
This company received an S&P Global ESG Score of 68/100 in the Food Products category of the S&P Global Corporate Sustainability Assessment, an annual evaluation of companies' sustainability practices (last updated 23 Sep 2022). The rankings are based on an analysis of corporate economic, environmental and social performance, assessing issues such as corporate governance, risk management, environmental reporting, climate strategy, human rights and labour practices.
JUST Capital polls Americans every year to identify the issues that matter most in defining just business behaviour. For their 2024 rankings the public identified 20 issues, which are organised under the headings Workers, Communities, Customers, Shareholders and Environment. JUST Capital then define metrics that map to those issues and track and analyse the largest, publicly traded U.S. companies. This analysis powers their rankings, in which this company ranked 104th of 937 companies, and 2nd of 32 Food, Beverage & Tobacco companies.
Criticism
This company sources palm oil from at least 20 of the 25 dirty palm oil producers identified in the 2018 Greenpeace report "The Final Countdown". In addition to deforestation, the 25 individual cases in the report include evidence of exploitation and social conflicts, illegal deforestation, development without permits, plantation development in areas zoned for protection and forest fires linked to land clearance.
As You Sow's 2024 Plastic Promises Scorecard measures the corporate ambition and action of 225 large companies across six industries on six core pillars of plastic packaging pollution prevention: 1) Recyclability, 2) Reduction, 3) Recycled Content, 4) Recovery, 5) Reuse, and 6) Producer Responsibility. This company received a grade of F.
In 2019 Rainforest Action Network (RAN) conducted a series of undercover investigations which showed that several major snack food producers, including this company, have been found purchasing palm oil from mills that have continued to source palm oil resulting from the illegal clearing of lowland rainforests within the nationally protected Rawa Singkil Wildlife Reserve in Indonesia. These mills are located immediately next to areas of illegal encroachment into the Leuser Ecosystem and lack the necessary procedures to trace the location where the palm oil they sell is grown, a key requirement for complying with the No Deforestation, No Peatlands, No Exploitation (NDPE) policy this company has publicly committed to.
Source: RAN (2019)
The Green Supply Chain Corporate Information Transparency Index (CITI) evaluates consumer-facing companies that have a sizeable supply chain in China. The evaluation uses government supervision data and public information to assess the environmental management of their supply chains in China. This company received a score of 15.92/100 (retrieved 24 Nov 2023).
Source: IPE (2023)
Forest 500 identifies the 350 companies and 150 financial institutions with the greatest exposure to tropical deforestation risk, and annually assesses them on the strength and implementation of their deforestation and human rights commitments. This company received a score of 30.4%.
In 2023 KnowTheChain benchmarked 60 food and beverage companies on their efforts to identify and tackle forced labour risks in their supply chains. This company received a score of 21/100. The average score was a disappointing 16/100 and the highest score was 56/100.
The 2021 Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare (BBFAW) report ranks global food companies on how they are managing and reporting their farm animal welfare policies and practices. This company appeared in tier 5, "On the business agenda but limited evidence of implementation", with tier 1 being the best, and tier 6 the worst.
Information
In 2018 volunteers collected and catalogued more than 187,000 pieces of trash from beach cleanups around the world to find out which corporations are contributing the most to the global plastic pollution problem. While not in the top 10, this company ranked as one of the world's worst plastic polluters.
The 2024 WWF Palm Oil Buyers Scorecard evaluates the progress and performance of 285 major retailers and manufacturer companies, focusing on actions companies have taken to ensure their own palm oil supply chain is sustainable and free of deforestation, natural ecosystem conversion, and human rights abuse. This company failed to respond to WWF's requests for information.
In Feb 2013 General Mills agreed to pay $8.5 million to settle a number of lawsuits that claim it made deceptive health claims about its Yoplait Yo-Plus yogurt. [Listed under Information due to age of court finding]
Be Slavery Free's 2024 Chocolate Scorecard rates all the major chocolate companies on their labour and environmental policies and practices. Companies were asked questions in six areas: traceability and transparency; living income; child labor; deforestation and climate; agroforestry; and pesticides. This company received a grey rating: "Lacks transparency did not respond or complete".
This company has products rated RED in the Centre for Food Safety's True Food Shopper's Guide (USA). Products on the RED list contain ingredients that come from the most common GE crops (corn, soy, canola, cotton). Companies with products on this list have confirmed that their products may have or are likely to be made with GE ingredients, or have not denied using GE foods when given the opportunity to do so.
This 2014 report by Friends of the Earth documents a tenfold increase in unregulated, unlabeled "nanofood" products on the American market since 2008. The report named this company among those with products containing unlabeled nano-ingredients. These nanomaterials differ significantly from larger particles of the same chemical composition, and new studies are adding to a growing body of scientific evidence indicating they may be more toxic to humans and the environment.
Source: FOE (2014)
General Mills and Nestle began a joint venture in 1991 to produce breakfast cereals called Cereal Partners. The company is headquartered in Switzerland, and markets cereals in more than 130 countries. Nestle is the target of a long-standing boycott call.
This company is a partner of the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, which claims will lift 50 million people in Africa out of poverty by 2022. But according to a 2015 report by ActionAid, the scheme will benefit multinational companies at the expense of small-scale farmers and is likely to increase poverty and inequality in Africa. Launched in 2012, the New Alliance provides aid money from rich countries like the US and the UK, and helps big business invest in the African agricultural sector. But in return, African countries are required to change their land, seed and trade rules in favour of big business. The New Alliance will: Make it easier for big corporations to grab land in Africa: Prevent farmers from breeding, saving and exchanging seeds: Heavily promote chemical fertilisers and pesticides, which increase farmers’ risk of debt as well as damaging the environment and farmers' health: Replace family farms with low paid, insecure jobs; and Prevent countries from restricting crop exports, even at times of domestic shortage.
In 2022 the median pay for a worker at this company was US$62,454. The CEO was paid 196 times this amount. Exorbitant CEO pay is a major contributor to rising inequality. CEOs are getting more because of their power to set pay, not because they are increasing productivity or possess specific, high-demand skills. The economy would suffer no harm if CEOs were paid less (or taxed more). In contrast, the CEO-to-typical-worker compensation ratio was 20-to-1 in 1965 and 58-to-1 in 1989.
As a result of a campaign run by the Rainforest Action Network, General Mills announced a comprehensive palm oil policy that puts them at the front of the pack when it comes to American companies addressing the problems with palm oil.
Source: RAN (2010)
In May 2014 Oxfam singled out Kellogg and General Mills as two of the worst food companies on climate and called on them to lead the sector towards more responsible policies and practices. In July 2014 Oxfam welcomed a commitment from General Mills to implement industry-leading measures to cut greenhouse gas emissions from its supply chains and press for political action to address climate change.
As listed on the We Mean Business website, this company has committed to the following climate action initiatives: adopt a science-based emissions reduction target; commit to 100% renewable power.
EWG's 2015 report "BPA in Canned Food" analyzed 252 canned food brands to find out which ones are still using BPA (bisphenol A), a synthetic estrogen found in the epoxy coatings of food cans which has been linked to many health problems. This company was amongst the 'Better Players' for using BPA free-cans for some of its brands and/or products.
This company was named in Seramount's 100 Best Companies 2022 for being a mum-friendly employer. Listed companies provide inclusive benefits for families, including paid gender-neutral parental leave, phase-back programs, bereavement leave after miscarriage, reimbursement for fertility expenses, and increased mental health benefits for employees.
This company is listed on the RSPCA Australia website as 'cage-free and proud', signifying a commitment to source 100% cage-free eggs by 2025. Essentially cage-free means barn laid, which is better than cage eggs, but still much worse than free-range or organic eggs when it comes to animal welfare.
In Jan 2013 General Mills received praise from the Humane Society for announcing that it will eliminate gestation crates - small cages used to confine breeding pigs - from its pork supply chains.
The United Nations Global Compact asks companies to embrace, support and enact, within their sphere of influence, a set of 10 values in the areas of human rights, labour standards, the environment, and anti-corruption. However it's non-binding nature has been widely criticised, and many signatory corporations continue to violate the Compact's values.
This company is a member of the World Cocoa Foundation (WCF), an international membership organization representing more than 100 member companies across the cocoa value chain. WCF is committed to creating a sustainable cocoa economy through economic & social development and environmental stewardship in cocoa-growing communities.
This company is a member of Bonsucro - Better Sugar Cane Initiative, a global non-profit, multi-stakeholder organisation fostering the sustainability of the sugarcane sector through its leading metric-based certification scheme and its support for continuous improvement for members.
This company is a member of The Sustainability Consortium, an organization of diverse global participants that work collaboratively to build a scientific foundation that drives innovation to improve consumer product sustainability. They develop transparent methodologies, tools, and strategies to drive a new generation of products and supply networks that address environmental, social, and economic imperatives.
In 2016 General Mills joined Campbell's in being among the major food companies that have broken ranks with the industry's strong opposition to mandatory labeling laws. The company has announced it will label GMOs on all products in the USA, following the standards set by Vermont's labeling law until a national standard is set.
This company is a member of Guidance, a pre-competitive global initiative, convened by Quantis, which aims to provide a methodological guide with credible references that companies can use to account for the climate change impacts of their efforts on sustainable forests and agriculture in an accurate and credible manner.
This company is a member of How2Recycle. The How2Recycle Label is a voluntary, standardized labeling system that clearly communicates recycling instructions to the public. It involves a coalition of forward thinking brands who want their packaging to be recycled and are empowering consumers through smart packaging labels. Companies must be a member of the program to use the How2Recycle Label.
This company is a member of the Cocoa & Forests Initiative, demonstrating a commitment to no further conversion of any forest land for cocoa production in Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire. On March 2019, thirty-three company signatories, accounting for about 85% of global cocoa usage, released detailed individual action plans. The action plans focus on forest protection and restoration, sustainable cocoa production and farmers' livelihoods, and community engagement and social inclusion.
This company is a signatory to the US Plastics Pact, a collaborative effort organized by The Recycling Partnership and the World Wildlife Fund, launched as part of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation's global Plastics Pact network to unify diverse public-private stakeholders across the plastics value chain to rethink the way we design, use, and reuse plastics, to create a path forward to realize a circular economy for plastic in the United States. In line with the Ellen McArthur Foundation's vision of a circular economy for plastics, which unites more than 850+ organizations, the US Plastics Pact brings together companies, government entities, NGOs, researchers, and other stakeholders to work collectively toward scalable solutions tailored to the unique needs and challenges within the U.S. landscape, through vital knowledge sharing and coordinated action.
The Global Access to Nutrition Index assesses how the world's 25 largest global food and beverage manufacturers contribute to addressing malnutrition in all its forms: overweight and obesity, undernutrition, and micronutrient deficiency. All have been assessed on their commitments, practices, and disclosure with regards to governance and management; the production and distribution of healthy, affordable, accessible products; and how they influence consumer choices and behavior. Of the 25 companies ranked, this company came 12th.
California, the UK and Australia have all enacted legislation requiring companies operating within their borders to disclose their efforts to eradicate modern slavery from their operations and supply chains. Follow the link to see this company's disclosure statement.
The 2023 Gender Benchmark ranks 112 companies from the apparel and food and agriculture sectors on their efforts to drive gender equality and women's empowerment across their entire value chain. Companies are assessed on governance and strategy, representation, compensation and benefits, health and well-being, violence and harassment, and marketplace and community. This company ranked #59/112, with a total score of 20.5%. The average score was 23% and the highest score was 55%.
OpenSecrets.org tracks the influence of money on U.S. politics, and how that money affects policy and citizens' lives. Follow link to see this company's record of political donations, lobbying, outside spending and more.
Friends of the Earth's 2014 report "Tiny Ingredients, Big Risks" names this company as one of over 200 transnational food companies engaged in nanotechnology research and development, and on their way to commercializing products. New studies are adding to a growing body of scientific evidence indicating nanomaterials may be toxic to humans and the environment.
Source: FOE (2014)
The 2023 Food and Agriculture Benchmark assessed 350 keystone companies across the entirety of the food system, from farm to fork. It covers three dimensions where transformation is needed: nutrition, environment and social inclusion. This company ranked #33/350, with a total score of 37.5/100.

Company Details

Type:
Wholly-owned subsidiary
Revenue:
364 million AUD (2023)
Employees:
222 (2023)

Contact Details

Address:
4 Ricketts Rd, Mount Waverley, VIC, 3149, Australia
Phone:
03 9239 8777
Website:
www.generalmills.com.au

Products / Brands

General Mills Australia
25 degrees South Fresh Pasta
Betty Crocker Cake Mix
Fibre One Muesli Bars
Haagen-Dazs Ice Cream
Nature Valley Muesli Bars
Old El Paso Mexican
Parampara Indian
Pecks Savoury Spread
General Mills Australia / Beak & Johnston (manufacturer)
Latina Ready Meals
Latina Fresh Pasta