Conserving Natural Resources

Conserving Natural Resources

Kellogg is respecting the limits of our planet by conserving natural resources where we source and make our foods. We continue making progress against our end of 2020 natural resource conservation commitments and also announced next-generation Kellogg’s® Better Days commitment, aligned with the U.N. SDGs and our own science-based targets.

Reducing greenhouse emissions and energy use

We know that food insecurity and livelihood vulnerability are exacerbated by climate change. That’s why we’re working to reduce our emissions and improve climate resiliency within our own operations and across our supply chain. In 2015, Kellogg was one of the first companies to set an approved 2°C science-based target for reducing greenhouse emissions.

So far, we’ve reduced Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions in our operations by 9.5 percent toward our goal of a 65 percent reduction by 2050. We have also engaged 80 percent of our direct suppliers to report their emissions, with the goal of reducing our Scope 3 emissions by 50 percent by 2050.

In 2018, we reduced our energy use by 7.7 percent and our greenhouse emissions by 6.0 percent from 2017. So far, we’ve reduced energy use by 9.4 percent and greenhouse gas emissions by 8.9 percent toward our end of 2020 commitments to reduce energy use and greenhouse emissions, respectively, by 15 percent (from a 2015 baseline). While we are proud of our progress to date, our ability to reduce greenhouse emissions and energy use have been slower than expected. This is a result of several factors, including impacts from climate change. For example, droughts have limited clean hydropower output, and lower oil and gas prices encourage utilities to use more fossil fuels in some markets. Additionally, as our company continues to follow our Deploy for Growth strategy, we look for opportunities to optimize our production network, which means that more energy is needed to produce food for our expanding portfolio. This is compounded by changes in consumer behavior, including our investment in emerging markets, where people are selecting more small-size, on-the-go foods packaged for immediate consumption.

One way we are delivering reductions in greenhouse emissions is through our commitment to source 100 percent renewable electricity by 2050, in partnership with RE100. In 2018, 28 percent of the electricity used in our facilities came from renewable sources, and we have secured more renewable electricity than ever before. Our work began with a global renewable energy assessment with a third-party to determine the technical and financial feasibility of renewable power in each of our markets. This information informed partnerships with local utilities and non-profit partners, allowing us to make great strides across the globe.

  • Across our European operations, 100 percent of the electricity we used in 2018 was renewable.
  • In North America, we are purchasing renewable electricity at numerous locations, including the Battle Creek, Michigan plant in our global headquarters city.
  • Our plant in Taloja, India is our first plant to install solar panels, which are already delivering 10 percent of the facility’s power requirements.
  • In Botany, Australia, we introduced smart technology – including artificial intelligence – to best manage natural resources.
  • In 2019, three of our facilities in Mexico will begin sourcing green electricity for 90 percent of their power.

Conservation Chart

Reducing Water Use

As outlined by the United Nations, water is a human right and one that is under intense pressure globally as water scarcity, urbanization and population growth further stress this resource. At Kellogg, we are working to reduce our water use worldwide, in our business and the communities where we source ingredients and make our foods.

In 2018, we updated our global water risk assessment, engaging internal and external experts to evaluate physical water stress, regulation, usage and business risk. Our 2018 assessment evaluated sites from two perspectives: an internal rating based on data from each site, and an external rating of core indicators from the World Resources Institute Aqueduct water risk mapping tool. The assessment classified 36 percent of our facilities as “high risk.” We’re taking unique actions in these sites to reduce our use of water and address these risks.

We’re also making progress across all of our facilities and anticipate that we will meet our end of 2020 commitments to reduce our global water use by 15 percent (from a 2015 baseline), and to implement water reuse projects in 25 percent of our plants. In 2018, we reduced water use by 7.7 percent from 2017, and so far we have reduced global water use by 13.4 percent (from a 2015 baseline). Nine of our facilities reduced their water use by 20 percent or more. We have also completed water reuse projects at 14 percent of our plants.

Reducing Waste

We take a holistic view of waste across our value chain. In 2018, we focused on three main areas:

  • Total waste in our operations;
  • Food loss and organic waste, including food waste, in our operations and supply chain; and,
  • Packaging used for our foods.

Impacting total waste

In our operations, we work to reduce total waste, ensuring re-use, recycling and other approaches to avoid sending waste to landfill. Our goal is to continue to reduce total waste by 15 percent (from a 2015 baseline) by the end of 2020. While we reduced our total waste by 11.3 percent in 2018, overall we have reduced total waste by 5.7 percent from the 2015 baseline through numerous initiatives:

  • In April, the company announced the transition to compostable and paper foodservice products in all of our facilities, eliminating all remaining single-use foam and plastic serviceware, straws and water bottles globally by the end of 2018.


Focusing on food loss and organic waste

In 2018, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (UNFAO) reported that world hunger continues to rise. Yet, according to the World Food Programme, the world produces enough food for everyone. Part of the answer to helping the one in nine people who suffer from hunger and malnutrition is to drastically reduce food loss and waste.

Along our value chain – primarily on farms, in our own operations and with consumers – Kellogg is reducing food loss and organic waste, which includes things like food waste and animal feed, to ensure that food grown and made goes to feeding people, whenever possible. Doing so is one of the most important levers to solve the issue of food insecurity brought on by our growing population, climate vulnerability and malnutrition.

In 2016, Kellogg was one of the first companies to join a group of global leaders from government, business, research and farming communities committed to working together to meaningfully reduce food loss and waste by 2030. This group, Champions 12.3, is named for U.N. SDG target 12.3 that calls for “cutting in half per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer level, and reducing food losses along production and supply chains (including post-harvest losses) by 2030.”

The same year, Kellogg was an early adopter of the World Resource Institute Food Loss and Waste Accounting and Reporting Standard and was one of the first companies to report global food waste data by destination. In 2018, we achieved an overall 2.6 percent reduction in food waste within our manufacturing operations, as measured by this standard. Since 2016, we’re reduced food waste by 12 percent in our manufacturing facilities (from a 2016 baseline).


Kellogg has adopted the Consumer Goods Forum’s definition of food waste: food and/or associated inedible parts removed from the food supply chain and sent to disposal (landfill, draining or incineration without energy recovery) per unit of food sales (in constant currency).

Success stories in reducing food loss and waste across our value chain

Following are some of the ways we’ve successfully reduced food loss and organic waste across our value chain:

  • In Mexico, Kellogg partnered with the Mexico Food Bank Network to rescue fruits and vegetables from agricultural lands to provide people with more than 35 million servings of fresh fruits and vegetables that were at risk of being lost but able to be consumed.
  • In the U.S., we’re making a concerted effort to use “perfectly imperfect” apples, strawberries and other fruits in the filling for several foods, including Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain® bars and Pop-Tarts®. Although not the first choice for supermarket shoppers, these fruits are every bit as wholesome and delicious.
  • Around the world, we also donate foods that are acceptable to eat but not able to be sold due to underweight quantities and less-than-perfect packaging.
  • In the U.K., we have piloted an innovative use for imperfect Kellogg’s Corn Flakes® from our Manchester facility. The flakes that are too big, too small or overcooked go to Seven Bro7hers Brewery for their “Throw Away IPA.” The cereal flakes replace some of the wheat grain in the beer mix.
  • In the U.S., we’re continuing to standardize our labels to “BEST if used by,” to help people understand how to best reduce food waste. This work will be complete by January 1, 2020.
  • Globally, we continue to move to resealable packaging that also helps reduce food waste.
  • In Europe, we conducted a study on food waste at breakfast in Italy and Spain to help people understand how to reduce food waste at home.
  • In all of our facilities, we’ve prioritized improving production processes and modifying equipment to reduced food waste.

Improving the sustainability of our packaging

The way our foods are packaged ensures their safety, freshness and great taste. We must also consider the impact of our packaging on the environment. These dual considerations have influenced our company’s packaging since our founding in 1906 when our cereal boxes were introduced with recycled content.

Today, as part of our zero-deforestation pledge, 97 percent of our timber-based packaging comes from either recycled or certified-sustainable content. In 2018, 65 percent of these materials were from recycled content and the remainder from verified sustainable sources. What we couldn’t fathom in 1906 was the impact of plastic packaging. According to a 2016 report by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation (EMF), 311 million tonnes of plastic is produced each year and eight tonnes of this plastic enters our oceans. Of the plastic packaging produced, just 14 percent is collected for recycling globally and just five percent is retained for secondary use. We need to rethink the way we make, use and reuse plastics.

That’s why, in 2018, Kellogg announced the expansion of its Global Sustainability Commitments to include a goal of working toward 100 percent reusable, recyclable or compostable packaging by the end of 2025. Already, this commitment is changing the way we are working as we progress toward these goals:

  • In Europe, we’ve launched a project to move cereal pouches to a recycle-ready material by late 2019, saving approximately 480 tonnes of non-recyclable packaging from our supply chain each year.
  • In the U.K., Pringles® launched a partnership with TerraCycle to collect and recycle its cans.
  • Kellogg India is piloting an innovative project with waste management company Nepra Environmental Solutions in Pune, Maharashtra to develop a formal system to collect and sustainably dispose of multilayer plastic (MLP) waste. Nepra purchases MLP from the local waste-sorting workers and turns it into refuse-derived fuel that local cement kilns use instead of coal to fire their kilns.
  • To encourage recycling of cereal bags in Australia, Kellogg began including the Redcycle logo on its packs. By visiting the Redcycle website, people can easily find the location of their nearest drop-off location.
  • MorningStar Farms® veggie foods reduced its overall packaging material 38 percent by moving to re-sealable bags. As an added benefit, the bags help fight freezer burn, thereby reducing food waste.

[1] Ellen MacArthur Foundation, The New Plastics Economy: Rethinking the Future of Plastics and Catalysing Action, 2016