As a global, plant-based foods company, the ongoing success of our business depends on using high-quality ingredients to make foods enjoyed by people around the world. This means that farmers and their communities are essential to our work. By responsibly sourcing our ingredients, we are doing our part to support farmers’ resiliency and the wellbeing of people and the planet, especially during periods of environmental or economic stress. We’re working together to address some of our world’s greatest challenges, including climate change, food insecurity, biodiversity, human rights and significant disruptions. Especially in 2020, COVID-19 has deepened our awareness of how profoundly these disruptions can affect the lives of people in our supply chains.
Creating these resilient agriculture systems can be challenging, especially in regions where farmers grow food and ingredients under extraordinary circumstances. That’s why we collaborate with suppliers and organizations around the world to inform and improve our efforts to achieve our commitment of 100% responsibly sourced priority ingredients by the end of 2020. In 2019, we engaged 117 priority-ingredient suppliers in measuring continuous improvements or making direct investments in our ingredient sourcing regions. The following chart details our progress.
To progress towards responsibly sourcing our ingredients, we work with suppliers, farmers, scientists and NGOs identify opportunities to help farmers and workers improve climate resilience, enhance biodiversity, improve livelihoods, and help address human rights and equity. We do so first by measuring continuous improvement through the Kellogg Grower Survey or equivalent industry tools like Fieldprint® Platform’s Field to Market® or SAI Platform’s Farm Sustainability Assessment. From there, Kellogg and our partners establish Kellogg’s Origins™ programs to provide training and technical assistance and share best practices that improve farm productivity, regenerate soil health, protect species and habitats, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The Kellogg’s Origins™ program that supports responsible sourcing is one aspect of our Kellogg's Better Days® global purpose platform and our commitment to support 1 million farmers and workers through programs focused on climate, social and financial resiliency by the end of 2030. Through 2019, we have supported more than 433,000 farmers, including 13,270 women and 32,605 smallholders, around the world through over 40 active Kellogg’s Origins™ programs
Following are highlights of some of the Origins projects at work:
- In 2019, Kellogg launched the Supporting U.S. Farmers program with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) to provide farmers in the Midwest and Great Lakes regions with funds and technical assistance to improve their practices. Through this collaboration across Michigan, Illinois, Nebraska, and Arkansas ‒ where we source corn, wheat and rice to make beloved cereals like Frosted Mini-Wheats, Raisin Bran and others ‒ we have helped farmers implement conservation and regenerative agriculture practices like cover cropping, conservation tillage, nutrient management, vegetative buffers, irrigation efficiency and wetland restoration across 54,000 acres of farmland. Many of these practices also protect local watersheds by effectively preventing soil from eroding from the land and seeping into waterways.
- Since 2013, we have worked with our rice suppliers, the Institute of Agri-food Research and Technology (IRTA), and farmers in Spain’s Delta del Ebro region to build an active farmer-peer network supported by guidance from trusted experts to protect biodiversity, improve farm profitability and conserve natural resources. This holistic program offers training, agricultural extension research and demonstration plots farmers volunteer from their own farms to trial practices that can improve soil fertility, water management and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Over the seven-year life of the project, farmers have installed 323 bat boxes that provide on-farm habitats for natural pest predators and pollinators. More recently, a 2019 trial on three farms showed an impressive 15%-45% reduction in GHG emissions from improved irrigation methods. Farmers also began testing winter cover crops like ryegrass, pea and a mix of oat and vetch to improve soil fertility and in-field biodiversity. Innovations from this project can also help farmers’ businesses: by 2018, participating farmers reported a 15% increase in production and an average profitability increase of €285 ($320) per hectare.
- In Mexico, Kellogg partners with the Centro Internacional de Mejoramiento de Maíz y Trigo (CIMMYT, or the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center) to responsibly source local corn ingredients for Kellogg’s Corn Flakes® and Kellogg’s Zucaritas® CIMMYT’s agricultural innovation network helps small- and medium-sized farmers increase their yields with conservation agriculture practices, while also sustainably growing the yellow maize we use in our foods. By 2019, this initiative reached more than 370 growers, who benefited from the project with training or by selling their grain to Kellogg. In 2019, participating farmers improved profitability by an average 11% and saw measurable improvements in water-use efficiency, pesticide reduction and nutrient management. Kellogg is also a founding supporter of MasAgro, a joint initiative that has thus far brought hundreds of thousands of smallholder and women farmers together with agricultural research and development organizations to raise and stabilize their crop yields, increase their incomes, and reduce the effects of climate change on Mexico's agricultural output.
- Farmers across Central America face decreasing crop yields, loss of income and an inability to consistently maintain farms due to impacts from climate change and global crop market price shocks. In response to these risks, Kellogg and Olam Group have been collaborating since 2018 to support the livelihoods and resilience of 3,000 cocoa farmers in Ecuador over three years. The initiative provides training and materials to help farmers diversify crops grown on cocoa plantations, create new income streams and produce their own organic fertilizers and insect repellants using items like coffee leave already available on farms. The program also will enhance local biodiversity by providing farmers with 30 fruit and native trees for every hectare of cocoa seedlings planted during the project.
- In 2019, we achieved our goal of 100% responsibly sourced vanilla from Madagascar in our foods. Through a three-year project with ingredient supplier Symrise, we’re working with local nongovernmental organizations in 20 villages in Ankavanana, a remote region prone to high soil erosion due to slash and burn practices used to clear forests to grow vanilla. The program is improving vanilla production and farmer livelihoods, while also decreasing deforestation and reducing food insecurity, especially malnutrition among local families. You can read more about our impact here.
Building Better Days through responsible, resilient supply chains
Since Kellogg began our responsible sourcing journey in 2014, we have made tremendous progress with our 10 priority ingredients. Over time, we also have come to better understand the dynamic nature of our supply chains and our business. Some of our current priorities – like corn, wheat, rice and potatoes – continue to be the core of our business, while others have decreased in volume due to divestiture or shifts in strategy. Similarly, new ingredients have become more material to our business as we grow in emerging markets and acquire new businesses. For these reasons, we reassessed our ingredient materiality to identify new priority ingredients aligned to our 2030 Better Days strategy.
Starting in 2021, we will add six new ingredients – eggs, oats, soy, cheese, almonds and hazelnuts – to our responsible sourcing initiatives. We will publish our complete assessment results in 2020 and we are working with our internal teams, partners and suppliers to finalize our strategy for responsibly sourcing these ingredients, using a risk- and context-based approach. We also will continue to review our priority ingredients through 2030 to ensure our programs are responsive to changes in the world and in our business.
For more information about our responsible sourcing journey, details on our progress and results to date, visit our 2019 Responsible Sourcing Milestones.