Jay Watson

Director Regenerative Agriculture, General Mills

Supernova Award Category: 
ESG & Sustainability
The Organization: 

General Mills manufactures and markets consumer-based food products. The company’s product portfolio includes household names such as Cheerios, Nature Valley, Blue Buffalo, Häagen-Dazs, Old El Paso, Pillsbury, Betty Crocker, Yoplait, Annie’s, Wanchai Ferry, Yoki, and more. Headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, General Mills generated fiscal 2022 net sales of U.S. $19.0 billion. In addition, the company’s share of non-consolidated joint venture net sales totaled U.S. $1.1 billion.

The Problem: 

General Mills had three challenges in tracking emissions across its supply chain, including the need for a dynamic and accurate greenhouse gas inventory that reflected the changing farmer practices in its supply sheds, particularly the adoption of regenerative agriculture systems. General Mills also sought to proactively align with forthcoming reporting guidance for the industry, ensure the strategy was dynamic and scalable to accommodate a variety of supply chains across crops and regions, and accelerate agriculture resilience systems.

The Solution: 

To accurately baseline General Mills’ scope three emissions, Quantis and Regrow combined expertise and methodologies to develop a shared process that brought value and scalability to General Mills’ emissions accounting. 

Quantis generated custom datasets for General Mills by integrating Regrow’s raw data and emissions calculations into Quantis’ full-scale environmental impact assessments. Specifically, Regrow monitored cropping adoption rates, tillage trends, fertilizer application, and yield for acreage within the selected regions as inputs that Quantis then used to calculate emissions across all lifecycle stages. The new datasets will be integrated into General Mills’s annual sustainability reporting to achieve higher granularity in sourcing data and compliance with industry standards.

The Results: 

“Our collaboration with Quantis and Regrow is a significant step toward achieving emission reduction targets,” said Jay Watson, Director, Regenerative Agriculture, General Mills.

The project resulted in a new methodology for quantifying emissions and impact in climate-related efforts for organizations similar to General Mills. The solution also provided a potential pathway to account for carbon reductions and removals in an inventory assessment where supply shed traceability is known. 

General Mills can update Quantis-generated datasets with sourcing data matched to farm-level emissions data from Regrow, tracking changes in their supply chain over time. That leads to a more representative baseline which empowers General Mills to make claims about reductions in the supply chain more credibly. 


In this case, the metric for success was the establishment of the method itself. General Mills, Regrow, and Quantis pioneered new tools and methodologies that not only offer an effective and scalable assessment for reporting a more representative baseline over time but could enable companies to make better decisions by focusing their investments in reducing emissions collaboratively across shared supply sheds.

Ultimately, better reporting will lead to more investment in climate action, credibility in climate claims, and value for climate reporting. The partners believe this progress will lead to more trust in climate action outcomes and, ultimately, momentum toward implementing climate-smart agricultural practices that will bring a more resilient food system. 

The Technology: 

Quantis and Regorw developed an integrated, dynamic, and scalable methodology to support General Mills' understanding of its emissions footprint under the SBTI FLAG framework. The collaborative project demonstrates the value of integrating farm-level emissions data, aggregated to the supply shed level, generated using Regrow’s satellite imagery and calibrated environmental model (called Denitrification-Decomposisition) with Quantis’ extensive GHG inventory datasets. 

Disruptive Factor: 

This project was game-changing in its collaborative nature. Without collaboration, this would not have been possible. 

To address the urgency of mitigating climate change and achieving collective climate goals, it’s critical that organizations collaborate across the industry to promote much needed action. Before this project, the industry lacked a scalable and effective emissions assessment methodology — and there wasn’t a structure in place for industry stakeholders to collaborate on this reporting structure. General Mills pioneered this with Regrow and Quantis.

The industry also lacked a clear pathway to account for carbon reductions and removals in an inventory assessment where supply shed traceability is known. This solution provides a potential pathway to solve this problem.

This project demonstrates how accurate and scalable reporting adds value to climate goals. Good reporting adds value by adding credibility to emissions baselines and outcome calculations. When climate goals have more value, they receive more investment across industries and are seen as more valuable by investors, customers, and other stakeholders. Ultimately, this effort brings more value to climate action for companies with agrifood supply chains, and that does a lot to bolster our path to more resilient food systems.

Shining Moment: 

An accurate emissions inventory is a critical first step in reaching climate goals. This is especially true for scope 3 emissions, which account for over 90 percent of an agrifood company’s emissions. However, scope 3 emissions are often difficult to calculate, especially in industries with land-based sourcing (like agriculture). General Mills’ efforts pioneered a strong methodology for accounting (and reducing) the emissions most impactful in our supply chains.

About General Mills

General Mills makes food the world loves. The company is guided by its Accelerate strategy to drive shareholder value by boldly building its brands, relentlessly innovating, unleashing its scale and standing for good.