This is part of the reason General Mills and a half-dozen other food and beverage giants have announced commitments to work with thousands of growers in their global supply chains to reduce water use and pollution impacts. For General Mills, this includes developing water stewardship plans by 2025 for the company's most material and at-risk watersheds globally and partnering with NGOs, farmers and other stakeholders on sustainable sourcing in high-risk water regions.
The seven companies - Diageo, General Mills, Hain Celestial, Hormel Foods, Kellogg, PepsiCo and WhiteWave Foods - are participants in the AgWater Challenge, an initiative organized by Ceres and World Wildlife Fund (WWF). As part of the challenge, companies must submit detailed sustainable sourcing and water stewardship plans meeting specific criteria. Ceres and WWF will evaluate and report on companies' progress against their commitments in one year.
While Lynch won't put a dollar figure on General Mills' water risk, the CDP (formerly Carbon Disclosure Project) has said a water supply shortfall represents a $63tr risk to business and communities by 2030. Food and beverage companies are already acutely aware of this risk as drought in California and India drives commodity prices up and threatens their business operations in water-scarce locations.
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