Reducing fuel use


We work with our suppliers, co-packers, transportation providers and customers to reduce the impact of shipping our products around the world.

Optimizing transportation modes

We continue working to improve transportation efficiency through modal shift – moving loads to transport modes with less impact, such as from truck to rail or ship.

Although our overall intermodal usage remained constant last year, it increased from 13 to 19 percent of total interplant shipments in North America between 2011 and 2015.

We fell short in our target goal, set in 2005, to reduce transportation fuel use 35 percent by 2015. We reduced this rate 25 percent.

Despite not reaching our goal, we made significant progress in fuel efficiency with our carriers, optimized our transportation modes and improved logistics planning.

Improving logistics planning

Working with supply planning teams in each of our divisions, we continue to decrease our total delivered costs by regionally sourcing products from General Mills’ facilities rather than shipping them longer distances.

We also improve logistics planning to fill trucks more completely and, when possible, use the same carrier for inbound and outbound freight, reducing empty trucks on the road.

Using innovative technologies

Expanding on a pilot program launched in 2013, General Mills used 20 new semitrailers powered by compressed natural gas (CNG) to transport products to some U.S. retail customers in 2015. 

In addition, at our Martel, Ohio, production facility, we partnered with a carrier to use lightweight truck cabs to transport flour. Between 2014 and 2015, we were able to increase the weight of products in each shipment by nearly 8 percent, reducing GHG emissions by a corresponding amount.

Collaborating to streamline shipments

Through our Direct Plant Ship program, we provide customers incentives to accept full truckloads of some finished products directly from our plant, instead of from our distribution centers. During fiscal 2015, this eliminated more than 20,000 truck trips and reduced miles driven by more than 3.8 million.

When selecting shippers, we prioritize companies with strong environmental credentials.

In North America, 90 percent of our road transport by spend (between plants and to customers) and more than 60 percent of our intermodal shipments are with SmartWay certified carriers.

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2016 Annual Report

150 years of growth 

Global Responsibility

2016 report