Signed February 5, 2018
Board Reviewed Feb 12, 2018
We at General Mills believe that societies, economies and businesses thrive when human rights are protected and respected.
Respect for human rights is fundamental to our purpose of serving the world by making food people love and to our commitment to ethical business conduct.
This is a statement of the steps General Mills has taken, including those taken during the financial year, in an effort to ensure that slavery and human trafficking are not taking place in any of our supply chain and any part of our business.
General Mills respects and acknowledges internationally recognized human rights principles. Within our company and throughout our supply chain, we are committed to treating people with dignity and respect.
We work within a large, diverse value chain of business partners and stakeholders. We recognize that each entity in this chain has its own independent duty to respect human rights. We expect our business partners and stakeholders to adhere to ethical business conduct consistent with our own, and are committed to working with them to fulfill this common goal.
Consistent with the principles set forth in our Employee Code of Conduct and Supplier Code of Conduct, we prohibit forced labor, child labor, and discrimination.
Our Workplace Standards and Ethical Sourcing Policy along with our codes of conduct and our Human Rights policy set standards for our company, suppliers and partners regarding the protection of human rights. These standards are based in part on the International Labor Organization’s 1998 Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work.
General Mills participates in the Consumer Goods Forum and is fully supportive of its Forced Labor Resolution and Priority Principles: every worker should have freedom of movement; no worker should pay for a job; and no worker should be indebted or coerced to work.
Supplier Responsibility Program
The protection of human rights is one of the four pillars of our supplier responsibility program. Responsible sourcing is defined in our Supplier Code of Conduct. We also use track progress towards 100 percent sustainable sourcing of our priority ingredients by 2020; in our Global Responsibility Report you can find information on the key risks for each ingredient supply chain.
We engage in verification activities to identify, assess and manage the risk of slavery and human trafficking in our supply chain.
During fiscal 2017, we worked with Bureau Veritas (BV) to expand and elevate our responsible sourcing program in our first-tier supplier base. After conducting a high-level risk assessment and segmentation of our 2,300 first-tier direct supplier facilities worldwide, we identified about 1,200 facilities that have inherent risk, based on analysis of environmental, social and governance factors. We also assessed suppliers that provide raw materials or ingredients covered by our sustainable sourcing goals, as well as natural and organic products. During fiscal 2018, we plan to assess additional direct suppliers and also include indirect suppliers.
This builds on the supplier risk assessment and audit program that started in 2013, and on third-party audits conducted of our owned and contracted facilities since 2009.
We have used third party auditors to conduct independent audits across General Mills-owned facilities and co-packers since 2009 and suppliers since 2013. In Fiscal year 2018 we began requiring the four pillar SMETA audit, accepted industry wide, to evaluate co-packer and supplier compliance with company standards for slavery and human trafficking, health and safety, environment, and business integrity in our supply chain.
Occasionally a co-packer or supplier has already been audited for another company. If the audit is comparable to our own and was undertaken within the past year, we may accept it in lieu of requiring a new audit. We work with AIM-Progress, a responsible sourcing forum for consumer goods manufacturers and suppliers around the world.
The standards we hold for our suppliers are laid out in our Supplier Code of Conduct. We expect our business partners, internal and external, to share our commitment to the rule of law and to compliance with the law wherever we operate. Our Supplier Code of Conduct obligates suppliers to comply with all applicable laws - including those related to slavery and human trafficking - in every market in which we do business with them. Suppliers certify compliance by accepting our code of conduct in the terms and conditions of each purchase order.
Accountability and Results
As of January 2018, we have audited over 270 locations across facilities owned by General Mills and finished goods co-packers. Our partner, Bureau Veritas, is in the process of registering priority suppliers in the BV SafeSupply platform, and assessing next steps for each. You can find more detail on our progress annually in the General Mills Global Responsibility Report.
Our facilities, co-packers and suppliers are held accountable for the results of our responsible sourcing audits by our responsible sourcing managers, contract managers and our third-party audit partners. Our policy is to address all instances of noncompliance with company standards regarding slavery and human trafficking found during audits in a corrective action plan with supporting documentation of the actions taken.
If a facility fails to make progress against a corrective action plan, they are subject to review and sanctions, including potential termination. We have terminated relationships with suppliers for issues such as unresponsiveness or repeated audit findings.
We make resources available to facilitate reporting and protect workers who lodge grievances or report violations. Our Ethics Line is available to employees, contractors and the public at 1-800-210-2878 or www.generalmillsethics.ethicspoint.com. For locations outside of the U.S., toll-free dialing instructions are available at the link above. Where allowed by law, the Ethics Line allows anonymity. We have policies in place to prevent reprisal or retaliatory action against anyone for raising legitimate concerns. We are committed to investigating and responding to such concerns in a prompt and responsible manner.
To ensure alignment across the function, all sourcing employees complete online learning on our Supplier Code of Conduct, with content specific to recognizing possible signs of slavery and human trafficking and mitigating risks. We are also integrating supplier responsibility into our global sourcing standards and processes.
As of fiscal 2018, all General Mills buyers:
- Include a standardized supplier responsibility review in their category strategies
- Evaluate the risk of prospective suppliers, using due diligence guidance
- Include language in contracts related to social and environmental performance, where appropriate
- Assess suppliers’ success in meeting expectations and provide ongoing feedback
Want to Know More?
Read more about our policies and actions to treat the world with care in our Global Responsibility Report.
General Mills Chairman of the Board and CEO
1Direct suppliers provide ingredients or commodities used in our food products or packaging. Indirect suppliers provide products or services such as office supplies, telecommunications, and travel that support our business more generally.