Sunday, May 25, 2014

Cheerios: Little Life Preservers or Little Climate Destroyers

For nearly as long as this blogger has been alive, General Mills has been advertising (touting, if you will) that Cheerios cereal-as part of a healthy, balanced diet-can help to lower cholesterol. TV advertisements focusing on the “heart-healthy little life preservers”, especially through the 1990’s and 2000’s, appealed to a public audience who was becoming ever more aware that good nutritional choices would lessen one’s risk of obesity, diabetes, and various other health challenges. Most television commercials and magazine advertisements took advantage of the imagery. That is, little round cholesterol-reducing “life preservers” floating atop an “ocean” of milk (see picture). Utterly slick marketing if you ask me. After all, nobody wants an unhealthy heart.

But for all the effort that General Mills has given to want to protect you, your heart, and (of course) their sales figures, they seem to have forgotten the impact their heart-healthy promoting business has on the environment in which they do business: the Earth. Recent research from Oxfam and their Behind the Brands campaign has revealed that General Mills, maker of some of your favorite products including Cheerios, doesn’t do nearly enough to help protect us or our home.
For example, the top ten food and beverage companies around the world (of which General Mills is a part) use suppliers who contribute enough greenhouse gases annually through raw agricultural production that emissions equal the same as 40 coal-fired power plants. Yet, General Mills remains silent on setting meaningful goals with their suppliers to address and reduce these emissions through the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP). The same basically applies to their supplier’s deforestation policies – mostly non-existent. To be brief, the news doesn’t get any better from there. Check out the full report for more on Oxfam's research (link at the bottom).
From a company that seems to go to a great deal of effort to make me believe that they’re concerned about my heart-health, I'm not feeling like they’re much interested in my longevity or the planet’s.

Oxfam believes that General Mills can and should do more to address their impact on our changing climate:
Step 1: Commit to evaluate and disclose emissions from their supply chains.
Step 2: Commit to set clear targets and actions to reduce these emissions.
Step 3: Speak up on the impact of climate change with their industry partners.
If you believe General Mills should commit to these actions, let them know! Sign the petition and add your voice to the tens of thousands demanding change.
Know and show, Act, and Speak Up. You can do it, General Mills. Be the little life preserver that this planet needs.
Click here to read the full Behind the Brands report, "Standing on the sidelines".

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