Cargill’s annual report praises workforce amid major global challenges

The Cargill group has released its annual report which acknowledges major challenges facing the agri-food sector, with coronavirus having placed a greater emphasis on health and safety, and heightened its sustainability focus, reports Neill Barston

As the US-headquartered business noted, its response to the pandemic crisis is unveiled in its latest full-year review, titled Nourishing the World, and demonstrates how the team’s resiliency and agility helped to keep supply chains moving across its operations, including major confectionery facilities serving the confectionery sector (its Mouscron Belgian site pictured).

The company described the 2020 financial calendar as ‘being a year like no other,” in its assessment of events, but believed there were a number of causes for optimism.

“The last year taught us that we are capable of so much more than we previously thought. We can move faster, with more agility, navigating a crisis while keeping our people’s wellbeing front and centre,” said David MacLennan, Cargill’s chairman and CEO. “We are grateful to our employees, customers and other partners who worked around the clock to nourish the world and maintain confidence in the food and ag systems. Together, we are stronger.”

Speaking in his executive introduction to the report, MacLennan, added: “Having been in business for 155 years, we are no stranger to crises. We have navigated natural disasters, depressions and conflicts. Now, we look toward the future with a resilient portfolio of businesses, strong relationships around the world with farmers and leading food brands, a healthy balance sheet, and steady revenues that totalled $114.6 billion for the year. Most importantly, we have a dedicated team of 155,000 employees propelling us forward. They have persevered even as their work routines and personal lives have been heavily disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic,” he explained, noting that the company had launched a $15 million disaster relief fund to support its employees.

As the company explained, its focus on safety issues has enabled the company to steadily remove risks, reducing injury rates by 88% over the past 30 years. As the Covid-19 crisis emerged, Cargill facilities adapted pandemic response plans to quickly deploy robust safety protocols worldwide.

With the company’s core value of putting people first top of mind, Cargill is focused on sending employees home safely every day. The company has also reduced incidents related to food safety, quality or regulatory issues by 26% over the past year.

Furthermore, the company donated $115 million in charitable contributions in the last fiscal year, providing relief during the current pandemic and helping farmers and communities prosper for the long term. Cargill provided meals to frontline workers and others in need and focused on closing the gender gap in agriculture, launching a $10 million, three-year partnership with CARE’s She Feeds the World program. Working across nine countries, this program will boost the earnings potential of female farmers.

Sustainability

Cargill’s commitment to protect the planet has not wavered. In FY 2020, the company announced a new target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from global supply chains (Scope 3) by 30% by 2030, measured per ton of product. To protect and enhance water resources, Cargill announced context-based water targets in priority watersheds, increasing access to clean water in communities that need it most. And the company achieved significant milestones in key supply chains, including soy, cocoa, ocean transportation, beef, aqua nutrition and palm.

“Cargill continues to take aggressive action against key sustainability goals, as agriculture is how we will empower farmers to mitigate climate change, regenerate soils and improve water use,” said Ruth Kimmelshue, Cargill’s chief sustainability officer. For more information, Cargill’s annual report can be found online.

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