DENVER — Ardent Mills sourced 37% of its energy from renewable sources in 2023, a jump of 7% over 2022, making progress toward achieving 50% renewable energy usage across operations by 2025. The percentage calculation includes direct sourcing of renewable energy, retention of renewable energy credits (RECs), participation in community solar projects and purchasing replacement RECs.
The company’s annual ESG impact report, “Nourish: Intention & Impact,” breaks the company’s ESG practices into four pillars: community, people, planet and ingredients. The company previously reported its progress within three pillars: sustainability, people and nutrition.
“Similar to recent years, FY23 proved to be a year of uncertainty for our industry,” said Daniel P. Dye, chief executive officer of Ardent Mills. “Supply chain challenges, ingredient cost fluctuations and continued labor shortages impacted our business, customers and consumers everywhere.”
Besides its renewable energy use, the company highlighted advancements in other areas under its planet pillar. All Ardent Mills facilities now are enrolled and eligible to participate in composting and recycling programs, with 44% and 73% diversion rates, respectively.
The company invested in regenerative agriculture, enrolling 348,281 acres in the United States and Canada. By 2025, the company hopes to complete 750,000 acres into the program.
The company conducted a greenhouse gas emissions inventory following the Greenhouse Gas Protocol standards for Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions. Its goal is to establish a science-based target in fiscal year 2024.
Under an initiative to better conserve water resources, the company saved 4.8 million gallons in sum. Ardent Mills worked with collaborative partners in regenerative agriculture, facility-level assessments and extended trailer wash cycles.
The ingredients pillar supports Ardent Mills’ efforts to source ingredients from its suppliers in a way that exhibits sustainability.
Ardent Mills created a new leadership role, the supplier diversity lead, to add 50 new diverse suppliers to the company’s portfolio by May 31, 2024. This initiative aims to double the number of diverse suppliers.
In 2023, the company sourced 100% RSPO-certified sustainable palm oil.
Additionally, the company expanded its product portfolio by introducing more gluten-free and alternative grain options to meet a growing demand.
The communities pillar focuses on expanding agricultural education opportunities and engagement with students through Ardent Mills' “Growing a Better Future” program. More specifically, Ardent Mills partnered with 945,000 students through agricultural education initiatives and announced financial contributions to support agricultural innovation at Kansas State University and Colorado State University.
The people pillar includes Ardent Mills’ work to create a hospitable workplace environment for all employees. These priorities include diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, employee well-being and safety and employee development programs.
As such, the company addressed the need for custom-designed and comfortable women’s uniforms based on employee feedback.
Also, Ardent Mills expanded its “Flourish” intern program and redoubled its recruiting efforts at Historically Black Colleges and Universities to enhance racial and ethnic diversity within the company and the industry.
“We enhanced our employee experience with the expansion of our (DEI) team, made significant strides toward success with our ‘People Plant Promise’ initiative that focuses on front-line team member experience, and continued to roll out and prioritize ‘Project Elle,’ which provides improvements to our locker rooms, breakrooms and restrooms and [to] ensure an inclusive space for all,” the company said.
“Our FY23 ESG report serves as a benchmark in our continuous journey toward being responsible corporate citizens, celebrating the progress we've achieved while charting our path forward,” said Phoenix Dugger, senior manager of ESG, Ardent Mills. “Guided by ‘Nourish: Intention & Impact,’ we continue to drive innovation, promote sustainability and nurture a future that reflects our commitment to social and environmental responsibility.”