- General Mills has announced a partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service and pollinator-focused nonprofit Xerces Society with plans to restore more than 100,000 acres of pollinator habitat by 2021, Food Business News reported.
- The five-year commitment, which includes a $4 million investment, intends to provide farmers with "technical assistance to plant and protect pollinator habitat, including native wildflower field edges and flowering hedgerows," according to Food Business News.
- That technical assistance can benefit the habitats of key pollinator species, such as bumble bees, squash bees, honey bees and butterflies, and by extension, any crops that need insect pollinators.
This is only the latest development in what has been General Mills' four-year commitment to protecting pollinators and their habitats. This past April, the company vowed to ensure the oat suppliers for its Honey Nut Cheerios brand will manage about 3,300 total acres of dedicated flower-rich pollinator habitat by the end of 2020.
General Mills' Cascadian Farm brand has also been an advocate for pollinators over the years. Through a partnership with the Xerces Society, the better-for-you cereal brand has donated money for bee habitat restoration and consumer education and advocacy.
General Mills and several of its brands may be among the largest providers to the pollinator conservation movement, but they are just a few of the many industry players that have taken interest in the cause. Brands like Celestial Seasonings (Hain Celestial) and Talenti (Unilever) have also partnered with the Xerces Society. Whole Foods has also launched “Human Bee-In” events and “Give Bees A Chance” promotions over the past few years.
Because of pollinators' critical contributions to agriculture, it's in these companies' best interest — both financially and for reputation purposes — to preserve pollinators' habitats. If the bee population continues to decline, more brands and food and beverage companies may jump onboard in the coming years.