Breaking Down the Latest Sustainability Reports: Shell, General Mills, H&M and More


It’s spring, and ‘tis the season for sustainability and corporate social responsibility reports. As there’s been a glut of them out lately, with the majority running dangerously close to novella-length, Spend Matters read them so that you don’t have to. Here’s a roundup of the latest reports, plus the best, fanciest chart they had to offer.

Royal Dutch Shell

Read it here: The Shell Sustainability Report 2016

Edition: 20th annual report

One-sentence summary: Shell is focusing its sustainability efforts on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and process safety incidents.

Important highlights:

  • Shell reduced its greenhouse gas emissions to 70 million tons in 2016 from 72 million tons in 2015, partly through its Quest project in Canada, where more than 1 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions from oil sands operations were captured and stored deep underground.
  • The number of operational spills at Shell has been decreasing year-on-year since 2006. In 2016, there were 71 operational spills.
  • Shell’s fatal accident rate decreased to its lowest ever level in 2016, but there were still three fatalities last year.
  • Shell spent $102 million on voluntary social investment in 2016. An estimated $96 million was spent in countries that have a GDP of less than $15,000 a year.
  • One in five management and senior leadership positions is held by a woman, a percentage that has slowly moved up by 5%–7% in the past decade.

Coolest chart:

Source: Shell


Read it here: The H&M Group Sustainability Report 2016

Edition: 15th annual report

One-sentence summary: Labor rights throughout H&M’s supply chain take baby steps forward.

Important highlights:

  • The average monthly wage at H&M’s supplier factories in Bangladesh rose to $87 in 2016 from $85 in 2015 (the minimum wage remained at $67). Among the countries that H&M chose to include in its report, Cambodia and Indonesia have the smallest percentage gap between minimum wage and average supplier factory wage (at approximately 6.7% above minimum wage).
  • Wages in supplier factories in Vietnam have increased by 114% since 2012.
  • Renewable energy sources accounted for 96% of the company’s electricity use, up from 78% in 2015.
  • Sustainable cotton accounted for 43% of H&M’s cotton use in 2016. The company aims to use 100% sustainable cotton by 2020.
  • H&M aims to use 100% recycled or otherwise sustainably sourced materials by 2030.

 Coolest chart:


Source: H&M 

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

Read it here: FCA 2016 Sustainability Report

Edition: 13th annual report (counting from the first Fiat-only sustainability report in 2004)

One-sentence summary: FCA dutifully trucks toward its 2020 commitments of reduced carbon dioxide emissions.

Important highlights:

  • The company’s automotive plants achieved a 5.5% reduction in waste generated and a 2.4% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.
  • Work-related injuries at FCA plants decreased by 17%, making for 10 consecutive years of improvement.
  • Production began in 2016 for the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, which boasts 84-miles-per-gallon fuel efficiency and is the first electrified minivan in the industry.
  • Last year, 49% of suppliers filled out self-assessment questionnaires, with the average score being 76 out of 100. (This has remained stable in the past few years.)

Coolest chart:

From suppliers’ self-assessment questionnaires. Source: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles 

General Mills

Read it here: 2017 Global Responsibility Report

Edition: 9th annual report

One-sentence summary: General Mills has been missing its targets for reducing waste generation and water and energy use.

Important highlights:

  • General Mills partnered with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation on a five-year, $4 million project to plant more than 100,000 acres of pollinator habitat in North America.
  • In 2016, 100% of General Mills’ facilities worldwide were audited by third parties using globally recognized food safety criteria, up from 90% in 2015 and 88% in 2014.
  • Water use increased by 12% year-on-year in 2016 (General Mills aims to reduce water use by 1% annually).
  • Energy use remained the same in 2016 as 2015 (General Mills aims to reduce energy use by 2% annually).
  • Production solid waste generation increased by 17% year-on-year in 2016 (General Mills aims to reduce waste generation by 3% annually).
  • Sustainable sourcing rates for the company’s 10 priority ingredients have steadily increased, with the exception of vanilla, which saw its rate drop to 22% in 2016 from 45% in 2015 and 2014.
  • The company’s Box Tops for Education program, which just marked its 20th-year anniversary, donated $51 million to K–8 schools in the U.S.

 Coolest chart:

Source: General Mills

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