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What is ESG? Breaking down these 3 important letters — and what they mean for Cargill’s sustainability efforts.

Read Time: 4 minutes

November 07, 2022


We all know what the acronym “ESG” stands for, right? Environment … sustainability (er?) … government?

If you didn’t know it stands for environmental, social and governance (ESG), don’t worry—you’re not alone. A whopping 86% of consumers aren’t exactly sure what ESG means, either, according to a recent study.

At Cargill, ESG is all about our commitment to creating a more sustainable world — whether that’s supplying the world’s food, supporting farmers, reducing our impact on the planet or giving back to communities.

“Today, from our place at the center of the agricultural supply chain, Cargill is uniquely positioned to lead the transformation of our food and agriculture system to help address many of our world’s most pressing needs — from climate action to supply chain continuity and food security,” says CEO Dave MacLennan. “That’s exactly what we’re doing — with sustainability ambitions that are firmly anchored in science, strategic partnerships that are driving measurable results, new investments in innovation, and more than a century of experience in helping solve big, global challenges.”

This is what you’ll find in Cargill’s first ESG Report, which we released on Nov. 7. But before you dive into the report, let’s check we’re clear on those three important letters — what ESG means, why it’s important to us and what we’re doing to advance it.


What is ESG Breaking down these 3 important letters Cargill works every day to feed people around the world, create economic opportunities and build brighter futures. 

The ‘E’ stands for …

… environmental. To Cargill, the letter “E” is all about how we’re working to reduce our impact on the natural environment. While much of our work in this space also creeps into “S” territory (we’ll get to that next), we’re advancing environmental causes through things like promoting regenerative agriculture with farmers and building a state-of-the-art advanced biodiesel plant in Ghent, Belgium, that converts waste into renewable fuel. 

“As an integral connector of the global food system, Cargill has an opportunity, and responsibility, to protect the planet as we fulfill our purpose of nourishing the world safely, responsibly, and sustainably,” Chief Sustainability Officer Pilar Cruz says. “I’m proud of the concrete actions and meaningful investments Cargill is making to deliver impact at scale globally.”


What is ESG Breaking down these 3 important letters Cargill works every day to feed people around the world, create economic opportunities and build brighter futures. 

The ‘S’ stands for …

… social. For Cargill, the social components of an ESG report are all about people. It’s the work we do every day to nourish the world, create greater economic opportunities and build brighter futures. So it’s no surprise social impact is at the heart of everything we do — whether through programs like Hatching Hope, aimed at improving the nutrition and economic livelihood of 100 million people by 2030, or through the Black Farmer Equity Initiative, which connects underrepresented farmers to markets.

“True to our company values, we put people first not only in our workplace, but in our supply chain and in the communities where we do business,” Pilar says. “This means respecting human rights; advancing diversity, equity and inclusion; and improving access to safe and nutritious foods.”


What is ESG Breaking down these 3 important letters Cargill’s accountability rests on the foundation of our Code of Conduct and Guiding principles, which guides all our employees and our work around the world.  

The ‘G’ stands for …

… governance. When it comes to Governance and the concept of accountability, everything rests on the foundation of Cargill’s Code of Conduct and Guiding Principles. That’s the ethical base from which our ambitions around sustainability take off.

“We have set our sights on becoming the most ethical and trusted source of sustainable products and services,” says Anna Richo, Cargill’s General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer.


Now we’ve got the basics …

check out our ESG Report!

You’ll learn more about Cargill’s sustainability commitments on climate, land and water, and people, as well as our efforts around community impact and ethics and compliance — just some examples of the many ways we’re advancing ESG through our sustainability commitments.

“It has been incredibly powerful to bring together a one Cargill story of what we’re doing in sustainability and within our communities, and to have a platform to articulate the optimism of the solutions we bring to bear in service to people and the planet,” says Eliza Clark, global ESG reporting lead. “We believe in the promise of a better tomorrow and this report showcases the countless ways Cargill is having a positive global impact today.”



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