Cargill annual report highlights R.&D., partnerships

by Jeff Gelski
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MINNEAPOLIS – Cargill’s 2017 annual report released Aug. 8 emphasizes the company’s actions in innovation, market expansion, sustainability, analytics and community development. The report may be found here.

Minneapolis-based Cargill boosted its innovation capabilities by investing $40 million in research and development over the fiscal year. The company opened research centers in Shanghai, China; Colaco, Chile; and Minneapolis.

Cargill set up joint ventures and strengthened its supply chain to serve poultry markets in Asia. The company in the United States joined with Calysta, Menlo Park, Calif., which is involved with sustainable products to improve worldwide food security, and other third-party investors to construct a gas fermentation facility to produce FeedKind protein. The sustainable animal feed ingredient is made with microbes that convert methane gas into protein that may be substituted for fishmeal in aqua feeds.

Cargill applied data to give farmers a digital edge they may use to be more productive and sustainable. Cargill’s proprietary network contains about seven petabytes of information. Through a partnership with World Resources Institute’s Global Forest Watch, Cargill mapped about 1,900 commodity sourcing areas worldwide to establish a baseline for measuring progress in eliminating deforestation.

Cargill provided training for more than 650,000 farmers worldwide. The company continued partnerships with such organizations as CARE, Feeding America and World Food Program USA to benefit farmers, school children, educators and communities. Cargill made $54.7 million in global corporate contributions in the fiscal year.

The annual report showed the progress Cargill has made since, two years ago, deciding to become more integrated, focused and agile in a quickly evolving world, said David MacLennan, chairman and chief executive officer, and Marcel Smits, executive vice-president and chief financial officer. The company two years ago sought to become an integrated operating company with world-class capabilities and processes implemented at scale wherever Cargill does business, they said in the 2017 annual report.

“Some of these are skill sets for which Cargill has long been known: trading and risk management, supply chain and logistics expertise, and ingredient and formulation development,” they said. “Some are areas where we have put in significant work to achieve progress in recent years: efficient plant operations and functional shared services. And some are proficiencies where we aspire to change the game within our industry: sustainability, digitalization and analytics, and leadership on issues that matter.

“At the center of this work is a revitalized purpose, which we adopted across our organization: Cargill will be the leader in nourishing the world in a safe, responsible and sustainable way.” 
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