Kellogg's released its annual corporate responsibility report to coincide with Earth Day. The iconic breakfast foods giant boasting a brand portfolio with which many of us have grown up is moving towards a more sustainable business model. While the company has a long haul ahead, improved farming methods and reduced water consumption are among key goals for the company this decade.

The change in Kellogg's business practices are a reflection of consumers' growing awareness about how their food is made and where it is sourced. To that end, the company is balancing the needs of the market with the concerns of its stakeholders. Overall Kellogg's is improving its performance on several fronts, ahead on some and behind on others.

Sustainable farming is a high priority on Kellogg's sustainability agenda. The company is the largest customer for Louisiana's rice farmers and now Kellogg's is working to ensure a sustainable supply for the long term. Partnering with Louisiana State University and Louisiana Rice Mill, Kellogg's works with farmers to boost their financial bottom line and address problems including water conservation, methane emissions and water quality as a result of excessive runoff. The result is a Rice Master Grower program that promotes best practices and helps to green Kellogg's supply chain.

Across the pond, Kellogg's will start to use only sustainably grown palm oil in Europe. In the meantime the breakfast giant is investing in Green Palm sustainable palm oil certificates to encourage the expansion of more responsible palm oil farms. The challenge Kellogg's faces is to address the growing concern, even outcry, against destructive agricultural practices that has spooked many companies into ensuring their ingredients are environmentally sound. With this year's acquisition of the Pringles brand from Procter and Gamble, Kellogg's faces growing urgency as more consumers shy away from products containing palm oil if they cannot verify the source.

As is the case with food processing and beverage companieswater has a huge impact on Kellogg's business performance. With the percentage of water that ends up in food products only a slim percentage of the company's overall water consumption, Kellogg's is taking steps towards more responsible water stewardship. One of its processing plants in Omaha, Nebraska reduced its overall water consumption by 24 percent last year. Another facility in Mexico is combining water efficiency with clean energy as solar power heats hot water for the factory's boilers. And meanwhile Kellogg's is committed to transparency with reporting its data to the Water Disclosure Program.

So you can feel better about eating those Frosted Flakes and Rice Krispies in the morning: in fact you should, as Kellogg's makes it very clear that a solid breakfast is the way to start the day. Speaking of a good start, the beacon of Battle Creek is quite frank about its overall performance. While the company is head of its greenhouse gas emission and water reduction goals, it has fallen behind on waste diversion and energy consumption targets. Nevertheless the company behind many children's, and adults', breakfast of choice is a solid case study of the challenges and successes businesses find when they take corporate responsibility more seriously.

For every reader who peruses through the report and provides feedback, the company will donate $5 to the Global Foodbanking Network.

Published on Triple Pundit earlier this morning.

Photo courtesy Kellogg's.

About The Author

Leon Kaye

Leon Kaye is the founder and editor of GreenGoPost.com. Based in California, he is a business writer and consultant. His work is has also appeared on Triple Pundit , The Guardian's Sustainable Business site and has appeared on Inhabitat and Earth911. His focus is making the business case for sustainability and corporate social responsibility. He's pictured here in Qatar, one of the Middle East countries in which he takes a keen interest because of its transformation into a post-oil economy. Other areas of interest include sustainable development in The Balkans, Brazil and Korea. He was a new media journalism fellow at the International Reporting Project, for which he covered child survival in India during February 2013. Contact him at leon@greengopost.com. You can also reach out via Twitter (@LeonKaye) and Instagram (GreenGoPost). As of October 2013, he now lives and works in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.