Cargill said that it earned $113.5bn in revenue in its fiscal year ending May 2019, with $2.81bn invested in acquisitions, joint ventures and new and existing facilities. The $2.82bn in adjusted operating earnings was a 12% decrease from fiscal year 2018, though total revenue only dropped 1%.
Demand in the North American protein sector was a leading driver behind this year’s earnings. Cargill said that overall, its financial performance was short of its ambitions, but recognized that it has been a year of ‘immense geopolitical uncertainty.’
“We have long said there are no winners in a trade war, particularly an escalating conflict between the US and China, the world’s two largest economies. To that, add the ambiguities surrounding Brexit and the renegotiation of NAFTA, as well as conflicts in Central America and other regions,” the report said.
Answering the big questions
Cargill donated $61.3m to charities in 56 countries last year, including $18.8m to hunger relief and nutrition education. They set a goal of training 10 million farmers in sustainable agriculture practices by 2030, and updated that more than 2.3 million have successfully been trained since 2017.
Cargill is also working toward transitioning its agriculture supply chains to be deforestation-free, backed by a partnership with The Soil Health Institute in North America. They have new policies in support of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, including a strengthened human rights commitment and global forest policy.
“This year, we published a new human rights commitment that respects and upholds the rights of workers, indigenous peoples and communities everywhere we operate,” Cargill said.
“We continue to support the UN Global Compact and are committed to its principles on human rights, labor, anti-corruption and the environment.”
In its plans to combat climate change, Cargill set a goal last year to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 10% from its operations by 2025. It signed a virtual power purchase agreement with Geronimo Energy to buy 50 megawatts of renewable power from its wind farm in South Dakota.
The report revealed that Cargill is focusing on investing in global protein, specialty ingredients, health and nutrition products, bioindustrials and digital products and services to accelerate its growth.
Populations are growing and diets are shifting, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region, according to Cargill. This has led to them targeting those economies with ‘strategic investments’ including new facilities in China.
For more sustainable soy production, Cargill committed $30m in South America for preserving forest landscapes and natural vegetation, while still allowing for rural economic development.
David MacLennan, chairman and CEO at Cargill, said, "We are directing our insights, capabilities and resources toward answering some of the world's biggest questions. Everyone at Cargill is relentlessly determined to transform what is possible in food, agriculture and nutrition."