Cargill CEO: Company focusing on sustainability, transparency

A Cargill tower high above the grain elevators in East St. Louis, Ill. The agribusiness giant is celebrating its 150th anniversary this week.
James A. Finley | AP

Cargill CEO David MacLennan says his company is focusing on sustainability as it marks 150 years in the commodities and agriculture business.

Cargill has been known for shipping and grain trading. But the CEO says it is focused on adapting to a changing world, from climate to finance.

"I believe we're a leader. We're working very closely with many of our customers in terms of sustainability, with many of our farmers, in terms of farmer education, to grow crops more sustainably, to be more responsible about using resources," MacLennan said in an interview with MPR News' Cathy Wurzer. "I think on any particular topic, whether its sustainability or our core businesses, we'll never be satisfied."

MacLennan says social media and the Web have also pushed the company to open up.

"I think it's a good thing," he said. "And I think, and I've heard it said before, where nothing can be hidden, you shouldn't have anything to hide, and we don't. We want to tell our story. And I want people to know more about Cargill and the great things we're doing in the world."

The agribusiness giant was founded in small-town Iowa in 1865. Since then, it's grown to become the largest privately held company in the United States with more than 150,000 employees worldwide.

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