Kimball Callis

Managing Director and CEO, Life Systems Sustainability, LLC
Minneapolis, MN, United States

About Kimball


Kimball (Kim) Callis is an accomplished sustainability expert that has created and co-created solutions for the food industry's quest to be responsible in the use of the earth's resources. His 16 years of service at General Mills culminated in his selection as Group Leader for Global Sustainability in 2004. In that position, Kim was responsible for actualizing the company's vision to bring General Mills forward as the undisputed sustainability leader in the food processing consumer packaged goods industry. Reporting into the company's first ever Global Sustainability Officer, Kim's first task was to create on Online Sustainability University that recognized the need for employees to understand the "State of the World" and the "State of General Mills" in terms of the current trends and impacts and the need to consider every aspect of the earth's resources that is impacted by General Mills and the entirety of the global food industry. Kim created a Sustainability Value Matrix for key General Mills products and was highly successful in leveraging this a valuable tool that became the critical success factor in winning Wal*Mart's coveted Value Producing Item award year after year and resulted in millions of dollars in incremental value to General Mills. Additionally, Kim's work has been the cornerstone for General Mills' strategy of developing "customer affinity" by highlighting current and proposed initiatives that further develop sustainable sourcing, processing, packaging, distribution and logistics that result in fiscal, social and eco-efficiencies.

As he was given a greater role in the sustainability efforts, Kim directed deep research into the environmental impact of the totality of the U.S. food industry - which included: agriculture, food processing, food retailers and food service organization. The results of the research have since guided the major internal and external communications from the company on the critical needs for managing sustainability initiatives for the company and even more so for the entirety of the food industry. Concurrent with this work, Kim was the chief driving force to create an internationally recognized effort to establish standards for Corporate Social Responsibility reporting for global food processing companies. This effort continues today and includes the world's largest food company, Nestle, and many other globally significant companies such as Bunge, ADM, Tyson Foods, and Danisco. For more information on this please go to the Global Reporting Initiative's Food Processing Sector Supplement workgroup website.

Kim's decision to retire in 2009 has now provided him with an opportunity to continue to fulfill his commitment to bring into the world reliable human-kind systems that provide people and animals with verifiable healthy foods.

In keeping this commitment, Kim is very pleased and privileged to help corporations, government agencies, civil societies, educational institutions, and individuals discover, understand, and apply sustainable practices for growing crops primarily for food and feed, and for fiber and fuel as well.


English, German

Areas of Expertise

Agro-Food Industry - Sustainability, Breaking Cycles of Mistrust, Immersive Ideation, Corporate Culture Change

An idea worth spreading

What if the quality of foods improved so that the quantity needed for a healthy life was lessened?

Then.... the need for growing more food for the next X billions of people on the planet would be more about the right nutrient mix versus simply more yield.

And, what if the way to the right nutrient mix was achieved with the right way to feed the plants?

Then.... we need to feed plants the right way!!!


I'm passionate about

Discovering, understanding and applying the art and science of growing plants for the benefit of humankind.

Talk to me about

Sustainable integrated nutrient, pesticide, and disease management inputs and protocols.

Changing public policies and corporate cultures to create verifiable healthy crop outcomes.

People don't know I'm good at

Popping popcorn perfectly every time!!!

My TED story

I have yet to be at a live TED; however, so many friends and associates have shared their stories that I feel privileged to know such an organization exists!

The first time I heard about TED was when a food scientist friend told me about Hans Roslings animated data visualization system. WOW! I immediately put it to use for presenting deep research into the environmental consequences of the US Agro-food industries.

More recently, I just watched the "TED Prize Wish" by Jamie Oliver video and am very very moved by the ethos and pathos of Jamie and all who are working hard to ensure that we can survive and consciously overcome our complacency about the foods we eat and especially the foods we feed our children.

Comments & conversations

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Kimball Callis
Posted over 3 years ago
Is the Childhood Obesity epidemic proof that not all parents love their children?
My first thought - yes - a Parent is challenged to REALLY love their children... John Bradshaw's book -Creating Love- has insight on how parents are themselves "mystified" about love. The working definition for mystification is "an altered state of consciousness in which the person... creates a false self so they will be accepted by their parents or other crucial survival figures." Thus the parent - IF still mystified themselves about who they are and what true love is about (as in setting reasonable boundaries - especially about feeding their children healthy foods) - can only remain in the dark - despite knowing how to prevent obesity. Suffice it to say - remaining in the dark is usually a pursuit of comfort and ease (fast foods) or, worse, advanced stages of addictive or compulsive/dysfunctional behaviors - and most likely not about "de-mystifying" and doing the real of work of being a compassionate care provider to themselves or to their children. My second thought - family dynamics and income earning... A recent study on maternal employment and childhood obesity led by Taryn Morrissey, ( assistant professor in public administration and policy at American University indicates... Children in dual-earner families are more likely to skip breakfast than children with a parent at home. Working parents spend less time preparing meals at home and spend a greater proportion of their food budget on fast food or prepared foods than families with a non-employed parent. We also know that regular family mealtimes are associated with a lower likelihood of child obesity...[and] children's sleep patterns are important for their Body Mass Index (BMI). Research has linked poorer quality and too little sleep among children (and adults) to higher BMI. Can we say that dual-earner or single-parent families do not love their children? Or is it more about "de-mystifying" love to do the real of work of compassionate caregiving?