The world's largest food and packaged products companies are vowing to step up their environmental sustainability efforts. General Mills says it plans to drain its water usage 20 percent, its solid waste generation 50 percent, and its greenhouse gas emissions and energy emissions 20 percent—all by 2015.

Meanwhile, Unilever made public Nov. 15 a similarly ambitious plan that the company says will cut the environmental impact of its products—which include Dove, Lipton, Hellman's and Axe—by 50 percent within 10 years. The plan also aims to curb the environmental impact created by Unilever's suppliers and consumers, the Guardian newspaper reported. "More than two thirds of greenhouse emissions and half the water in Unilever products' lifecycle come from consumer use," Unilever said, "so this is a commitment on an unprecedented scale."

Read the full General Mills and Unilever stories.