Some of the area's largest employers are taking the lead when it comes to leaving our children a cleaner, healthier world.

We recognize that each of these companies leaves behind a large environmental footprint, and that impact has not always been welcome, but we also want to note progress when and where we see it.

• General Mills in 2012 set out to improve energy efficiency at its 26 largest U.S.-based plants by 20 percent over the next decade. This week it announced that it had hit that mark — four years ahead of schedule.

Last month, the company also signed a 15-year power-purchase agreement for 200 megawatts of wind energy from central Texas. This enables the company to use renewable energy credits that, when combined with previous wind-power agreements, equal 100 percent of the electricity used annually at company-owned domestic plants.

And as part of its greenhouse gas emissions reduction goal, each General Mills plant has a target to reduce energy use by 2 percent annually, normalized to production.

The company has two Joplin plants.

• Tyson Foods recently released its 2018 sustainability report, and according to it, Tyson said it became the first U.S.-based protein company to earn approval from the Science Based Targets Initiative for its greenhouse gas reduction target of 30% by 2030.

The Springdale, Arkansas, company said in a statement that it also established partnerships with nonprofit groups such as the Environmental Defense Fund, Oxfam America, and the United Food and Commercial Workers Union to help meet other sustainability goals, which include reducing water use intensity 12% by 2020 and increasing land stewardship practices on 2 million acres of row crop corn by the end of 2020.

Tyson has plants in Noel and Monett.

Then there's Walmart Stores Inc.

We don't have to tell you how much of a presence it is in the region.

Last month, at its 2019 sustainability summit, the retailer said one of its goals is that 100 percent of its private brand packaging be recyclable, reusable or industrially compostable by 2025.

The retailer also is also pushing ahead with Project Gigaton, working with suppliers to eliminate 1 billion metric tons — a gigaton — of emissions from its supply chains by 2030.

Walmart also has a long-term goal of being powered by 100 percent renewable energy, with a short-term goal of powering 50 percent of its operations with renewable energy by the end of 2025. Over the past year, Walmart completed contracts for 136 new solar and wind projects, which will supply it with about 2.14 billion kilowatt-hours of renewable energy annually — enough to power 260,000 homes in a year.

All of this is a step in the right direction for their environmental footprints.