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Smithfield Foods highlights environmental progress, efforts

Five more facilities expected to be certified as "zero waste to landfill" by the of 2018.

Krissa Welshans 1

May 10, 2018

3 Min Read
Smithfield Foods highlights environmental progress, efforts
Smithfield Foods

Smithfield Foods Inc. recently released the Environment section of its 17th sustainability report, which highlights the company's ambitious goal to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and the progress made on its 2020 environmental targets. 

"In 2017, we made meaningful progress toward our goal to reduce our environmental impact while meeting the growing global demand for pork," said Stewart Leeth, vice president of regulatory affairs and chief sustainability officer for Smithfield. "We continue to address environmental concerns through innovation and ongoing improvement, which creates value for our stakeholders and supports the communities where our employees live and work."

The report provides detailed information about Smithfield's industry-leading environmental programs and initiatives, such as:

  • Innovative practices and platforms, including Smithfield Renewables, to help the company achieve its commitment to reducing GHG emissions 25% by 2025 throughout its entire supply chain — the first commitment of its kind by a protein company.

  • Eight certified "zero waste to landfill" facilities that save the company nearly $273,000 per year, with five more facilities expected to be certified by the end of 2018.

  • Projects recognized by an internal awards program that reduced water use by more than 86 million gal. and diverted more than 30 million lb. of waste from landfills in 2017. These, along with other environmental achievements, helped Smithfield save an estimated $128 million in operating costs over the past five years.

  • Eighty third-party awards recognizing environmental sustainability achievements in 2017.

"Reducing our environmental impact requires bold steps and out-of-the-box thinking. Every day, our people are looking for new opportunities, both large and small, that will allow us to improve our own operations and those of our supply chain partners," Smithfield president and chief executive officer Kenneth Sullivan said. "We have and will continue to make meaningful changes that will simultaneously benefit the environment and our business."

The company’s environment targets include:

  • Energy -- 5% reduction over 2014 usage by 2020;

  • Water -- 10% reduction over 2014 usage by 2020;

  • Solid waste (material to landfill) -- 10% reduction over 2014 level by 2020;

  • Grain procurement -- 75% of grain purchased by Smithfield will be grown using efficient fertilizer and soil health practices by 2018, and

  • Compliance -- Reduce notices of violation to zero.

Smithfield reported that, since 2014, it has already reduced GHG emissions by 7.4%, water use by 2.5% and solid waste by 7.4%. Energy use, on the other hand, has increased by 1.9%. The company also noted that 69% of its total grain purchases in 2017 came from 410,830 acres of farmland participating in the SmithfieldGro Program and/or the Land O’Lakes’ SUSTAIN sustainability platform.

As described in the new report, Smithfield's environmental efforts extend throughout its supply chain. This includes the farms that grow feed grain for its hogs, the farming operations that raise the animals, the processing facilities and, finally, the transportation network that delivers finished products to retail stores and restaurants. The company works within its supply chain to ensure that the products provided to consumers are high quality and produced in a responsible manner.

"In just six short months, we've made some exciting steps toward achieving our 25 by ’25 goal through our new Smithfield Renewables platform," said Kraig Westerbeek, senior director of Smithfield Renewables. "From projects on our farms that convert manure to renewable natural gas to those at our facilities that power steam boilers by capturing biogas from wastewater treatment systems, we have much to be proud of and look forward to sharing even more projects in the near future."

The Environment section is the second of a multi-phase release of Smithfield's "2017 Sustainability Report." Smithfield will publish its Food Safety & Quality section next, followed by the Helping Communities and People sections, as well as the full report.

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