Smithfield Foods Inc., the world's largest pork processor, is the latest food company to join the Farm Powered Strategic Alliance (FPSA), a collaborative movement to boost food waste reduction and recycling, and expand renewable energy production across America. The FPSA, founded in 2020 by Vanguard Renewables, Unilever, Starbucks and Dairy Farmers of America, aims to avoid or eliminate food waste first and repurpose what can't be eliminated into renewable energy via farm-based anaerobic digesters.
Smithfield's inclusion in the alliance will further support progress toward sustainability initiatives the vertically integrated company has underway across its operations, including commitments to reduce waste sent to landfills, increase renewable energy sourcing and creation and become carbon negative in its U.S. company-owned operations by 2030.
"Smithfield sets an example for other companies to take a hard look at their business practices to see how they can do even better for the planet," says John Hanselman, founder and chief strategy officer at Vanguard Renewables. "Smithfield has significant sustainability efforts across its value chain and recognizes the Farm Powered Strategic Alliance's value in offering additional pathways to reach them."
"Our aggressive sustainability goals and programs are the foundation of how we carry out our commitment to produce 'Good food. Responsibly.' with respect for our people, animals, communities and planet," says Stewart Leeth, chief sustainability officer for Smithfield Foods. "We're excited to join the Farm Powered Strategic Alliance and accelerate progress toward our leading goals, including our pledge to achieve a 75% reduction in waste and certify 75% of our U.S. facilities zero-waste-to-landfill by 2025."
The FPSA, named one of Fast Company's 2021 World Changing Ideas, includes Unilever, Starbucks, Dairy Farmers of America, Vanguard Renewables, Stonyfield Organic, Cabot Creamery and now Smithfield Foods. The alliance offers U.S. food manufacturers and retailers a circular approach to reducing the environmental impacts of CO2 emissions and offers a pathway toward a carbon-neutral footprint. Members have the opportunity to recycle unavoidable food and beverage waste on farms, where it is combined with farm manure in a Farm Powered anaerobic digester to generate renewable natural gas (RNG). The process also produces a low-carbon fertilizer that host farms can use to support regenerative agriculture practices and provide the American farmer with a diversified income stream.
"The world cannot wait for governments to do the right thing; private industry must take initiative, and we are thrilled to welcome Smithfield to the Alliance," says Hanselman.