Smithfield Foods, Inc., Smithfield, Va., is said to become the first major protein company to announce a far-reaching greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction goal throughout its entire supply chain, from feed grain to packaged bacon.
By 2025, Smithfield will reduce its absolute GHG emissions by 25%. When achieved, this goal will reduce emissions by more than 4 million metric tons, equivalent to removing 900,000 cars from the road. Smithfield collaborated with Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) in setting its goal.
"We are proud to lead the industry and set another first by launching an endeavor that is both environmentally beneficial and economically feasible," says Kenneth Sullivan, president and CEO. "While we will have unique challenges meeting this goal as the world's largest pork processor and hog producer, our size and scale also means that, if successful, we can make a significant, positive impact. Our mission is to produce 'Good food. Responsibly.' This announcement is yet another acknowledgement of our commitment to doing just that."
Smithfield collaborated with the University of Minnesota's NorthStar Institute for Sustainable Enterprise, St. Paul, Minn., to estimate its GHG footprint, creating a robust model that can assist other protein companies in analyzing their own footprints. EDF served as an adviser in the development of the commitment.
"There is much work ahead for Smithfield to reach its goal," says Fred Krupp, EDF president. "Success will require collaboration with farmers and others in the agricultural industry. We encourage companies to follow Smithfield's leadership to make ambitious commitments to improve air and water quality. It's important that the private sector play a role in protecting our natural resources."
This commitment impacts operations across Smithfield's supply chain, on company-owned farms, at processing facilities and throughout its transportation network. In its grain supply chain, Smithfield is collaborating with EDF to improve fertilizer efficiency and soil health, which will reduce nitrous oxide emissions from grain farms. On its hog farms, Smithfield will incorporate renewable energy and reuse projects that utilize technology such as anaerobic digesters and lagoon covers. Smithfield aims to install these technologies on at least 30% of company-owned farms. Smithfield will also continue to adopt measures that improve animal efficiency, resulting in improved feed conversion and productivity while reducing carbon emissions.
At its processing facilities, Smithfield will continue to improve energy efficiency through refrigeration, boiler and other equipment upgrades. Smithfield is optimizing its logistics network to better manage its animal and product transportation while reducing fuel consumption and carbon emissions.
The absolute greenhouse gas emissions reduction will be measured from a 2010 baseline.