SMITHFIELD, Va. – Smithfield Foods Inc. has become the first major protein company to announce an extended greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction goal across its entire supply chain. The company plans to reduce its GHG emissions by 25 percent by the year 2025. The reduction would reduce emissions by over 4 million metric tons, the equivalent of removing 900,000 cars from the road. The goal is a result of collaboration between Smithfield and the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF).
“We are proud to lead the industry and set another first by launching an endeavor that is both environmentally beneficial and economically feasible,” said Kenneth M. Sullivan, president and CEO for Smithfield Foods in a statement. “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 acknowledgment of our commitment to doing just that.”
Smithfield, in collaboration with the Univ. of Minnesota’s NorthStar Institute for Sustainable Enterprise, estimated its GHG footprint and created a model with the capability to assist other protein companies in analyzing their GHG footprints. EDF advised in the development of the commitment.
“There is much work ahead for Smithfield to reach its goal,” said 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.”
The commitment includes all Smithfield operations in the supply chain from company owned farms to processing facilities and throughout its transportation network. Smithfield and EDF are collaborating to improve fertilizer efficiency and soil health to reduce nitrous oxide emissions from grain farms. The company plans to incorporate renewable energy and reuse projects that utilize anaerobic digesters and lagoon covers on at least 30 percent of its company owned hog farms, as well as the continual adoption of measures that improve animal efficiency, resulting in improved feed conversion and productivity while reducing carbon emissions.
Smithfield will continue to improve efficiency at processing facilities through upgrades to refrigeration, boiler, and other equipment and optimize logistics networks to better manage transportation while reducing fuel consumption and carbon emissions. The reduction will be measured from a 2010 baseline with efforts already underway.