SMITHFIELD, VA. – Smithfield Foods Inc. is doubling down on its commitment to water conservation across its system of production and processing facilities, according to an April 21 announcement of a watershed and water use analysis to ensure efficient and sustainable practices of the valuable resource.
According to the company, it plans to implement global standards for water stewardship by 2025. Smithfield’s efforts to reduce water use and set reduction targets over the past decade are based on ISO 14001:2015 certified environmental management systems. The latest commitment is intended to reappraise Smithfield’s entire US water supply footprint. Its current water policy is available here.
“The exhaustive water conservation effort will refresh prior water assessments and inform updated strategies related to water usage, quality and supply availability on all company-owned and contract hog farms, in manufacturing facilities and across grain supplier operations beginning with Smithfield's domestic portfolio,” the company said. “Assessments will foster sustainable water use and access to local water sources, inform site-specific performance and conservation targets and reduce the risk of future sourcing issues.”
Smithfield estimates that about 66% of its water use facilitates cooking and proper sanitation of its processing plants in addition to hydrating, cooling and sanitizing livestock and production facilities.
"Responsible stewardship of water and other finite natural resources is an essential component of sustainable food production and critical to our role as an environmentally conscious protein company," said Stewart Leeth, chief sustainability officer for Smithfield. "Because our business operations rely on water to produce food and support animal care, we continually assess our water use and pursue innovations that further conserve resources and implement the best available technologies."