WASHINGTON — The North American Meat Institute (NAMI) recognized hundreds of meat and poultry companies for best practices at the 2023 Environment, Labor and Safety+ Conference, held April 17 to 20 in Carlsbad, Calif. Awards were given in four categories: Environment, Worker Safety, Health & Wellness, and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion.

More than 200 plants were recognized for positive environmental impact achievements. NAMI gave special recognition to establishments that went above and beyond in emissions reduction, energy conservation, packaging/food waste reduction, technological innovation and water conservation. The following companies received the highest ranking of the Environmental Achievement Awards:

  • JBS – Emissions Reduction
  • JBS – Energy Conservation
  • Smithfield Packaged Meats – Packing/Food Waste Reduction
  • JBS – Technological Innovation
  • Pilgrim’s – Water Conservation

In addition to its Environmental Achievement Award, Smithfield earned the environmental recognition award for 48 facilities.

“Protecting the environment, including decreasing our carbon footprint, implementing water conservation strategies and reducing packaging, have been Smithfield priorities for decades, and are part of our commitment to producing good food the right way,” said Stewart Leeth, chief sustainability officer at Smithfield.

All awardees under the Environment category can be found here.

The Worker Safety Recognition Awards were given to over 160 facilities for improving and achieving high levels of safety performance. These efforts contribute to the industry’s commitment through The Protein PACT to reduce workplace injuries by 50% by 2030.

The full list of awardees can be found here.

Among the recognized plants were three Land O’Frost facilities.

“The collective recognition of our team is a testament to how our values-driven culture empowers our facilities to think and act long-term for the good of their teams and communities,” said Peter Burke, senior vice president of operations at Land O’Frost. “We’re proud to be recognized by NAMI for the individual work that goes into creating a better world for our Land O’Frost family as we work to make every day more fulfilling than the last.”

The Health and Wellness Awards were divided into three categories this year and awarded to the following companies:

  • Tyson Foods – Community Wellness
  • SugarCreek Packing – Corporate Wellness
  • Marcus Technologies – Innovation

Billy Marcus, founder and chief executive officer of Marcus Technologies, commented, “My family has worked in the meat trade for generations, and it’s a great honor to now be contributing to a future where no meat is ever wasted. Our goal is to remove inefficiencies and increase visibility between protein buyers and sellers, helping to create the infrastructure that optimizes trade and eliminates waste.”

SuKarne received a Special Recognition Award for its initiative to providrace affordable healthcare to employees, suppliers, their families and others in the community through a private healthcare provider in Mexico, Salud Digna.

“NAMI members have always made significant contributions to the communities where they operate and beyond,” said Julie Anna Potts, NAMI president and CEO. “Whether member companies are expanding childcare options, improving healthcare services or donating meat and poultry products, we are grateful for the leadership shown by these award winners.”

In the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) category, Maple Leaf Foods was honored with the highest award.

“It is clear that Maple Leaf Foods has spent thoughtful time and energy on fostering a diverse and inclusive workspace for their employees,” Potts said. “NAMI is proud of Maple Leaf’s leadership and commitment to continuous improvement in the meat and poultry industry and in the communities that they serve.”

Other companies recognized for “outstanding” DEI efforts include Bob Evans Farms, Cargill, Clemens Food Group, Greater Omaha Packing Co., Miniat Holdings LLC, OSI Group, Smithfield Foods and Tyson Foods.

The DEI Awards were distributed based on the following criteria: mission, vision and values; goals, targets and initiatives; leadership and accountability; infrastructure and implementation; recruitment and retention; training and education; community awareness/engagement; and culture.

All companies awarded during the Environment, Labor and Safety+ Conference were eligible because they reported data to The Protein PACT in 2022.