MINNEAPOLIS – Continuing efforts by Cargill to improve energy efficiency and expand its use of renewable energy sources enabled the company to exceed the Chicago Climate Exchange's (CCX) required 6 percent annual greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction target, the company relayed.

CCX established annual compliance milestones for absolute GHG reductions from baseline at its large emitting facilities. For calendar year 2010 ? the final year of CCX's operation ? Cargill reduced its GHG emissions at its US facilities by 11 percent. Cargill made a voluntary but legally binding commitment to reduce absolute GHG emissions from its large emitting U.S. locations by joining CCX.

This progress is credited by Cargill to a number of the GHG-reducing systems and processes it has implemented in recent years, including:

  • At each Cargill US beef and pork processing plant, renewable energy systems are in place to capture methane – a powerful greenhouse gas – that would otherwise be emitted to the atmosphere. That methane is then used as fuel and displaces 20-25 percent of natural gas demand at each location, further reducing GHG emissions.
  • For two consecutive years, four of the company's US corn milling plants have earned the US Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) Energy Star, the national symbol for protecting the environment through energy efficiency.
  • Cargill is implementing behavior-based energy savings programs, a system which engages employees in recognizing and eliminating energy inefficiencies.

"We are pleased that we exceeded CCX's annual greenhouse gas reduction requirements every year, and we’re proud to participate in this pioneering effort to develop understanding of carbon markets in the United States," said LaRaye Osborne, Cargill's Environment, Health and Safety Corporate vice president. "The rigor of the CCX rules and verification processes helped us refine our GHG management systems and improve performance against our five-year energy, GHG and fresh water goals."

In September, Cargill announced it had made strong progress toward its 2015 environmental sustainability goals. By 2015, Cargill intends to improve energy efficiency by 5 percent; improve GHG intensity by 5 percent; increase renewable energy to 12.5 percent of its energy portfolio; and improve freshwater efficiency by 5 percent.

In fiscal 2011, Cargill harvested years of investment in developing the people, processes and technology to address these priorities:

  • Energy efficiency improved 3.7 percent over its 2010 baseline.
  • GHG intensity improved 3.8 percent over its 2010 baseline.
  • Renewables accounted for 11 percent of the company's energy portfolio.
  • Freshwater efficiency improved 3.1 percent over its 2010 baseline.