Smithfield Foods outlines emissions reduction goals - Smart Energy Decisions

Energy Efficiency, GHG Emissions, Sourcing Renewables  -  December 7, 2016

Smithfield Foods outlines plan to cut emissions 25%

Marking a new data point in the corporate sustainability storyline, Smithfield Foods Inc. has announced plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions 25% by 2025 across its supply chain.

The Virginia-based meat processing company, one of the largest in the world, collaborated with the Environmental Defense Fund in setting the goal, which Smithfield said in a Dec. 5 news release is the first of its kind in its industry. One the goal is achieved, the company expects it will have reduced emissions by more than 4 million metric tons. 

Smithfield had come under considerable fire from environmental groups, including EDF, over the years for the level of pollution emitted by its operations, and in 1997 was fined $12.6 million by the U.S. EPA for Clean Water Act violations from one of its facilities. Tom Murray, who heads EDF's corporate partnerships program, applauded Smithfield's decision in a Dec. 6 blog post while noting that its commitment to reducing to emissions "is a long time in the making." 

Smithfield's strategy for meeting the goal includes the implementation of reuse and renewable energy projects as well as a continuation of energy efficiency projects including refrigeration, boiler and other equipment upgrades, according to an infographic included in the release.

The company's CEO, Ken Sullivan, told The Wall Street Journal that sustainability aside, he also sees a business case for reducing emissions, and that Smithfield's decision is "apolitical" and not in response to regulatory pressure.  

"He expects more energy-efficient operations to save money and boost Smithfield's standing in restaurants and grocery stores," the Journal reported. "Two-thirds of U.S. consumers will pay more for a product marketed as sustainable, says research firm Nielsen."

Editor's note: EDF is a Smart Energy Decisions content partner

Keywords: EDF, Smithfield

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