It makes good economic and environmental sense for us to use all resources—including water, energy, and land—responsibly. Over the last 10 years, our environmental management systems have evolved, and our performance has significantly improved.
Our Environmental Goals
- Reduce natural resource demand
- Eliminate notices of violation (NOVs)
- 100% compliance, 100% of the time
Our Environmental Targets
- Water: 10% reduction over fiscal 2008 by fiscal 2016
- Energy: 10% reduction over fiscal 2008 by fiscal 2016
- Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions: 10% reduction over fiscal 2008 by fiscal 2016
- Solid Waste to Landfill: 10% reduction over fiscal 2008 by fiscal 2016
- Packaging: One new packaging reduction project per year per independent operating company (IOC)
- Zero Waste: One zero-waste-to-landfill facility for each IOC by fiscal 2018
- Compliance: Reduce NOVs each year
All water, energy, GHG, and solid waste targets are normalized by production levels. New GHG, packaging, and zero-waste-to-landfill targets were added in fiscal 2012.
In 2010, we developed a set of challenging targets to further elevate our performance around water, energy, and solid waste. We are already reaching some of those targets ahead of schedule. In 2011, we continued to push ourselves by adding new targets for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and packaging reduction projects. In addition, each independent operating company (IOC) must have at least one zero-waste-to-landfill facility by fiscal 2018.
Our most recent materiality analysis, conducted in early 2012, shows that many of our external stakeholders are increasingly confident that we are proactively working to address the issues facing our business—from ethical, environmental, and economic standpoints.
In fiscal 2012, we continued to demonstrate progress toward our targets. We are particularly proud that not one of our 460 company-owned farms received a notice of violation (NOV), and our overall company-wide number of NOVs was nearly half that of the previous year—a sign of the continued effectiveness of our compliance programs. We aspire to reach a point where 100 percent compliance is no longer a goal but a given.
The investments we have made in new systems and programs are paying off, and we’re using these successes to foster greater improvements for the future. For example, we’re taking an even closer look at our water impacts on a local level, and we’re exploring innovative partnerships to convert hog manure into energy.
Our people are stepping up to the mark in a big way and are helping us make meaningful improvements through hard work and dedication. By continuing to invest in training on environmental issues, we’re enabling our employees to take responsibility and drive performance improvements through their own actions. Many of our environmental programs that reap the greatest benefits, both environmentally and economically, have come from individual plants or farms. Several of these initiatives are being recognized and rewarded through internal and external awards programs.