Today Smithfield Foods, Inc. announced a new record for its charitable giving and employee engagement efforts with the release of the Helping Communities and People sections of its 2015 Sustainability & Financial Report. These sections detail achievements and progress in Smithfield's efforts to support the vitality of local communities and provide safe, rewarding jobs for employees.
In 2015, Smithfield increased its total charitable giving by more than 30 percent over the previous year to $27.1 million. This includes food and cash donations provided to charitable organizations both by Smithfield and through its cause-related partnerships, which raise funds for charities and create positive change for issues related to hunger, education, health and wellness. Smithfield supported these partnerships with more than 100 cause-marketing events, a 400 percent increase over the previous year.
While cash donations increased by 25 percent, Smithfield increased its food donations by more than 37 percent. Last year, Smithfield donated 18.8 million servings of protein to food banks nationwide through Helping Hungry Homes®, a company initiative focused on alleviating hunger across the country.
"As a global food company, we understand the importance of proper nutrition and value our responsibility to improve food security across the country," said Keira Lombardo, senior vice president of corporate affairs for Smithfield Foods. "We're passionate about strengthening the communities where our employees live and work and creating opportunities for our people to excel both personally and professionally."
Smithfield also gives to support educational opportunities by providing academic resources for employees and their families. In 2015, Smithfield gave more than $1 million in educational assistance programs. This includes tuition reimbursement for employees earning their bachelor's or master's degrees as well as educational scholarships provided to dependent children and grandchildren of employees by the Smithfield Foundation, the company's philanthropic wing.
In addition to education-focused initiatives, the People section of the sustainability report details new milestones in Smithfield's efforts to foster engagement and a company culture that nurtures and rewards employees. Organizational changes include establishing a chief people officer, creating a centralized talent development function to manage training and employee development activities, and developing a key leadership position focused primarily on diversity and inclusion. The report also includes new and revitalized employee engagement programs as well as innovative technology and methods to advance employee safety and wellness.
"At Smithfield we understand that our success relies on the health and engagement of our employees," said Mark Garrett, chief people officer for Smithfield Foods. "We're improving our programs and creating new ones to better support our employees including new resources tailored to meet the needs of minorities, millennials, women and other underrepresented groups so that we may better leverage the unique strengths of all employees looking to build a career with Smithfield."
This is the fourth of five installations of Smithfield's annual sustainability report, published in segments organized by pillar of the company's sustainability program. The goal of the multiphase release is to better engage a broad range of stakeholders by delivering information in a more accessible, meaningful way. Following the release of the Helping Communities and People sections of the report, Smithfield will make the Full Report available in mid-August.