Smithfield Foods set a greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction goal throughout its supply chain, from feed grain to packaged bacon. By 2025, Smithfield aims to reduce its absolute GHG emissions by 25 percent. When achieved, this goal may reduce emissions by more than 4 million metric tons, equivalent to removing 900,000 cars from the road. In this sustainability effort, Smithfield collaborated with Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) in setting its goal.

“While we will have unique challenges meeting this goal as the world’s largest pork processor and hog producer, our size and scale also means that, if successful, we can make a significant, positive impact,” Kenneth M. Sullivan, president and chief executive officer for Smithfield Foods in a press release. “Our mission is to produce 'Good food. Responsibly.' This announcement is yet another acknowledgement of our commitment to doing just that.”

Collaboration for greenhouse gas emissions reduction effort

Smithfield collaborated with the University of Minnesota’s NorthStar Institute for Sustainable Enterprise to estimate its GHG footprint, creating a robust model that can assist other protein companies in analyzing their own footprints. EDF served as an adviser in the development of the commitment.

"There is much work ahead for Smithfield to reach its goal,” said Fred Krupp, EDF president. “Success will require collaboration with farmers and others in the agricultural industry. We encourage companies to follow Smithfield's leadership to make ambitious commitments to improve air and water quality. It’s important that the private sector play a role in protecting our natural resources."

This commitment impacts operations across Smithfield’s supply chain, on company-owned farms, at processing facilities and throughout its transportation network. In its grain supply chain, Smithfield is collaborating with EDF to improve fertilizer efficiency and soil health, which will reduce nitrous oxide emissions from grain farms.

Sustainability on Smithfield hog farms

On its hog farms, Smithfield will incorporate renewable energy and reuse projects that utilize technology such as anaerobic digesters and lagoon covers. Smithfield aims to install these technologies on at least 30 percent of company-owned farms. Smithfield will also continue to adopt measures that improve animal efficiency, resulting in improved feed conversion and productivity while reducing carbon emissions.

At its processing facilities, Smithfield will continue to improve energy efficiency through refrigeration, boiler and other equipment upgrades. Smithfield is optimizing its logistics network to better manage its animal and product transportation while reducing fuel consumption and carbon emissions.

The absolute greenhouse gas emissions reduction will be measured from a 2010 baseline. Efforts toward this goal already underway will be included in the final results.