Perdue Farms released its 2016 Company Stewardship Report on June 15, covering a watershed year in which Perdue became the first major poultry company to move all of its chicken production to no-antibiotics-ever programs and to commit to groundbreaking changes in the way it raises chickens.
“Last year, we made significant changes in our practices, including moving to no antibiotics ever and changing the way we think about raising animals," said CEO Randy Day. “That put us in a position to empower consumers, customers and farmers with choices that can drive change. People expect more of Perdue, so we can’t accept the status quo.”
“Our Company Stewardship Report is a way of reporting back to all stakeholders on what we’ve done, and are doing, to address the things that matter to them,” said Chairman Jim Perdue. “Two of the biggest areas of concern we heard were antibiotic use and animal welfare. At the same time, our stakeholders want transparency around all our practices. We’re responding to those expectations.”
Protecting the Chesapeake Bay
To further its commitment to environmental responsibility, Perdue instituted a composting operation as part of its ongoing efforts to protect the Chesapeake Bay and Delmarva’s waterways in 2016. The new operation extended Perdue’s program of handling surplus poultry litter from Delmarva poultry farms, while adding the capacity to recycle nutrients from other by-products, many of which were previously land-applied.
The $12.5 million capital project brought the company’s total investment in nutrient recycling to $80 million since 2001, the year it became the first poultry company with an alternative solution to land application of poultry litter.
Environment and workplace safety
Over a three-year period, Perdue reduced water use by 4.6 percent while continuing to enhance food safety. Carbon dioxide emissions fell by almost six percent over the past three years, driven in part by a 14 percent reduction in fossil fuel use and a reduction in electricity use.
Perdue’s workplace safety record continued to best the average not just for poultry companies but also that of all manufacturing workplaces, with a lost-time rate one-fourth that of the manufacturing sector. Perdue also received the highest number of safety awards of any poultry company from the Joint Industry Safety and Health Council.
Responsible food and agriculture
“The report follows Perdue’s stewardship platform, ‘We believe in responsible food and agriculture,’” said Steve Levitsky, Vice President of Sustainability. “We understand that we have to be responsible in the way we produce food, raise animals and use our shared natural resources, while being a responsible employer, business partner and member of our communities.”
The report covers Perdue’s accomplishments and ongoing stewardship in the areas of food, environment, animal care and people – with people encompassing associates and their communities, customers and farmers and other business partners.
“For three generations, the Perdue family leadership has directed us that, if we do the right thing, profitability will follow,” said Day. “As with any other company, we have a responsibility to our shareholders, but ours encourage us to take on leadership positions that initially require more effort and resources. That added responsibility is part of our company culture, and reflected through our Company Stewardship Report.