Sanderson Farms, Inc. recently released its “2016 Corporate Responsibility Report” highlighting the company’s commitment to social and environmental responsibility. The 52-page, comprehensive report is the poultry producer’s most in-depth account of corporate responsibility practices to date. Omitting no aspect of corporate citizenship or sustainability, Sanderson Farms’ 2016 report reveals details regarding the company’s approach to animal welfare, nutrition, antibiotics, food safety, employee safety, environmental conservation and much more.
“At Sanderson Farms, we believe protecting the welfare of our animals is an integral part of our corporate responsibility as a poultry producer,” said Lampkin Butts, President and Chief Operating Officer for Sanderson Farms. “In our industry, we have a responsibility to produce a safe and sustainable food product for a growing and hungry world while maintaining our integrity with our animals, consumers and the environment.”
As rated by the National Chicken Council, the company’s average audit score for animal welfare practices in 2016 was 99 percent. In 2016, Sanderson Farms’ facilities also earned an AA score, the highest awarded grade by third-party British Retail Consortium audits, the global standard for food safety.
Demonstrating social responsibility through the company’s commitments to food safety and animal welfare are just two of the many ways Sanderson Farms defines “corporate responsibility” in its latest edition of the “Sanderson Farms Corporate Responsibility Report.” Another key component of the company’s responsibility as a corporate citizen is demonstrated through its commitment to sustainability and environmental responsibility.
“Even though technology isn’t the same today as it was back when my family opened the business, operating responsibly by conserving resources and continually innovating to find better ways of doing things were all values that my grandfather, father and uncle held near and dear to their business philosophy,” said Joe F. Sanderson, Jr., Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Sanderson Farms. “Today, more than 70 years later, those same values of operating responsibly and conserving natural resources are still very much a part of who we are as a business today.”
Since 2008, Sanderson Farms has tracked its daily usage of electricity, gas and water at each poultry complex in an effort to continually innovate processes and conserve natural resources. The use of these natural resources and utilities are measured against industry standards per salable pound or WOG pound, which is an industry term for a whole bird with the giblets removed. When compared to baseline values that were established in 2008, Sanderson Farms has seen a 22 percent reduction in electricity usage, a 40 percent reduction in natural gas usage and a 42 percent reduction in water usage at the company’s production and processing facilities in 2016.
According to the report, the amount of natural gas conserved by Sanderson Farms in 2016, as compared to baseline values established in 2008, would more than fuel all of the company’s 11 processing facilities, 10 hatcheries and one prepared foods facility for an entire year. By the same standard, the amount of electricity conserved by Sanderson Farms in 2016, as compared to baseline values established in 2008, would power more than 1.8 billion 60-watt, incandescent light bulbs for an hour.
In addition to conserving natural resources, Sanderson Farms utilizes a state-of-the-art wastewater treatment facility that treats water utilized in the company’s processing facilities to thoroughly clean and chill products as well as sanitize facilities. By utilizing biological treatment, oxygenation, clarification and ultra violet disinfection to treat wastewater, Sanderson Farms is able to recycle the water it consumes back into the environment through direct discharge to local streams or through land application.
In 2016, Sanderson Farms invested more than $2.5 million in employee training and development. A key part of its comprehensive training is teaching employees how to incorporate sustainability practices into their everyday work. With more than 50 jobs dedicated to environmental services at Sanderson Farms, it is evident that sustainable thinking is deeply engrained in the company’s method of operation.
“As a public company, we have a responsibility to continuously innovate our operations in an effort to reduce our impact on the environment around us and do our part to be a good neighbor in the communities in which we operate,” said Pic Billingsley, Director of Development and Engineering at Sanderson Farms. “Part of being a good neighbor includes giving back to the communities where we operate by supporting local charities, providing meals for disaster relief efforts and encouraging employee involvement in local communities.”
During fiscal year 2016, Sanderson Farms donated $800,000 to charitable and community organizations, as well as $686,742 given to the United Way through company and employee donations. Sanderson Farms matches dollar-for-dollar every donation that employees make to the United Way. This corporate giving program allows all employee contributions to remain in the areas where the donations are made so that employees can witness the impact their donations have upon the local community.
Since 2012, Sanderson Farms has donated 1,161,120 pounds of poultry to charitable and community organizations in its surrounding communities. In 2016 alone, Sanderson Farms provided 67,000 meals to local food banks through company sponsored events.
“As a company, we encourage community engagement amongst our employees and support local food banks and hunger relief programs with our chicken products,” said Sanderson. “Serving others is an integral part of our responsibility both as an employer and a corporate citizen.”