Smithfield Leads Industry as First Major Protein Company to Adopt Greenhouse Gas Reduction Goal

SMITHFIELD, Va. (December 5, 2016)—Today, Smithfield Foods, Inc., became the first major protein company to announce a far-reaching greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction goal throughout its entire supply chain, from feed grain to packaged bacon. By 2025, Smithfield will reduce its absolute GHG emissions by 25 percent. When achieved, this goal will reduce emissions by more than 4 million metric tons, equivalent to removing 900,000 cars from the road. Smithfield collaborated with Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) in setting its goal.

“We are proud to lead the industry and set another first by launching an endeavor that is both environmentally beneficial and economically feasible,” said Kenneth M. Sullivan, president and chief executive officer for Smithfield Foods. “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. Our mission is to produce ‘Good food. Responsibly.’ This announcement is yet another acknowledgement of our commitment to doing just that.” 

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. 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. For a visualization of Smithfield’s commitment, please visit


About Smithfield Foods
Smithfield Foods is a $14 billion global food company and the world’s largest pork processor and hog producer. In the United States, the company is also the leader in numerous packaged meats categories with popular brands including Smithfield®, Eckrich®, Nathan’s Famous®, Farmland®, Armour®, John Morrell®, Cook’s®, Kretschmar®, Gwaltney®, Curly’s®, Margherita®, Carando®, Healthy Ones®, Krakus®, Morliny®, and Berlinki®. Smithfield Foods is committed to providing good food in a responsible way and maintains robust animal care, community involvement, employee safety, environmental and food safety and quality programs. For more information, visit
About the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF)
Environmental Defense Fund (, a leading international nonprofit organization, creates transformational solutions to the most serious environmental problems. EDF links science, economics, law and innovative private-sector partnerships. Connect with us on TwitterFacebook and our Growing Returns blog.

The Evolution of Smithfield’s Sustainability Program

Former Chief Sustainability Officer, Dennis Treacy, and current Vice President of Regulatory Affairs and Chief Sustainability Officer, Stewart Leeth, discuss where the Smithfield sustainability program has been and what the future holds.

Source: Smithfield Foods

The Evolution of Smithfield’s Sustainability Program

Former Chief Sustainability Officer, Dennis Treacy, and current Vice President of Regulatory Affairs and Chief Sustainability Officer, Stewart Leeth, discuss where the Smithfield sustainability program has been and what the future holds.

Smithfield Foods and United Suppliers Partner to Advance Precision Agriculture in Supply Chain

PRINCETON, Mo., Feb. 17, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Smithfield Foods, Inc. and United Suppliers, Inc., today announced a collaboration to advance on-farm conservation practices and the use of innovative precision agriculture tools across Smithfield’s sourcing regions in Iowa and Missouri. Smithfield’s initiative will focus on deployment of SUSTAIN™, United Suppliers’ sustainability platform, with agronomic and sustainability guidance from Environmental Defense Fund (EDF). The ultimate goal of the project is to work with farmers along all points along the food supply chain to reduce fertilizer runoff, safeguard the environment, and ensure farm productivity.

“At Smithfield, we are committed to sustainability, and to finding solutions where we can both make the environment better and create value,” said Kraig Westerbeek, vice president of environment and support operations at Smithfield Foods’ Hog Production Division. “Farmers spend up to half of their input costs on fertilizer, so keeping more nutrients where they belong helps growers save money and improve yields. We’re excited to offer the SUSTAIN platform to our Midwest growers because it’s a true win-win.”

United Suppliers is a cooperative of 560 locally owned and controlled agricultural retailers who operate nearly 2,500 retail locations, and who serve growers spanning 45 million acres in the U.S. and Canada. United Suppliers developed the SUSTAIN platform, in coordination with EDF, which combines a set of proven, effective technologies, practices and products that improve nutrient use efficiency and reduce soil erosion while enhancing productivity.

“We’re excited to announce this collaboration at today’s grower meeting hosted by South Central Cooperative, one of United Suppliers’ authorized SUSTAIN retailers,” said Matt Carstens, vice president of United Suppliers. “This is a great example of how food companies, ag retailers, and growers can work together to achieve success in the realm of ag sustainability that ultimately meets the demands of the consumer.”

Although fertilizer is essential for producing food across the globe, on average 50 percent of nutrients applied are not taken up by crops. The resulting fertilizer runoff can cause water pollution and transform into air pollution in the form of nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas nearly 300 times more powerful than carbon dioxide.

This collaboration will:

  • Optimize nutrient use efficiency and improve soil health in Smithfield’s Midwest sourcing regions.
  • Expand the reach of the SUSTAIN platform in the Smithfield sourcing region to help United Suppliers meet its goal of 10 million acres enrolled in SUSTAIN by 2020.
  • Protect yields while reducing nutrient and soil loss, thereby achieving greenhouse gas emissions reductions and water quality improvements.
  • Improve the resiliency of the U.S. food production system.

Smithfield is the first protein company to use this program, and joins General Mills, Campbell’s Soup, and Unilever in using the platform in sustainable sourcing efforts.

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