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At Hormel Foods, we understand and accept the responsibility of minimizing our impact on the environment.

In 2011, we completed our first set of environmental goals and added our second set in 2012 to span from 2012-2020. In 2013, we continued our work in reducing air emissions, energy use, water consumption and solid waste generation. The following are specific environmental goals that we are dedicated to achieving by 2020:

  • Reduce non-renewable energy use by 10 percent;
  • Reduce water use by 10 percent;
  • Reduce solid waste sent to landfill by 10 percent;
  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 10 percent; and
  • Reduce 25 million lbs. of product packaging.

To read about the progress we made this year on these environmental goals, visit the environment section of the 2013 Hormel Foods Corporate Responsibility Report.

Find further information about several of our environmental policies below.

Environmental Management System

We use a web-based Environmental Management System throughout the company to track and monitor our progress toward meeting environmental requirements. This system includes compliance calendars, environmental policy and program information, training materials and formal internal environmental auditing protocols.

Knowledge-Sharing and Training

At Hormel Foods, we aim to continually improve our practices in order to achieve our environmental goals, and this includes enhanced information sharing. For example, we hold monthly conference calls with plant engineering and environmental staff in order to facilitate ongoing conversations about environmental compliance and sustainability issues. We hold a biennial companywide environmental conference to discuss environmental improvement projects and encourage knowledge-sharing among environmental representatives throughout the company. In addition, we require annual environmental training that covers key program areas, such as storm water, wastewater and the proper handling and transportation of waste materials.

Waste Water Management

The efficient treatment of process water is an important part of our operations and a primary focus of our environmental programs. Our goal extends beyond full compliance to developing collaborative partnerships within the communities in which we operate.

Whether by direct discharge or indirect discharge via municipal wastewater systems, treated process water from our manufacturing locations is distributed to the following watersheds (percentage denotes the breakdown of wastewater distribution to each location):

  • Upper Mississippi (67 percent);
  • California (12 percent);
  • Missouri (11 percent);
  • South Atlantic (4 percent);
  • Souris Red River (2 percent); and
  • Other watersheds (<4 percent).

Hazardous Waste

Certain Hormel Foods operations generate low volumes of regulated hazardous waste. Most of our locations are well within the federal definition of a Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Generator, generating 100 kilograms or less of hazardous waste per month. All Hormel Foods and subsidiary locations adhere to strict operational standards that have been designed to ensure compliance with all applicable hazardous waste rules. Our operations also generate small quantities of other regulated substances, such as used oil and universal waste. As with the generation of hazardous waste, we follow strict standards for handling these substances to ensure compliance with regulatory standards.

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Internal Recognition: 2013 Environmental Sustainability Best of the Best Champions


Each year, Hormel Foods facilitates an internal Environmental Sustainability Best of the Best competition, which rewards and recognizes company teams that have identified areas for efficiency improvement and implemented changes.

In 2013, entries generated throughout Hormel Foods have positively impacted our environmental goals. The teams have documented significant resource savings – a 154 million gallon reduction in water use, a reduction of more than 180,000 MMBtu of energy, a 7,900,000 reduction in kWh of electricity, and a reduction of more than 1,000 tons of solid waste.

Century Foods International (Sparta, Wis.) was selected as the 2013 Environmental Sustainability Best of the Best champion for reaching a recycling rate of 93 percent and achieving zero percent waste to landfill status at all four of their plant locations. Employees combined a number of efforts to achieve these results such as: employee awareness, partnerships with buyers, vendors and local groups, and new in-plant processes.

The other finalists in the competition included:

  • Atlanta Plant (Tucker, Ga.) – The Atlanta Plant was able to reduce their solid waste by 20 percent from the tonnage sent to the landfill in 2012, removing the need for one trash haul per week.
  • Farmer John (Vernon, Calif.) – Farmer John sustained zero waste through recycling, converting waste to energy, anaerobic digestion and compost. Through their efforts, they were able to recycle or divert 456 tons of waste from the landfill.
  • Osceola (Iowa) Food – A cross-functional team of employees from Osceola Food and the Corporate Office (Austin, Minn.) were able to retrofit equipment for the Hormel® Natural Choice® deli meats line to facilitate a reduction in the package size. By reducing the packaging from roughly 8 inches wide to 6.55 inches wide, the amount of paperboard, film, zipper and corrugated used was reduced by roughly 800,000 pounds.

“We are extremely proud of not only the quantity of submissions this year, but the quality of the projects that were implemented across all our operations,” said Thomas E. Raymond, director of environmental sustainability. “This year we had competitive projects from throughout the company. The teams in the final four should be extremely proud to be selected.” 

The Environmental Sustainability Best of the Best champion was selected by a panel of judges at the Corporate Office (Austin, Minn.), based on the criteria of project scope and goal setting, teamwork, problem solving, achievement and savings. 

“These projects serve as the perfect example of Hormel Foods' commitment to sustainability and I want to take this opportunity to thank all four teams,” said Bryan Farnsworth, senior vice president of supply chain. “I know it takes a lot of extra hard work throughout the year, with the education and working with all of the employees at your plant. This was no easy task and every entry deserves the utmost respect and recognition. Overall I am very pleased with the outstanding results this year.”

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