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At Hormel Foods, we understand and accept the responsibility of minimizing our impact on the environment. We aim to reduce air emissions, energy use, water consumption and solid waste generation. To read about our progress on our environmental goals this year, visit the environment section of the 2012 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 (69 percent)
  • California (13 percent)
  • Missouri (12 percent)
  • South Atlantic (2 percent)
  • Souris Red River (2 percent)
  • Other Watersheds (<3 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: 2012 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. The 2012 contest generated entries throughout all Hormel Foods business segments.

Rochelle (IL) Foods was selected as the 2012 Environmental Sustainability Best of the Best champion for their solid waste reduction project. The Rochelle Foods team implemented projects that resulted in an 8 percent reduction in solid waste sent to landfill, improved beneficial use via land application by 29 percent, and demonstrated outstanding employee engagement and communication efforts to achieve this success. The solid waste and recycling programs realized significant annual savings with minimal capital investment. 


The other finalists in the competition included:


  • Progressive Processing (Dubuque, IA) – improved recycling project: The Progressive Processing employees identified the 2011 landfill costs and saw an opportunity to reduce landfill tonnage, increase recycling revenue and encourage overall employee participation in the plant recycling program. Their goal was to reduce tonnage by 25 percent and increase recycling revenue by 15 percent. Their normalized results were a 28 percent reduction in tonnage sent to the landfill with notable landfill savings and increased recycling revenue. They attribute the heightened employee engagement and employee education efforts to the success of this project.
  • Beloit (WI) Plant – reduce solid waste sent to landfill: The Beloit Plant created their project from the Hormel Foods sustainability goals by reducing waste sent to the landfill by 10 percent and improving plant recycling. Communication was also key for this project, as promotion of waste reduction and recycling improvements were published in the plant newsletter and on the break room monitor. The results included an 18 percent reduction in landfill tonnage in fiscal 2012 and a consistent recycling rate at 39 percent.
  • Rochelle (IL) Foods – water savings project: The need to reduce water consumption was identified and a combined approach from all areas was implemented. The team aimed to meet the company sustainability water reduction goal of 2 percent per year and they succeeded their goal by reducing water consumption by 14.4 million gallons. Again, as with the solid waste reduction project, employee education was a key part of the success of this project, with communication in the plant newsletter, posters, and monitors in the cafeteria and lobby.

“We had tremendous participation this year with 61 projects at 42 locations and the teams in the final four should be extremely proud to be selected,” said Tom E. Raymond, director of environmental sustainability.


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


“I want to take this opportunity to thank all four teams, these projects were outstanding,” said William F. Snyder, 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, so great job. I think everyone knows how important sustainability is to our company and these four projects are a great example of what can be accomplished.”


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