/ About / Corporate Responsibility


At Hormel Foods, we take into account the important role that environmental responsibility plays in our day-to-day operations and the responsibility we must uphold for minimizing our impacts on the planet. To read our environmental sustainability policy statement, click here.

In 2011, we completed our first set of environmental goals and added our second set in 2012 to span from 2012-2020. 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 landfills by 10 percent;
  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 10 percent; and
  • Reduce 25 million pounds of product packaging.

We are proud to share our 2015 achievements in reducing air emissions, energy use, water consumption, solid waste generation and packaging within the environment section of our 2015 Hormel Foods Corporate Responsibility Report.

Additional details about our environmental policies are as follows:

Sustainable Agriculture Policy

Hormel Foods recognizes the critical role that sustainable agricultural practices play in meeting the world’s food demands while protecting our natural resources. We have developed a provisional sustainable agriculture policy that applies to our direct suppliers, contract animal producers and feed grain growers.

Hormel Foods appreciates the extensive agricultural expertise and passion for environmental protection shared by suppliers, partners and other interested stakeholders. We encourage comments on the content of this policy, and will use feedback to determine if revisions will be made prior to changing the status of this policy from provisional to final.

To be considered for review, all comments must be submitted to sustainability@hormel.com by June 1, 2017. The email must use the subject line of “sustainable agriculture policy comments” and address issues that are covered in the policy.

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

In order to continually improve our practices and achieve our environmental goals, we aim to enhance internal information sharing at Hormel Foods. These internal information-sharing sessions enable collaboration, and allow for best-practice sharing and conversation facilitation, among a long list of other benefits.

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 compliance programs, sustainability initiatives 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 regulated materials.

Wastewater Management

The efficient treatment of process water is an important part of our operations and a key 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 (70 percent);
  • California (11 percent);
  • Missouri (11 percent);
  • South Atlantic (4 percent);
  • Souris/Red River (2 percent);
  • Texas Gulf (1 percent); and
  • Other watersheds (1 percent).

Waste Handling Practices

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 requirements.

Environmental Grievances

Hormel Foods administers a formal grievance process through the Code of Ethical Business Conduct policy. The policy addresses matters related to environmental responsibility and has mechanisms for grievance reporting via a third-party staffed phone line and website. Hormel Foods did not receive any grievances related to environmental programs during 2014 or 2015. Hormel Foods also maintains an informal grievance mechanism through the sustainability@hormel.com email box. Any grievance submitted via this address is routed to the correct subject-matter expert for review and response. Hormel Foods did not receive any grievances related to environmental programs via the sustainability@hormel.com email box during 2014 or 2015.


Internal Recognition: 2015 Environmental Sustainability Best of the Best Champions

Best of the Best Awards

In order to encourage the advancement of environmental standards in our company and recognize those that have showcased exemplary achievements in the area of environmental sustainability, each year Hormel Foods facilitates an internal Environmental Sustainability Best of the Best competition. This award recognizes company teams that have identified areas for efficiency improvement and implemented changes.

This year’s entries generated throughout our operations significantly contributed to decreasing our environmental impact. The teams documented significant resource savings – including an estimated 84 million gallons of water, 114,000 MMBtu, and 1,200 tons of solid waste.

The Farmer John (Vernon, Calif.) team was chosen as the 2015 Environmental Sustainability Best of the Best champion. This is the second time Farmer John has won, making them the first repeat winner in the Environmental Sustainability Best of the Best program.

“The Farmer John team demonstrated what tenacious effort and a commitment to continuous improvement can accomplish,” said Thomas E. Raymond, director of environmental sustainability. “The results obtained by Farmer John and the other finalist teams prove that we can achieve our environmental, financial and operational goals in concert.”

The Farmer John team focused on energy savings by implementing hybrid refrigeration and energy-efficient lighting projects. The team conducted a complete review of all procedures to determine where the energy savings projects could be implemented. One solution implemented involved the installation of LED lighting. Testing was conducted to ensure bulb longevity and luminosity levels would meet or exceed plant requirements. Combined, the projects resulted in a savings of over 1.75 million kWh of electricity and 3,000 MMBtu of natural gas.

“Employees are excited about working for a company that values stewardship of natural resources and cares for the environment,” said James R. Schroeder, vice president of engineering. “This project is tangible proof of how our company is moving forward in support of environmental sustainability.”

The other finalists in the competition were:

  • Atlanta Plant (Tucker, Ga.) – The Atlanta Plant team worked to continue momentum on a project that had begun two years earlier. Through continuing employee education and engagement, they were able to reduce solid waste sent to landfills by 10 percent in 2015.
  • Austin (Minn.) Plant – The Austin Plant team focused on a more efficient and cost-effective way to clean cook belts for precooked bacon. By upgrading the cook belt washers, the team was able to achieve annual water savings in excess of 4 million gallons.
  • Osceola (Iowa) Food – The Osceola Food team introduced a culture change in order to achieve their project goal of increasing recycling percentages. The team identified four main areas for improvement, including reviewing current items recycled, reducing cardboard waste, eliminating the need to pay for an outside service to dispose of wood chips and utilizing totes more than once. Their 2015 initiatives reduced landfill shipments by 78 tons and contributed to the lowest landfill total in plant history despite increased production levels.

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.

Back to top