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 in the world.
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:
In 2014, we took great strides in reducing our air emissions, energy use, water consumption and solid waste generation. We invite you to read more about the progress we made on these environmental goals in the environment section of our 2014 Hormel Foods Corporate Responsibility Report.
Additional details about our environmental policies are as follows:
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 cross-collaborations across lines of business, 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.
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):
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 standards.
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 2013 or 2014. Hormel Foods also maintains an informal grievance mechanism through the email@example.com email box. Any grievance submitted via this address is routed to the correct subject matter experts for review and response. Hormel Foods did not receive any grievances related to environmental programs via the firstname.lastname@example.org email box during 2013 or 2014.
In order to encourage higher 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 rewards and recognizes company teams that have identified areas for efficiency improvement and implemented changes.
In 2014, entries generated throughout Hormel Foods have significantly, and positively, impacted our strides toward meeting our environmental goals. The teams have documented significant resource savings – an 82 million gallon reduction in water use, a reduction of more than 17,400 MMBtu of energy, including a 2,700,000 reduction in kWh of electricity, and a reduction of more than 1,500 tons of solid waste.
The Beijing Project Blue Sky at the Beijing HFC Plant (Beijing, China) received the honor of being named the Hormel Foods 2014 Sustainability Best of the Best champion for achievements in reducing carbon dioxide emissions. The Beijing team replaced two coal fired boilers with more efficient steam generators and moved them closer to ovens to reduce energy loss. The team also installed heat recovery technology and thermal solar panels to heat water for sanitation. Combined, the team was able to decrease greenhouse gas emissions by 60 percent compared to the previous year.
The other finalists in the competition included:
“The plant teams have demonstrated yet again that fantastic results can be achieved with hard work and a spirit of continuous improvement,” said Thomas E. Raymond, director of environmental sustainability. “It is an honor to acknowledge the leadership in environmental stewardship demonstrated by the teams participating in the Sustainability Best of the Best competition.”
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, and the knowledge gained through the successful execution of these projects, encompass all the attributes that make up the company’s commitment to sustainability,” said Bryan D. Farnsworth, senior vice president of supply chain. “We recognize that our employees go above and beyond their typical scope of work to accomplish this and the company is grateful for these efforts today and always.”