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We are inspired to reduce our impact on the planet and preserve its resources. In 2011, we completed our first set of environmental goals. We are now working toward achieving by 2020 new goals for reducing solid waste, water use, greenhouse gas emissions, nonrenewable energy use and packaging.

To learn more, please read our Environmental Sustainability Policy Statement .

Our Goals

We are committed to achieving the following environmental goals 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.

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. That’s why we have developed a Sustainable Agriculture Policy that applies to our direct suppliers, contract animal producers and feed grain growers.

Environmental Management System

We use a companywide, web-based environmental management system 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

To continually improve our practices and achieve our environmental goals, we look for ways to enhance internal information sharing.

For example, monthly conference calls with plant engineering and environmental staff facilitate ongoing conversations about environmental compliance and sustainability issues.

We hold a biennial companywide environmental conference to discuss environmental compliance programs and sustainability initiatives, and encourage knowledge sharing among environmental representatives throughout the company. In addition, annual environmental training 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 in the communities where 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).

In 2015 alone, we reduced the amount of solid waste sent to landfills by 1,200 tons.

Waste Handling Practices

Certain Hormel Foods operations generate low volumes of regulated hazardous waste. Most 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.

In 2015, approximately 80 percent of our product packaging by weight was recyclable and/or made from recycled materials.

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 accommodates grievance reporting via a third-party-staffed phone line and website.

We also maintain an informal grievance mechanism through Any grievance submitted via this address is routed to the appropriate subject-matter expert for review and response.

Hormel Foods did not receive any formal or informal grievances related to environmental programs during 2014 or 2015.

Our 2015 Environmental Engineering Conference

Read more about our achievements in reducing air emissions, energy use, water consumption, solid waste and packaging in our 2015 Hormel Foods Corporate Responsibility Report.