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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 Policy Statement.

Our Goals

Our new goals follow our previous set of sustainability goals in which we achieved significant reductions in our packaging, nonrenewable energy use, greenhouse gas emissions, water use and solid waste sent to landfills. To learn more about our new goal set, please see our 20 By 30 Challenge.

Sustainable Agriculture

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.

In calendar year 2017, we completed a comprehensive risk assessment of our company-owned operations and a high-level water risk assessment of our largest direct suppliers. The assessments were completed in partnership with a third-party sustainability consultant, Antea Group. Additional information about the assessment, analysis and our next steps will be provided in our corporate responsibility report.

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 programs 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, annual environmental training covers key program areas such as storm water, wastewater and the proper handling and transportation of regulated materials.

In 2020, we reduced water use by 119 million gallons.

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 2020, approximately 84 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 2020.

Read more about our achievements in reducing air emissions, energy use, water consumption, solid waste and packaging in our corporate responsibility report.