Virginia-based pork producer Smithfield Foods announced the launch of Smithfield Renewables, a new environmental initiative to accelerate the company’s carbon reduction and renewable energy efforts, GlobalMeatNews.com reported. Smithfield Foods, a $15 billion company, is the world’s largest pork processor and hog producer.
The new renewables unit is expected to help Smithfield Foods reach its goal of becoming the first major protein company to reduce absolute greenhouse gas emissions 25% by 2025. The initiative, led by senior director Kraig Westerbeek, will work on implementing reuse and renewable energy projects, according to the company.
“Westerbeek will lead an advisory committee that will evaluate projects and help direct a company-wide strategy for renewable energy projects across both farms and facilities,” Smithfield Foods said in a recent announcement.
The efforts include collaborating with the Environmental Defense Fund to optimize fertilizer usage and improve soil health on its feed grain farms. Smithfield Foods facilities will also continue with energy efficiency projects such as upgrades to equipment like boilers and refrigerators, the company says.
Smithfield Renewables projects include converting manure from hog farms into energy. Those efforts are expected to produce over 2 billion cubic feet of renewable natural gas, which would be enough to power 53,000 homes for a year, the company says in a video about the new initiative.
Speaking at the 2017 Environmental Leader Conference and Energy Management Summit in June, William Gill, vice president of environmental affairs at Smithfield Foods noted that the company is already producing electricity from a manure farm in Utah. “We’ve partnered with tech providers and utility experts,” he said.
Last year, Smithfield Foods submitted 181 projects for internal environmental excellence awards. Taken together, all of those internal projects have saved $178 million in operating costs since 2012.