Smithfield Foods plans to continue its partnership with the University of Minnesota’s NorthStar Initiative for Sustainable Enterprise. The nonprofit research entity aims to improve the understanding of sustainability within global production and consumption systems, and to develop research and tools to improve the sustainability of these systems.
The Smithfield Foundation’s $25,000 contribution to NorthStar will help facilitate further research on the supply chain models the company utilizes throughout its operations, giving Smithfield valuable tools and insights to leverage as part the company’s robust sustainability program and to help achieve its industry-leading carbon reduction goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 25% by 2025. Smithfield began its partnership with NorthStar in 2015.
“We are pleased to contribute to the University of Minnesota’s NorthStar Initiative and to continue our research partnership,” says Stewart Leeth, vice president of regulatory affairs and chief sustainability officer for Smithfield Foods and vice president of the Smithfield Foundation. “The University’s research and analysis have been key to our efforts in meeting our industry-leading GHG goal and this partnership will help us continue that strategy and to further our mission of producing good food in a responsible way.”
In December of 2016, Smithfield became the first major protein company to announce a far-reaching GHG reduction goal throughout its entire supply chain, from feed grain to packaged bacon, by 2025. This goal was established in concert with the Environmental Defense Fund, a leading environmental nonprofit organization that has partnered with Smithfield to help set and achieve the company’s sustainability initiatives. Smithfield collaborated with NorthStar to estimate its GHG footprint and, utilizing its vertically integrated supply chain, determined key changes to production at each stage of the supply chain that would create the largest impact.
“We are thrilled to maintain our partnership with Smithfield to further provide research and intelligence that has the ability to make a difference, rather than simply provide information,” says Jennifer Schmitt, lead scientist and program director for the University of Minnesota’s NorthStar Initiative. “Our data has supported Smithfield in the past and the company has proven to be a fantastic partner who ultimately looks to make positive changes for its business and the industry overall.”
Smithfield’s contribution to NorthStar will support further data research and policy focused on sustainability, as well as production consumption systems that ensure consumer health and food security.