Smithfield Foods releases 20th Sustainability Impact Report

Reports marks completion of $150 million project to install manure-to-energy technology on nearly all hog finishing farms in northern Missouri.

May 18, 2022

6 Min Read
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Smithfield Foods

Smithfield Foods, Inc. has published its 2021 Sustainability Impact Report, the company's 20th, outlining its holistic approach to responsible food production and efforts to produce "Good Food, do Good Work" and be "Good Stewards" of its animals and the environment. In addition to reporting on progress toward goals and targets across seven key pillars, the report commemorates 20 years of industry sustainability leadership and milestones focused on Environmental, Social and Governance. 

"Since the genesis of our sustainability program in 2001, our unwavering commitment to continuous improvement has spurred extensive research and investments across our value chain that have led us to pioneer efforts addressing some of the greatest challenges and opportunities facing our industry," says Shane Smith, president and CEO of Smithfield Foods. "Our 2021 Sustainability Impact Report commemorates the 20th anniversary of our industry-leading program and demonstrates how 'Good Is What We Do' as a company for our people, animals, communities and planet. In addition to outlining the continual progress we are forging across our sustainability pillars, the report highlights many of the important lessons we've learned and innovations we have implemented to date."

Smithfield's integrated sustainably model is designed to create value across its vertically integrated value chain while supporting best business practices in animal care; diversity, equity and inclusion; environmental stewardship; food safety and quality; health and wellness; community development and worker health and safety. As a result of ongoing initiatives across the company to shrink its environmental footprint, Smithfield is making progress toward its emissions reduction and carbon negative goals and is using less water, land, feed and energy to produce its products than ever before. Deeply committed to worker safety, the company also continues to maintain health and safety incident rates below general industry averages globally.

"For Smithfield, sustainability has been a top priority for more than two decades – and our progress has not been achieved overnight. We started with long-term, big aspirational goals – our first was to be an environmental leader – then developed clear strategies to achieve them," says Stewart Leeth, chief sustainability officer for Smithfield Foods. "Through this process, we began leading the industry in many 'first-ever' achievements, including becoming the first-ever protein and livestock company to obtain ISO certification in 2005 for every facility and every farm. Those achievements continue to the present day with our industry first absolute carbon reduction goals announced in 2016 and 2020."

In addition to forging progress toward its leading environmental goals, last year the company exceeded its charitable giving targets, donating nearly 775,000 servings of protein to its communities every week. To underscore its commitment to fighting food insecurity, the food company will double the goal it set in 2020 to donate 100 million servings of protein by 2025 to target donating 200 million servings over the same time period. 

Additionally, through its $15 million Unity and Action investment to support diversity in food manufacturing and agriculture, the company launched a new contract grower program to support Black and other minority farmers, graduated more than 100 employees through its Operations Leadership Program and set a new workforce development goal to increase the racial and gender diversity of its leadership team by 2030.

A summary of the company’s 2021 sustainability highlights follows.  
Good Stewards
Animal Care:

  • Maintaining systematic programs, audits and certifications to ensure animal welfare, including transparent use of antibiotics. 

  • Continuing to focus on industry leading group housing for sows. 

  • Establishing an external Animal Well-Being Committee with the Center for Food Integrity to complement the company's internal animal care committees. 


  • Forging progress toward its industry leading 2030 commitments to become carbon negative in all U.S. company owned operations and reduce GHG emissions 30% across its value chain through projects underway in its Smithfield Renewables program. 

  • Committing to halve food loss and waste in all company-owned operations by 2030 and becoming a USDA and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Food Loss and Waste 2030 Champion.

  • Completing a $150 million project – the largest renewable natural gas project of its kind – to install manure-to-energy technology on nearly all hog finishing farms in northern Missouri and continuing efforts to make existing hog farms across America more sustainable by converting methane emissions from hog manure into carbon-negative RNG and organic fertilizer.  

  • Receiving a World Sustainability Award for its innovative manure-to-energy projects and increasing biogas production by more than 100%.

  • Certifying five new facilities zero-waste-to-landfill for a total of 21 ZWTL facilities and increasing renewable energy directly sourced by more than 15%. 

Good Work
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: 

  • Committing to increase the racial and gender diversity of its leadership team by 2030 by promoting and hiring Black, Hispanic and other underrepresented groups to reflect at least 30% of supervisors and above and female leaders to represent at least 35% of supervisors and above.  

  • Launching a new contract grower program to support Black and other minority farmers with entering or reentering the agricultural industry and welcoming three new minority-owned farms to its supply chain.    

  • Continuing allocation of the company’s $15 million commitment to further DEI in food manufacturing and agriculture, including funding for DEI-focused educational scholarships for more than 600 students.  

  • Graduating more than 100 employees through its Operations Leadership Program, designed to create a robust pipeline of diverse candidates to fill future management positions. 

Helping Communities:

  • Doubling its pledge to donate 100 million servings of protein across the U.S. by 2025 through the company’s signature hunger-relief initiative, Helping Hungry Homes, to target donating 200 million servings over the same time period. 

  • Donating nearly 775,000 servings of protein to communities in need each week and contributing more than $44 million in cash and in-kind donations. 

  • Hiring nearly 600 veterans and contributing $300,000 to fund a new veteran employment center near the company's Virginia headquarters supporting U.S. military veterans and their families with transitions back to civilian life through dedicated veteran employment, training and retention programs.

  • Continuing to award need-based educational scholarships for dependents of full-time and retired team members amounting to more than $7.5 million since 2002. 

Worker Health and Safety:

  • Hosting more than 200 Covid-19 vaccine education and vaccination events across the country. 

  • Continuing progress toward obtaining ISO 45001 Health and Safety Certification at all facilities globally by 2025. 

  •  Maintaining health and safety incident rates below general industry averages globally. 

Good Food
Food Safety and Quality:

  • Maintaining Global Food Safety Initiative certification at all applicable facilities. 

  • Enhancing Manufacturing Intelligence processes at its facilities. 

  • Reducing customer and consumer complaints. 

Health and Wellness:

  • Continuing progress toward its goal to reduce added sodium and sugars 10% and implement cleaner labeling across its product portfolio by 2025. 

  •  Expanding its Smithfield BioScience program, which produces lifesaving medical solutions from porcine-derived bioproducts.

  •  Reducing allergens in Smithfield products. 

Source: Smithfield Foods, which is solely responsible for the information provided, and wholly owns the information. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.  

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