Smithfield Foods is honored to receive the World Sustainability Awards' (WSA) prestigious "Profit with a Purpose" award. The company is recognized for aligning sustainability and profitability through its innovative renewable natural gas (RNG) programs, which significantly reduce carbon emissions by converting methane from hog manure into clean energy for consumers while presenting new revenue opportunities for family farmers.
Smithfield was selected following a rigorous three-stage judging process and was announced the winner during a virtual awards ceremony Oct. 13. In addition to the "Profit with a Purpose" award, Smithfield received a "Highly Commendable" honorable mention in the WSA's “External Partnership” category for its collaboration with a leading environmental organization to assist farmers in its supply chain with implementing sustainable farming practices.
After years of research, investments, and trialing, Smithfield arrived at an innovative method to implement RNG technology on its farms that generates value for the company and stakeholders across its value chain. Smithfield's RNG projects are notably reducing carbon emissions across America, removing 25 times more greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the atmosphere than are released during the resulting RNG's end use to power communities and fuel transportation vehicles. In many cases, the technology creates economic opportunity for family farmers who raise hogs by turning one of their biggest costs, manure management, into a new revenue source.
"We're honored to receive this prestigious global recognition and are immensely proud of our efforts to meet the world's growing demand for food in a sustainable way," said Stewart Leeth, chief sustainability officer for Smithfield Foods. "As a leader in the food and agriculture industries, Smithfield has worked to ingrain sustainability across its value chain over the last two decades. Through our RNG and agronomics programs, we are responsibly utilizing our resources, expertise and market access to amplify proven technologies that benefit the environment and simultaneously foster growth for us and our partners, suppliers and communities."
The company's RNG program is the cornerstone of its Smithfield Renewables platform, developed to accelerate Smithfield's progress toward realizing its industry leading carbon reduction goals. In 2016, Smithfield became the first major protein company to adopt a far-reaching GHG emissions reduction goal across its value chain – 25% by 2025. The company has since pledged to become carbon negative in its U.S. company-owned operations and reduce GHG emissions 30 percent across its U.S. value chain by 2030.
Smithfield's biogas joint ventures with Roeslein Alternative Energy (RAE) and Dominion Energy (Align RNG) are projected to collectively produce a combined 5.3 mil dekatherms of RNG, the equivalent of removing 630,000 vehicles from the world's roads.
The World Sustainability Awards are presented by Sustainability Leaders, a global network designed to accelerate cross-functional sustainability initiatives and World 50, a private community for senior-most executives to foster collaborative discovery free from press, competition and solicitation.