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Smithfield Foods Expands Sustainability Program; Stewart Leeth Comments

Smithfield Foods Expands Sustainability Program; Stewart Leeth Comments

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2021

Smithfield Foods is one of the latest companies in the industry to announce its ambitious sustainability efforts. Recently, the company committed to becoming carbon negative in all U.S. company-owned operations by 2030. Smithfield states it will reduce GHG emissions across its entire domestic supply chain by 30 percent by 2030.

Stewart Leeth, Chief Sustainability Officer, Smithfield Foods“Our latest commitments underscore Smithfield’s perennial dedication to sustainability,” said Stewart Leeth, Chief Sustainability Officer. “Following an unprecedented year, Smithfield carries a renewed sense of purpose in our calling to responsibly produce food and ensure access to affordable, high-quality protein for the growing global population. Through the significant efforts we have undertaken through our sustainability program, we are continuing to realize this call through initiatives that create value for our company and for our stakeholders.”

This new goal builds on the company’s prior pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across its domestic supply chain by 25 percent by 2025. Smithfield also announced that it will obtain 50 percent of its electricity from renewable sources, such as solar and wind power, over the same time period.

 Recently, Smithfield Foods committed to becoming carbon negative in all U.S. company-owned operations by 2030

The new commitments are just two of many included in the company’s newly launched 2020 Sustainability Impact Report, which features project updates and refreshed goals and targets across an expanded sustainability platform encompassing seven core pillars: animal care; diversity, equity, and inclusion; environmental stewardship; food safety and quality; health and wellness; helping local communities; and worker health and safety.

Last year, noted the release, the company transformed its “People” sustainability pillar into two new, standalone pillars to align with its priorities to ensure worker health and safety and embody a diverse, equitable, and inclusive organization. A third new pillar was introduced to highlight Smithfield’s designated efforts supporting health and wellness.

“Our latest climate targets, newly added priorities, and refreshed commitments build on nearly two decades of sustainability leadership,” said Leeth. “Our new report reflects our progress to date and outlines important new strategic priorities and commitments for the future aimed at further improving our sustainable practices from farm to facility to fork.”

Smithfield Foods also announced that it will obtain 50 percent of its electricity from renewable sources, such as solar and wind power, over the same time period

Some commitments and accomplishments included in Smithfield’s 2020 report include:

Animal Care:

  • Committing to assess barn enrichment on company-owned farms by 2030
  • Enhancing systematic programs, audits, and certifications to ensure the welfare of every animal on Smithfield's farms and facilities globally
  • Targeting to obtain one or more globally recognized animal care certifications for all company-owned farms by 2025

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion:

  • Formalizing a Unity and Action strategy
  • Launching supply chain initiatives to diversify its agricultural and manufacturing operations and increasing production facility spend with minority-owned businesses 14 percent by 2025
  • Pledging $10 million in targeted funding over the next three years to support America's minority farmers


  • Advancing innovative partnerships to capture renewable natural gas from methane on hog-farming operations
  • Committing to reappraise its U.S. water supply footprint to further support water conservation and pledging to reduce consumer packaging waste and plastic use by 2030
  • Increasing its commitment to reduce absolute GHG emissions across its U.S. value chain

Food Safety and Quality:

  • Achieving its recurrent food safety and quality target of zero domestic product recalls amid the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Maintaining Global Food Safety Initiative certification at 100 percent of applicable facilities in the U.S., Poland, and Romania

Health & Wellness:

  • Committing to reduce added sodium and sugars by 10 percent and implement cleaner labeling across its product portfolio by 2025

Helping Communities:

  • Launching Helping Our Heroes
  • Marking its largest philanthropic year in company history through increased charitable giving efforts totaling nearly $70 million in cash and in-kind donations to fight hunger and help communities where Smithfield employees live and work
  • Pledging to donate 100 million servings of protein across the U.S. by 2025 through the company’s signature hunger-relief initiative, Helping Hungry Homes®

Worker Health & Safety:

  • Committing to obtain ISO 45001 Health and Safety Certification at all facilities globally by 2025
  • Investing more than $800 million in COVID-19 response measures during 2020 to protect employees, including facility investments and employee benefits

To learn more about Smithfield’s 2020 Sustainability Impact Report click here.

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