ConAgra Recognizes Its Sustainable Facilities

ConAgra Foods  recently announced the winners of its 2009 Sustainable Development Awards. In total, the projects have reduced carbon emissions by more than 25,000 metric tonnes, eliminated 4,000 tons of landfill waste, 7,000 tons of packaging material, and conserved 348 million gallons of water during fiscal years 2008 and 2009.

One award was given in each of five categories:

  • Climate Change & Energy Efficiency – the Milton, Pa., facility applied a ceramic coating to its cooker shells, reducing natural gas use by 27,070 MMBTU and the temperature of plant machinery.
  • Water Resources – Conservation & Wastewater Management—the Gilroy, Calif., facility implemented a water conservation program across multiple processes and saved nearly 146 million gallons of water in less than one year and reduced overall water use by 34 percent.
  • Solid Waste Reduction and Recycling – the Archbold, Ohio facility implemented a grassroots recycling program that recycled more than 1,000 tons of material in six months, while improving employee safety by eliminating the need for a cardboard baler.
  • The Sustainable Packaging, Product and Process Innovation – the company's Research, Quality & Innovation team used recycled PET in frozen meal trays. The project is expected to divert more than 8 million pounds of waste from landfills annually.
  • Sustainable Marketing – Lamb Weston, ConAgra Foods' potato business based in Kennewick, Wash., communicated farm-to-plant-to-market sustainability performance and purchased Renewable Energy Credits to offset energy use associated with administrative facilities and the production of its products.

An additional "Sustainability Award of Excellence" was awarded to ConAgra Foods Helm and Oakdale, Calif., locations for demonstrating an overall commitment to sustainability. The Oakdale facility decreased natural gas use by more than 30 billion BTUs and recovered more than 19 million gallons of condensate water during the fiscal year 2008 production season. The Helm facility improved production energy intensity by 9 percent.

Winning submissions were awarded a $5,000 grant from the ConAgra Foods Foundation to put toward a sustainable community service project.

"The winning projects epitomize our goal to promote sustainable business practices," said Gail Tavill, vice president of Sustainable Development at ConAgra Foods. "Our hope is that employees across the company will take ideas like these and build upon them to drive their own projects to help our environment and deliver solid business results."

The company reintroduced its Sustainable Development Awards program in 2009 to drive and reward innovative approaches to sustainability that produce tangible results.