ConAgra Foods, Inc., (NYSE: CAG) announced the winners of its 2015 Sustainable Development Awards yesterday, an internal awards program that drives and rewards imaginative approaches to sustainability and produces bottom line business results.
The 82 entries received this year collectively:
- Eliminated waste by 58,700 tons
- Optimized and improved packaging, while using 15 million pounds less material
- Conserved more than 97 million gallons of water
- And reduced greenhouse gas emissions by more than 11,500 metric tons;
Delivering more than $70 million in savings, these projects exhibit the economic value of a company’s commitment to sustainable development. This year’s applications amounted to the largest single year savings the company has seen to date. Many of these applications were driven by the imagination and engagement of employees. The awards program recognizes that employees can make a big impact by coming together to do what’s right for both the environment and the business.
ConAgra Foods started the Sustainable Development Awards program in 1992 to encourage and reward employees to find ways to eliminate waste, save water and reduce energy through process innovation and engagement. Winning teams are each awarded a $5,000 grant from the ConAgra Foods Foundation to apply toward a sustainability-focused community service project in their area.
“It's exciting because ConAgra Foods' program continues to evolve year over year. We're driving engagement across all levels of employees at multiple locations, while challenging teams to collaborate in new ways” said Gail Tavill, vice president of Packaging and Sustainable Productivity at ConAgra Foods. “One example is our focus on reducing the amount of waste generated across our operations. Getting the most out of natural resources while continuing to look for new ways to operate more sustainably is a team effort that can have a positive impact on the environment and our bottom line.”
- Hermiston improved freezing capability by installing a Velocity Air Stack to better direct air flow in their freeze tunnel.
- The project resulted in the elimination of a 500-horsepower compressor, reducing electricity use by 4.3 percent.
- Faced with one of the most severe droughts on record in California, Helm focused their attention on reducing fresh water use during tomato fresh pack.
- By maximizing the use of water reclaimed from tomatoes, the facility reduced fresh water use by over 40 percent, conserving 22 million gallons.
- Twin Falls explored opportunities to minimize frozen waste while ensuring the same product quality, testing frozen grader screens with fewer holes in their screening process.
- Installation of screens with 66 percent fewer holes provided the same quality product while eliminating over 1,000 tons of potato waste.
- After a successful pilot test, Bergen op Zoom applied a new technology to fundamentally change how potatoes are preheated in preparation for cutting.
- This technology reduced water use by 18.5 million gallons, increased frozen recovery by 1 percent, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions by over 900 metric tons.
- Waterloo previously landfilled packaged pudding produced during flavor changeovers, sending high-quality pudding – albeit uniquely flavored – to waste.
- This project eliminated over 1,000 tons of packaged food waste by successfully identifying a market for a blended pudding SKU.