Food Processors Make Progress on Sustainability Goals in 2011

General Mills, Kellogg Co., Kraft and Purdue Farms talk about what they are doing to meet their sustainability goals.

By Food Processing staff

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With a focus on transportation-related energy use and CO2 emissions, Kellogg decreased per-case fuel in its U.S.-operated truck fleet by 40 percent by designing more efficient routes, restricting idling time and recently increased the amount of product on each truck to reduce miles and save fuel. Working with contract carriers, diesel fuel consumption has been decreased by 39 percent compared to 2005, or 10.9 million gallons per year.

Working with its partners and suppliers to reduce their environmental impact is also an important part of the company's corporate responsibility strategy, as a part of its responsible sourcing framework, launched in 2009.

Almost all Kellogg cereal cartons are made of 100 percent recycled fiber, with at least 35 percent from consumer-recycled material. In fact, the company is one of the largest users of recycled paperboard in the U.S., estimating that packaging amounts to about 15 to 20 percent of its products’ lifecycle carbon footprint.

Seven of Kellogg Co. U.S. cookie and cracker bakeries have earned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) first Energy Star certification for bakeries that demonstrate best-in-class energy performance. These facilities (Augusta Bakery, Augusta, Ga.; Cary Bakery, Raleigh, N.C.; Charlotte Bakery, Charlotte, N.C.; Cincinnati Bakery, Cincinnati, Ky.; Columbus Bakery, Columbus, Ga.; Florence Bakery, Florence, Ky., and Louisville Bakery, Louisville, Ky.) represent more than half of the 13 EPA-recognized U.S. cookie and cracker bakeries from multiple companies. Collectively, these facilities prevent more than 85,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually compared to average performing bakeries, and according to the EPA, these bakeries use one-quarter less energy than similar plants across the country.

" EPA recognition was the result of many projects and initiatives – both large and small – at our facilities, as well as the ongoing contributions and dedication from our employees," adds Alistair Hirst, senior vice president, operations, for Kellogg Co.'s U.S. Snacks business unit. "Some of these efforts include installation of motion sensors and high efficiency lighting as well as installing more efficient ovens and boilers, among other initiatives."

Since 2005, Kellogg has reduced its energy use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 7.5 percent and 9.8 percent per metric ton of food produced. As part of the company's more than 100-year commitment to corporate responsibility, each plant around the world has reduction goals for energy use, greenhouse gas emissions, water use and waste sent to landfill.

Overall, more than 93 percent of the waste Kellogg generates is recycled, sent for energy recovery or used for animal feed. Twenty-four Kellogg facilities in 12 different countries currently send less than 5 percent of the waste it generates to landfill.

"We've committed to reducing our energy use and greenhouse gas emissions by 15-20 percent by 2015 and already, we've made steady gains toward these goals in the last several years," says Celeste Clark, chief sustainability officer and senior vice president, global public policy and external relations.

Kellogg’s goals for 2015 are to reduce energy use, GHG emissions and water use by 15 to 20 percent (per metric ton of food produced), using 2005 as a baseline, and continue to reduce waste sent to landfill (per metric ton of food produced) beyond the 50 percent already reduced since 2005.

Krafting And Expanding Sustainability Goals

Northfield, Ill.-based Kraft Foods has made significant progress reducing energy, CO2 emissions, water, waste, packaging and transportation across its global operations. From 2005 through 2010: Energy use is down 16 percent, CO2 emissions are down 18 percent, incoming water is down 30 percent, net waste is down 42 percent, packaging is down 100,000 metric tons (200 million lbs), and16 million km (10 million road miles) have been removed from its network.

Kraft Foods expanded its sustainability goals -- now including the Cadbury and LU businesses acquired since 2007. For the 2010-2015 timeframe, it added transportation and agricultural commodities to what it will be measuring. Significantly, all of the company's European coffee brands have committed to sustainably source 100 percent of its coffee by 2015.

"We're building upon our successes to date," said Steve Yucknut, vice president, sustainability. "We're learning, improving and looking beyond our four walls for opportunities. Our new goals will help us do more. For example, our increased focus on sustainable agriculture will further boost our scale to help accelerate long-range development in more communities and for more commodities than ever before."

Using 2010 as a base, Kraft’s new sustainability goals raise the bar to accomplish a variety of goals by the end of 2015. They include: Increase sustainable sourcing of agricultural commodities by 25 percent; Reduce energy use in manufacturing plants by 15 percent; Reduce energy-related CO2 emissions in manufacturing plants by 15 percent; Reduce water consumption in manufacturing plants by 15 percent; Reduce waste at manufacturing plants by 15 percent; Eliminate 50,000 metric tons (100 million lbs.) of packaging material; and Reduce 80 million km (50 million miles) from transportation networks.

As one of the world's largest buyers of cocoa, coffee and cashews, Kraft Foods can have a positive influence on the long-term future of these commodities. The company will meet its agricultural goal through third-party certification groups like Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance and 4C. In different ways, these certifications address the three pillars of sustainability -- social, economic and environmental — by setting standards farmers must meet, helping them command a premium for their crops.

"Our commitment in coffee is a great example of how we're making sustainability an integral part of how we do business," said Hubert Weber, president, coffee, Kraft Foods Europe. "Our consumers and customers care about the benefits that certification delivers. That's good for business. As a result, we're making a positive impact across our supply chain – from crop to cup."

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