In 2017, we implemented projects that resulted in a reduction of over 6,000 metric tons of GHG emissions from our manufacturing operations.
At Hormel Foods, we have a number of projects in place that help reduce our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, ranging from improvements to our facilities to the way we transport our products to our customers.
As established from our 2011 base year, our goal is to implement projects that reduce GHG emissions by 92,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-e) by 2020. In 2017, we implemented projects that resulted in a reduction of over 6,000 metric tons of GHG emissions from our manufacturing operations, reaching 58 percent of our goal when combined with our progress since 2012. Of the total GHG emissions, direct GHG emissions were approximately 35 percent and indirect GHG emissions were approximately 65 percent. Normalized GHG emissions for manufacturing plants were 0.267 metric tons of CO2-e per ton of products sold, up seven percent from the prior-year level. We are currently not on pace to reach our 2020 goal.
Our 2020 Goal
Renewable Energy Initiatives
We support the renewable energy markets by subscribing to community solar gardens at five manufacturing locations, including a co-sponsorship with Westar Energy for its first community solar garden near Wichita, Kan., where we manufacture most of our Hormel® Natural Choice® bacon products.
Recent Projects to Reduce Air Emissions
Direct GHG Emissions Saved2300metric tons
Austin (Minn.) Plant
Our Austin Plant team added equipment to capture additional heat energy that could be used at the facility, effectively reducing the demand for natural gas combustion. This included installing a larger hot water tank, adding ammonia heat exchangers and changing the heat recovery water-flow path to optimize the existing heat exchangers. These changes resulted in a savings of more than 2,300 metric tons of direct GHG emissions — enough to offset the emissions from over 490 passenger cars operating for a year.*
Indirect GHG Emissions Saved65metric tons
Century Foods International (Sparta, Wis.)
Our Century Foods International team continued to replace metal halide light bulbs and fixtures and fluorescent light bulbs with LED light bulbs. These changes resulted in a savings of over 65 metric tons of indirect GHG emissions — enough to offset over 7,300 gallons of gasoline consumed.*
Indirect GHG Emissions Saved1300metric tons
Rochelle (Ill.) Foods
Our Rochelle Foods team replaced large engine room compressors, performed weekly energy audits and partnered with the local utilities department to complete energy assessments. Through these initiatives, the plant was able to reduce over 1,300 metric tons of indirect GHG emissions — enough to offset the electrical use for approximately 150 homes for one year.*
*According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator
With our worldwide presence, Hormel Foods relies on transportation via truck, train and ship to deliver our products to customers. We do so in a way that minimizes our impact on air quality. We transport our products as efficiently as possible by structuring pallet loads, reviewing product mixes and improving route planning. Load factors averaged approximately 90 percent of vehicle weight capacity in 2017.
We recognize that our methods of intermodal shipments need to be reassessed on a regular basis and thus, we continue to evaluate best practices. Intermodal shipments combine the best attributes of truck and rail shipping. For long distances, this method of transportation can cut fuel use and GHG emissions by 70 percent compared to truck-only moves.* In 2017, we had over 36,000 intermodal shipments. These shipments accounted for approximately 15 million miles and saved more than 1.8 million gallons of diesel fuel versus shipping solely by truck.