In 2016, we implemented projects that resulted in a reduction of over 9,000 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 2016, we implemented projects that resulted in a reduction of over 9,000 metric tons of GHG emissions from our manufacturing operations, reaching 51 percent of our goal when combined with our progress since 2012. Of the total GHG emissions, direct GHG emissions were approximately 43 percent and indirect GHG emissions were approximately 57 percent. Normalized GHG emissions for manufacturing plants were 0.325 metric tons CO2-e per ton of products sold, up 0.4 percent from the prior year level. We are currently on pace to reach our 2020 goal.
Our 2020 Goal
Renewable Energy Initiatives
We have purchased wind power renewable energy certificates to offset the purchased electricity demand of our Osceola (Iowa) Food facility, offsetting 35 million kilowatt hours of energy. The use of this green power offsets power at the facility that produces most of the company’s Hormel®Natural Choice® deli meats products.
In 2016, we also continued to support the renewable energy markets by subscribing to community solar gardens at five manufacturing locations, including entering into a co-sponsorship with Westar Energy to develop 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 Saved675metric tons
Austin (Minn.) Plant
Our Austin (Minn.) Plant team investigated steam usage in the soup stock process and prioritized areas for improvement. By implementing projects that improved the efficiency of the steam use, the plant was able to save more than 675 metric tons of direct GHG emissions – enough to offset the GHG emissions from 1.6 million miles driven by an average passenger vehicle.
Direct GHG Emissions Saved790metric tons
Knoxville (Iowa) Plant
Our Knoxville (Iowa) Plant team looked at ways to improve the efficiency of drying sausage. The team completed an energy and air balance study to determine the current conditions and then identified changes that would improve production and reduce energy use. The plant documented changes that reduced over 790 metric tons of direct GHG emissions annually – enough to offset over 91,000 gallons of gasoline consumed.
Indirect GHG Emissions Saved99metric tons
Skippy Foods (Little Rock, Ark.)
Our Skippy Foods (Little Rock, Ark.) team completed lighting improvement projects, replacing older inefficient lighting with high-efficiency LED lamps. The changes improved lighting levels and saved 99 metric tons of indirect GHG emissions – enough to offset the electricity use of 22 homes for one year.
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 2016.
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 compared to truck-only moves. In 2016, we had over 8,200 intermodal shipments. These shipments accounted for approximately 13.6 million miles and saved more than 650,000 million gallons of diesel fuel versus shipping solely by truck.