During 2018, we successfully implemented projects that reduced water use by 61 million gallons.
Water usage continues to be a top priority for all of our stakeholders and thus, continues to be a priority at Hormel Foods.
After surpassing our 2020 goal in 2016 to reduce water use by 0.5 billion gallons, we have continued to achieve additional reductions. In 2018, we successfully implemented projects that reduced water use by 61 million gallons, exceeding our goal by 64 percent when combined with our progress since 2012. Total manufacturing water use during 2018 was 4 billion gallons. We will continue to focus on water reduction and efficiency improvements as we work to establish a new goal.
Our water sources for our domestic manufacturing facilities are solely from municipal utilities. We consistently look for ways to improve our equipment and engage our employees on an ongoing basis to achieve water use reduction through behavior-based initiatives. Normalized usage (cubic meters/sales tonnage) for 2018 was 6.3, a 14 percent improvement, compared to our prior-year level.
In addition to monitoring our water usage, we evaluate our operations to determine the business risk associated with water scarcity. After careful evaluation, we confirmed that Hormel Foods does not have manufacturing operations in areas defined as water-scarce regions by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. We have identified three manufacturing facilities that are located in regions defined as overall high risk, using the World Resources Institute’s Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas. Access-to-water risk remains low at all domestic manufacturing locations, and we remain committed to driving water reduction and efficiency improvements at these and all manufacturing locations.
We have published our Sustainable Agriculture Policy and completed a high-level water risk assessment of our top suppliers through our participation in the AgWater Challenge. We have also completed our first water risk questionnaire set with key suppliers to gain additional insight into the supply chain management of water risks. In 2018, we helped launch the Cedar River Watershed Partnership — a public-private partnership aimed at improving water quality. The partnership has held several events for farmers, including a field day educational event that focused on maximizing soil health. A priority of the partnership is helping farmers in the watershed in southern Minnesota become certified through the Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program. We will continue to be engaged in this initiative, will promote water quality certification within our supply chain, and will continue to explore additional ways to promote sustainable agriculture.
Recent Projects to Reduce Water Usage
8M+Gallons Of Water Saved
Austin (Minn.) Plant
Our Austin Plant team recognized an opportunity to automate the cooling of products coming off a cook line. By adding a simple temperature control package and an automatic valve, the team was able to save more than 8 million gallons of water annually – enough to fill over 51 million 20-ounce bottles of water.
15M+Gallons Of Water Saved
Jennie-O Turkey Store Willmar Ave. Plant (Willmar, Minn.)
Our Jennie-O Turkey Store Willmar Ave. Plant team took simple steps to achieve great water savings. Among the projects implemented were the installation of a recirculating water loop system and improving the efficiency of the water nozzles throughout the facility. These actions have resulted in annual savings of over 15 million gallons of water per year – enough to offset the average water use in 872,000 residential showers.
6.8MGallons Of Water Saved
Osceola (Iowa) Food
Our Osceola Food team worked hard to identify opportunities that would allow team members to clean equipment better while using less water. Partnering with equipment experts, the team identified an opportunity to retrofit an existing cleaning system with a new spray bar system, which improved cleaning and resulted in a reduction of 6.8 million gallons of water – enough to wash over 226,000 large loads of laundry in a high-efficiency clothes washer.
The efficient treatment of process water is an important part of our operations and a key focus of our environmental programs. Our goal extends beyond full compliance to developing collaborative partnerships in the communities where we operate.
Whether by direct discharge or indirect discharge via municipal wastewater systems, treated process water from our manufacturing locations is distributed to the following watersheds (percentage denotes the breakdown of wastewater distribution to each location).