During 2017, we successfully implemented projects that reduced water use by 101 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.
Our target is to implement projects that reduce total water use by 0.5 billion gallons by 2020. During 2017, we successfully implemented projects that reduced water use by 101 million gallons, exceeding our goal by 51 percent when combined with our progress since 2012. Total manufacturing water use during 2017 was 4.6 billion gallons. We will continue to focus on water reduction and efficiency improvements as we work to establish a new goal.
Our water sources include municipal utilities and company-owned wells. 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 2017 was 7.3, even with the prior year’s level.
In addition to monitoring our water usage, we evaluated our operations to determine the business risk associated with water scarcity. After careful evaluation, we learned 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.
In 2017, we published our Sustainable Agriculture Policy and completed a high-level water risk assessment for our top suppliers through our participation in the AgWater Challenge. We will continue to provide updates on our progress through this challenge in future reports.
Recent Projects to Reduce Water Usage
2.4MGallons Of Water Saved
Algona (Iowa) Plant
Our Algona Plant team adjusted rinse times for its smokehouse area while ensuring quality. This change resulted in a savings of more than 2.4 million gallons of water — enough to fill over 15.3 million 20-ounce bottles of water.
7.9MGallons Of Water Saved
Austin (Minn.) Plant
Our Austin Plant team helped a third-party contractor save over 7.9 million gallons of water by replacing equipment parts and eliminating a manual wash process, which also resulted in improved product quality. That is enough water to fill over 84 million 12-ounce cans of soda.
49MGallons Of Water Saved
Jennie-O Turkey Store (Faribault, Minn.)
Our Jennie-O Turkey Store team was able to save more than 49 million gallons of water by reducing water use through recycling water from processes downstream and reusing it earlier in the manufacturing process. That is enough water to fill 980,000 standard bathtubs.
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).