ConAgra Foods Inc., Omaha, Neb., re-instituted its Sustainable Development Awards program, this year recognizing projects that, in their overall effect, slashed carbon emissions by more than 25,000 metric tons, cut out 4,000 tons of landfill waste, 7,000 tons of packaging material and saved 348 million gallons of water during fiscal years 2008 and 2009, according to a press release.
Gail Tavill, vice president of Sustainable Development at ConAgra Foods, said the awards serve to spur on more sustainable initiatives across the company. Winners were named at the 2009 Sustainable Development conference in Omaha, April 29.
One award was given in each of five categories.
Climate Change & Energy Efficiency
ConAgra’s Milton, Pa., facility applied a ceramic coating to its cooker shells, reducing natural gas use by 27,070 MMBTU. The effort also reduced the amount of heat put off by the plant’s machinery, improving employee safety.
Water Resources – Conservation & Wastewater Management
ConAgra’s Gilroy, Calif., facility implemented a water conservation program across multiple processes, saving nearly 146 million gallons of water in less than a year. Overall water use was cut by 34 percent.
Solid Waste Reduction and Recycling
The company’s Archbold, Ohio, facility put in place a grassroots recycling program that recycled more than 1,000 tons of material in six months, eliminating the need for a cardboard baler.
Sustainable Packaging, Product and Process Innovation
ConAgra’s Research, Quality & Innovation team devised ways to use recycled PET in frozen meal trays. The project is expected to divert more than eight million pounds of waste from landfills annually.
Lamb Weston, ConAgra Foods’ potato business based in Kennewick, Wash., had a marketing communications plan to promote farm-to-plant-to-market sustainability performance and purchase Renewable Energy Credits to offset energy use associated with administrative facilities and the production of its products.
Sustainability Award of Excellence
ConAgra Foods’ Helm and Oakdale, Calif., locations were recognized for their overall commitment to sustainability.
The Oakdale facility decreased natural gas use by more than 30 billion BTUs and recovered more than 19 million gallons of condensate water during the fiscal year 2008. The Helm facility improved production energy intensity by 9 percent.
ConAgra Foods has numerous brands, including Banquet, Chef Boyardee, Egg Beaters, Healthy Choice, Hebrew National, Hunt’s, Marie Callender’s, Orville Redenbacher’s, PAM, Peter Pan, Reddi-wip.
ConAgra recently released its first-ever CSR report.
The company recently has adopted a 50 percent post-industrial recycled Polylactic Acid (PLA) shrink film.