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Heinz Cuts Solid Waste 46% Since 2005

Heinz has cut its production of solid waste per unit of production by 45.6 percent since 2005, according to the company’s 2011 Corporate Social Responsibility Report.

Waste generation in FY11 was 59,544 metric tons, down from 106,006 metric tons in FY05. The company reported that it has also cut solid waste since FY10, when output was 38.3 percent below 2005 levels. For the third year in a row, Heinz surpassed its goal of a 20 percent-by-2015 drop.

Heinz attributes the reductions to best practice sharing between its regional sustainability coordinators.

The company reported a 64 percent reduction at its Irvine, Calif., facility; 64 percent in Christchurch, New Zealand; 57 percent at Latina, Italy; and 69 percent at Pudliszki, Poland. Heinz also said its facility in Dundalk, Ireland is on “well on its way” to becoming zero waste-to-landfill.

All Heinz Canada facilities are recycling plastic, corrugate, cans, bottles, office paper and other materials. Office and manufacturing supplies are delivered in returnable totes.

The report said that certain non-returnable containers, such as strawberry pails shipped to its St. Marys, Ontario factory, are sent to developing nations for use in water hauling, and the company sends organic waste from its Canadian operations, such as tomato, oils and cereal, to local farmers for use as animal feed.

Heinz said it is on track to achieve or exceed three other sustainability targets set in 2008, with a 2005 baseline: to reduce water consumption, energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions each by 20 percent by 2015.

Since 2005, it has cut water consumption per metric ton of production by 21.8 percent, although its water use was up slightly to 29.8 million cubic meters in FY11, from 29 million in FY10.

The company’s food processing factory in Echuca, Australia, has reprogrammed can and glass fillers to automatically turn off water flow when the operator stops the fillers; installed more efficient, high-pressure spray nozzles with operator control so water is not running continuously; and minimized the overflow of water in its pumpkin-washing system. The facility is also capturing and reusing storm water as well as water used to wash empty cans and jars.

In Leamington, Ontario, Heinz has installed a water reclamation system that reclaims heat and uses a cooling tower to increase or decrease water temperatures, and in St. Marys, Ontario, Heinz is using an H2flow system that treats wastewater and produces clear effluent.

Facilities in San Joaquín, Venezuela, and Aligarh, India have implemented garden irrigation systems that reuse treated effluent from manufacturing.

Heinz says its sustainable agriculture program, including use of drip irrigation, has increased the tomato yield of its growers by nine percent, exceeding a five percent goal. And it says use of its HeinzSeed has produced plants that are also more disease resistant, reducing the use of water and pesticides.

Since 2005, the company has cut energy consumption per metric ton of production by 15.1 percent, from 3.9 million to 3.3 million MWh. At its century-old factory in Muscatine, Iowa, Heinz partnered with engineering design consultants reduce the amount of natural gas and water used during the cooling process in ketchup, gravy and vinegar production.

Based on the findings, Heinz invested millions to install a new heat and water reclamation system. The regenerative process now delivers cooling water at a consistent temperature, the company says, while saving 140 million gallons of water and over 37,000 MMBTUs of natural gas per year.

At its Daan Mogot facility in Indonesia, the sustainability team installed a sky light to reduce lighting use, cutting electricity consumption by about 50 percent, to 4,454 kWh per month.

Heinz also cut its greenhouse gas emissions per metric ton of production by 13.2 percent since 2005. From FY10 to FY11, its greenhouse gas intensity fell from .205 to .204 CO2e per metric ton of production, en route to a goal of .188.

Assessments at 33 of its 81 facilities in FY10 and FY11 found projects that Heinz expects to cut GHG emissions through process heat recovery, water reclamation, and optimization of boilers, compressed air and waste recycling.

But the company says it is behind on its target of increasing renewable energy 15 percent by 2015. Heinz says that by the end of FY11, its use of alternative energy showed a “modest improvement” from the baseline year, but did not quantify the improvement.

The company says it is reassessing the goal “due to the difficult economic environment.”

Heinz also says its goal of delivering a 10 percent reduction in transportation-related fuel and GHG emissions by FY15 is based on an adjusted baseline year of 2009 rather than 2005, due to previous challenges in collecting and accessing accurate data from distribution partners. It notes that changing the baseline year to a shorter reporting cycle presents a greater challenge for the company.

Likewise, Heinz has a goal of a 15 percent reduction in packaging by FY15, based on an adjusted baseline year of 2009 rather than 2005. This baseline revision was necessary due to previous challenges in collecting and accessing accurate data from global packaging partners, the company says, but it expects to have a comprehensive measuring system in place by the end of FY12,

In February Heinz and Coca-Cola announced a partnership under which Heinz will start using Coke’s PlantBottle packaging for all 20-ounce ketchup containers.

In 2011, the Company disclosed potential financial implications for risks closely aligned with either global carbon consumption or potential negative consequences from significant environmental changes in its Securities and Exchange Commission Form 10-K Item 1A Risk Factors disclosure, as well as in cautionary statements contained in periodic reports and press releases. According to Heinz, potential risks include:

  • Increases in the cost and restrictions on the availability of raw materials, such as agricultural commodities and packaging materials. These risks could potentially impact Heinz’s ability to respond by increasing product prices and managing profitability.
  • The potential adverse impact of weather, natural disasters such as flooding and crop failures, fire, or a pandemic, which could decrease the availability of raw materials, including agricultural products, and could increase costs.

Heinz has produced a CSR report every two years since 2005.

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