The Kraft Heinz Company showed its progress toward environmental and supply chain goals in an inaugural corporate social responsibility report published this week. These targets include transitioning to sourcing 100% of eggs globally from cage-free hens by 2025 as well as reducing water use, emissions, and energy use by 2020.
Formed in July 2015 from Kraft Foods Group and H.J. Heinz Company, Kraft Heinz announced plans last March to invest $200 million in environmental management and corporate social responsibility efforts. At the same time the company also published commitments to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, energy, water and waste in its operations by 15% globally by 2020 versus a 2015 baseline.
This week, Kraft Heinz reported reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 5.1% and reducing energy usage by 3.6%, adding that they should be on track to meet their targets. However, water appears to be more of a challenge. The company only reduced water usage by 1.4% compared to the baseline. “We’re working to improve our rate of progress and are diligently managing against a new action plan to achieve the stated reduction by 2020,” the report says.
For the reducing waste to landfill goal, so far that is at 9.5%. By 2016, six Kraft Heinz facilities achieved zero-waste-to-landfill status, the report says. The company adds that it is working with service providers to identify alternative outlets for waste like recycling, energy recovery, and possibly re-using organic material as an ingredient in animal feed.
Supply Chain Commitments
Earlier this year, the company also reinforced and introduced guidelines for suppliers in its value chain. They aim to source all eggs come from cage-free hens, eliminate gestation stalls for pregnant sows, increase welfare for broiler chickens, and switch to completely sustainable and traceable palm oil.
Currently the company sources 33% of its eggs globally from cage-free hens. In Europe, the supply is already 100% enriched housing or free-range.
Since the goal to be 100% free of traditional gestation stall housing by 2025 was made in 2016, Kraft Heinz says they will share progress in subsequent CSR reports. “We believe it’s important that pregnant sows be allowed enough space to perform natural behaviors like walking, while still working to ensure other aspects of animal well-being,” the report says. “Kraft Heinz is working with our pork suppliers to transition from traditional gestation stall housing to pregnant sow housing alternatives.”
Kraft Heinz is working with suppliers and the industry at large on broiler chicken welfare. By 2024, the goal is to provide birds with more space to perform natural behaviors, including a stocking density no greater than 6 pounds per square foot, the company says. It’s going to take time and resources, though. “We recognize the complexity of this undertaking and look forward to collaborating with our suppliers, the food industry and other stakeholders to advance these ambitious goals,” the report says.
Globally, the demand for palm oil has more than doubled in the last decade, the company notes. At the same time, palm oil production poses numerous risks: deforestation, loss of diversity, and social issues like forced and child labor as well as human trafficking.
Kraft Heinz is a member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and has started collaborating with the Rainforest Alliance to work on a sustainable palm oil sourcing policy. As of August, 100% of the company’s directly purchased volumes of palm oil are certified sustainable via the RSPO and 90.24% is traceable to the mill of origin.
A PDF of the full CSR report is available here. The company says it expects to deliver a CSR report biennially.
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