At Perdue Farms, our Vision is “to be the most trusted name in food and agricultural products.®” Our value of Stewardship guides our commitment to be good stewards of the environment. It’s the right thing to do, and it is what all our associates strive to do every day.
Collectively, our values fueled the creation of the aggressive five-year environmental sustainability goals we announced in 2018 to reduce greenhouse gases, water use and solid waste sent to landfills by 2022, which included having five facilities Zero Waste certified.
When we announced these big, audacious goals it was with the intention to be public and transparent about our successes and report on opportunities for improvement and to also hold ourselves accountable where needed. We also know that transparency is the best way to build trust, a central tenant of our vision.
In 2019, we had some achievements that kept us moving forward toward reaching our 2022 sustainability goals, but we also took a few steps back in some areas.
We became the first poultry company in the United States to achieve GreenCircle Zero Waste to Landfill certification, which helped us improve our waste to landfill efforts and increased our waste diversion from landfill numbers by half a percent. Achieving this certification at our Lewiston, N.C. harvest operation, one of our largest operations, is a tribute to our associates at that plant and their execution of our stewardship value. We’ll use this success as a model for expanding our Zero Waste efforts across other operations.
Our setbacks include our carbon footprint intensity going up 2.9 percent compared to our baseline year, as well as our water usage intensity going up 2.5 percent from our baseline year.
Continuing our legacy of innovation and developing partnerships to create transformative change in food and agriculture, we announced our founding membership in the Penn State Smeal Center for the Business of Sustainability. The partnership allows us to tap into the strengths of a renowned business school, utilize their world-class research and draw on the university’s legacy as an agriculture-based land grant institution to help inform some of our environmental innovations to create a more sustainable future.
As we ended our fiscal year in March, the COVID-19 pandemic was beginning to have a dramatic impact on life and business as we knew it. America’s food suppliers and food industry workers were deemed critical to keeping the country fed. And the poultry industry, along with other agriculture-based industries, were just beginning to see disruptions in the supply chain. It’s far too soon to know what the impacts will be in the long-term as it relates to sustainability, but in the short-term we will adapt and keep moving forward as best we can.
Perdue Farms has nearly a century-long track record of stewardship and responsible management of our resources. Guided by our legacy and values, we will continue working hard in our pursuit to protect the environment.