Smithfield Foods will be joining the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX), the world’s first and North America’s only voluntary, legally binding greenhouse gas emissions reduction, registry and trading program. By joining CCX, Smithfield Foods has committed to cut its greenhouse gas emissions in the United States by a minimum of 6 percent in absolute terms by 2010.

“Our company, our customers and the general public already are reaping significant results from Smithfield Foods’ innovative approaches to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and lessening our dependence on fossil fuels, but there is much more that we can accomplish,” says Dennis Treacy, vice president of environmental and corporate affairs at Smithfield Foods. “Our commitment to CCX provides us with a tremendous opportunity to have a long-lasting, positive impact on the environment by further reducing our environmental footprint.”

"As a leader in the food-processing industry, Smithfield Foods faces multiple challenges from climate change.  Its membership in CCX will help the company strategically for maximum cost-benefit and environmental stewardship,” says Richard Sandor, CCX chairman.

Playing a significant role in all of this is Smithfield BioEnergy, which researches, creates and implements bioenergy projects on behalf of Smithfield Foods and its independent operating companies. Smithfield Foods also has established a bioenergy task force headed by Treacy and Anderson.

Smithfield Foods and its operating companies are taking wastewater and manure from their pork production facilities and, through the anaerobic digestion process, are capturing methane from the resulting biogas. The methane is then used to supply heat for the company’s facilities and processing operations.

Some of Smithfield’s biogas-to-energy projects include:

  • In North Carolina, Smithfield Packing Company’s Tar Heel pork processing plant is using methane generated by its wastewater treatment system as boiler fuel.
  • The company’s John Morrell plant in Sioux Falls, S.D., also benefits from a similar system.
  • Smithfield Beef Group’s wastewater treatment facility in Plainwell, Mich., burns methane from the facility’s 10-million gallon anaerobic lagoon as a fuel source for its No. 3 boiler, rather than purchasing natural gas.
  • In addition to the biogas project that reduces Smithfield Beef Group’s dependence on natural gas at its Green Bay, Wis., facility, the plant makes biosolids available to local farmers to increase crop yields.
  • Patrick Cudahy in Cudahy, Wis., and Moyer Packing Co. in Souderton, Pa., have the capability to use animal fats and oils as a renewable fuel for their operations.

As a result of various energy conservation projects at a number of Smithfield Foods companies across the nation, Smithfield estimates that in 2006 it saved 54.7 million cubic feet of natural gas, 5.7 million kilowatt hours of electricity and 4.8 million gallons of diesel fuel.

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Source: Smithfield Foods