ConAgra Foods believes that climate change is one of the most significant environmental challenges facing this generation.
Our Climate Change Strategy
Though much uncertainty exists regarding the timing and magnitude of potential physical and regulatory impacts associated with climate change, it is important to mitigate these risks by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and other air pollutants through improved energy efficiency. For this reason, we are committed to reducing our greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent per pound of product produced by 2015.
We also believe that sustainable process and product innovation plays an important part in decreasing the greenhouse gas intensity of our products and value chain. And, to further improve our climate resiliency, we must also consider leading indicators of climate change—such as potential impacts to water resources—and integrate these into our overall sustainability strategy.
Greenhouse Gas Management Program
Over the past three years, we have developed a robust greenhouse gas management program centered on tracking facility-specific emissions to enable strategic decisions regarding reduction strategies. To provide a greater level of transparency and leverage recognized programs for measuring and communicating our progress, we participate in a variety of national voluntary programs, including: the Carbon Disclosure Project, U.S. EPA’s Energy Star Program and U.S. Climate Partnership Association.
Our Carbon Footprint
In fiscal year 2010, our Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions were just under two million metric tonnes, with over 95 percent resulting from natural gas and electricity use. Our carbon intensity—or metric tonnes of carbon per ton of finished product produced—fell by approximately two percent since fiscal year 2008. We produce about 4.6 tons of finished goods for every metric tonne of greenhouse gases emitted.
Energy use—specifically natural gas and electricity use—are leading indicators of ConAgra Foods carbon footprint. Therefore, we track these metrics at the facility level on a monthly basis to monitor progress toward our greenhouse gas reduction goal. Between fiscal years 2008 and 2010, we reduced our absolute electricity and natural gas use by 2.6 and 8.4 percent, respectively.
Transportation and Logistics
Farm-to-fork transportation of raw materials, ingredients and finished products contributes to the total carbon footprint of our products; therefore, we are working aggressively with our transportation business partners, distributors and customers to improve transportation efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
How Sweet It Is: Lamb Weston Sweet Potato Facility LEEDs the Way
In August 2009, ConAgra Foods Lamb Weston announced construction of the first, large-scale processing facility in the world dedicated to high-quality, frozen sweet potato products. From the ground up, the facility will incorporate the most current environmentally friendly processing and packaging technologies specific to sweet potatoes.
ConAgra Mills Reduces Greenhouse Gas Emissions Through Integrated Pest Management
ConAgra Mills initiated an industry-leading program to eliminate the use of methyl bromide—a potent greenhouse gas and ozone-depleting substance—commonly used in the milling industry as a broad spectrum gas fumigant. Over a two year period, ConAgra Mills eliminated the use of methyl bromide by implementing a comprehensive Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program.
Setting New Standards in Energy Efficiency
ConAgra Foods Lamb Weston worked with the Environmental Protection Agency Energy Star program to help develop an Energy Performance Indicator tool specific to the Frozen Prepared Potato processing industry. The tool can be used to identify factors that affect energy use in the manufacturing process and benchmark energy performance against similar facilities. Lamb Weston’s facility in Quincy, Wash., was among the first in the industry to earn an Energy Star award for ranking in the top quartile for energy performance.
A Hot Idea: Cold Blend Mashed Potatoes
Our Marie Callender mashed potatoes have historically been made at 145°F and deposited on frozen food trays next to items that are already frozen. In fiscal year 2010, we optimized the ingredients in the mashed potatoes, allowing them to be blended at less than 80°F. This decreased the energy intensity of the meals by reducing natural gas usage by nearly 2,000 dekatherms and electricity usage by 225,000 kWh each year, equal to about 300 metric tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. As an added benefit, with reduced heat required to process the cold blend mashed potatoes, the surface temperature of the kettles and dispensers were significantly reduced, minimizing burn risk and improving employee safety.