ConAgra nails $22m-worth of sustainability savings

By Rod Addy

- Last updated on GMT

ConAgra employees reduced annual water use for the company by 646m gallons
ConAgra employees reduced annual water use for the company by 646m gallons

Related tags Conagra foods Sustainability

ConAgra Foods saved $22m in 2012 through sustainability initiatives, such as cutting landfill waste and carbon emissions and optimising packaging.

The US-based firm announced the achievement as it revealed the winners of its internal 2013 Sustainable Development Awards, designed to reward increased efficiency and eco-friendly programmes.

The 90 entries for the competition reduced carbon emissions by more than 26,700t, reduced landfill waste by 23,000t and optimised and improved packaging while using three million pounds less material by weight. In addition, they conserved 646m gallons of water, the packaged food manufacturer reported.

Among the accomplishments reported this year, an energy use reduction team at ConAgra Foods' popcorn facility in Rensselaer, Indiana, cut annual electricity use there by 920,647 kW hrs.

Water use

At ConAgra Foods' Wesson Oil facility in Memphis, Tennessee, reduced the plant's water use by 169m gallons annually.

The company's tomato fresh-pack facility in Helm, California, used a new technology to separate seeds and vines from the rest of the tomato, increasing yield and product quality. The process recovered more tomato fibre for use in paste and reduced waste generated at the plant by 20%.

And ConAgra Mills developed an innovative plastic flour bag at its Oakland, California, flour mill, reducing materials and damage, improving pallets and providing other customer benefits, it said. The project optimised packaging weight, cutting usage by 417,000 pounds.

'Integrating sustainability'

"Employee engagement, imagination and innovation played an even bigger part in this year's applications,"​ said Gail Tavill, vice president, sustainable development, ConAgra Foods. "It reflects an ongoing evolution of ownership and commitment at every level in the company, further integrating sustainability into how we do business every day."

ConAgra Foods launched the Sustainable Development Awards Programme in 1992. Winning teams are each awarded a $5,000 grant to apply toward a sustainable community service project.

Company brands include Banquet, Chef Boyardee and Hebrew National.

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