In its first-ever corporate social responsibility report, ConAgra exhibits its efforts towards sustainability in the supply chain, climate change and “lean manufacturing” processes.
ConAgra, whose brands include Healthy Choice, Chef Boyardee and Hunt’s, says it followed Global Reporting Initiative standards in its report (PDF), which was released in late March.
In the environment, ConAgra’s efforts include packaging, product and supply chain improvements. The Hunt’s ketchup bottle has a more environmentally friendly packaging design than in the past, and the company’s frozen food trays are the first in North America to use post-consumer recycled material, which should help eliminate eight million pounds of landfill waste a year.
ConAgra conducted a baseline GHG emissions inventory in fiscal year 2007. The company’s carbon footprint in fiscal year 2008 (June 2007 – July 2008) was 2 million metric tons, as measured according to the WRI GHG Protocol and Environmental Protection Agency’s Emissions & Generation Resource Integrated Database (eGRID) model.
About 57 percent of ConAgra’s emissions were from Scope 1, or direct, sources, including on-site fuel use, fugitive process emissions and the transportation fleet. The remaining 43 percent of emissions were from purchased electricity (Scope 2).
ConAgra says that over the next 18 months it will begin taking into account Scope 3 emissions associated with the supply chain, product retail distribution and consumer use.
When it comes to product distribution, ConAgra points to two innovations:
- The “CargoQuilt,” which is used by the Lamb Weston frozen potato segment, reduces carbon dioxide use. The commercial blankets keep products cool during interplant truck transfers. According to the report, the use of 18 CargoQuilts slashed carbon emissions by more than 2,500 metric tons a year.
- By assessing product packaging size, shape and orientation, the “Perfect Pallet” initiative allows ConAgra to use fewer pallets and stretch wrap. The company says it also decreases the use of forklifts and improves loading and transportation efficiency. The initiative has resulted in reduced solid waste and fewer GHG emissions. By removing a half-inch from the height of Orville Redenbacher’s and Act II popcorn, the company gained 25 percent in pallet efficiency, a move that reduced Scope 3 carbon dioxide emissions by more than two million pounds.
Additionally, the company recently has adopted a 50 percent post-industrial recycled Polylactic Acid (PLA) shrink film.