Smithfield Foods continues to advance carbon reduction efforts

October 09, 2020

As part of Smithfield Foods’ ongoing commitment to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 25% by 2025, the company continues to advance projects to produce clean, renewable energy on its farms and at its facilities.

As part of Smithfield Foods’ ongoing commitment to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 25 percent by 2025, the company continues to advance projects to produce clean, renewable energy on its farms and at its facilities. 

To complement the company’s existing carbon reduction goal, Smithfield Foods recently committed to becoming carbon negative in all company-owned operations in the United States by 2030 – the first major protein company to do so. The initiative, which Smithfield Foods announced will be completed without purchasing carbon credits to offset emissions, will go beyond carbon neutrality to effectively remove more carbon from the atmosphere than it emits. 

Smithfield Renewables, the company’s platform to unify and accelerate its carbon reduction and renewable energy efforts continues to spearhead these initiatives and “manure-to-energy” is a major pillar of the effort. On the farm, naturally produced methane from hog manure gathers in covered lagoons or digesters. This methane is cleaned and converted into renewable natural gas (RNG) at a central conditioning facility. Once the RNG is cleaned to meet pipeline-quality standards, it is put into existing pipelines to serve local homes and businesses.

Smithfield Foods partnered with Dominion Energy in a $500 million joint venture to form the largest RNG partnership in the United States – Align Renewable Natural Gas (RNG). When fully implemented, Align RNG’s projects will prevent more than 2.5 million metric tons of GHG emissions from entering the atmosphere each year, which is the same as planting more than 40 million new trees. 

These efforts are already seeing promising results. In 2020, Align RNG’s first project in Milford, Utah, began producing biogas. Ultimately this project will produce enough RNG to power 3,000 local homes and businesses by 2021. Based on this success, Align RNG is embarking on similar projects in North Carolina and Virginia and exploring opportunities in Arizona and California.

Smithfield Foods also formed a joint venture partnership with Roeslein Alternative Energy, called Monarch Bioenergy, to produce RNG from hog manure on its farms in Missouri. The first phases of these projects are already completed and producing biogas. When complete, nearly 100 percent of Smithfield’s hog finishing spaces in the state will have the technology to produce RNG, resulting in 1.3 million dekatherms of RNG annually which is the equivalent to eliminating 130,000 gasoline vehicles. 

To complement renewable energy efforts on its farms, Smithfield Foods is leveraging wastewater at its facility in Tar Heel, North Carolina, in partnership with Duke Energy and OptimoBio, LLC to create RNG. Completed in 2019, the project is producing RNG to power more than 2,000 homes in the surrounding area each year.

Through these initiatives and many others across its supply chain, Smithfield Foods is making progress toward its goal to reduce its GHG emissions 25 percent by 2025.

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