ConAgra Foods Inc. announced the winners of its 2012 Sustainable Development Awards, an internal awards program intended to drive and reward innovative approaches to sustainability that produce tangible business results. The more than 100 entries collectively:

  • reduced carbon emissions by more than 43,600 metric tonnes;

  • eliminated 61,000 tons of landfill waste and 4,800 tons of packaging material;

  • and conserved 295 million gallons of water.

Additionally, the projects delivered more than $28 million in savings, demonstrating the economic value of the company's commitment to sustainable development.

ConAgra Foods started the Sustainable Development Awards in 1992 to encourage and incentivize employees to proactively look for ways to eliminate waste, reduce energy and conserve water through smart design. Winning teams are awarded a $5,000 grant from ConAgra Foods to apply toward a sustainable community service project.

“The evolution of this annual awards program has been very exciting,” said Gail Tavill, vice president of Sustainable Development at ConAgra Foods. “ConAgra Foods employees and leaders are collaborating to create innovative ideas that reduce the environmental impacts of doing business and really drive results.”

2012 Winners

Climate Change & Energy Efficiency – ConAgra Foods Lamb Weston plants in Boardman and Paterson, Wash.

  • The facilities leveraged external assistance through their local utilities’ Track & Tune program to optimize efficiency and track reductions.

  • More than 20 projects contributed to energy savings of 8.1 million kilowatt hours, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by over 1,700 metric tonnes.

Water Resources - Conservation & Wastewater Management – ConAgra Foods Lamb Weston plant in Hermiston, Ore.

  • The core-focused improvement team undertook comprehensive review of all plant water systems and piping.

  • A new cost-effective plan reduced daily water usage by 24 percent.

Solid Waste Reduction & Recycling – ConAgra Foods’ Marshall, Mo., plant

  • Plant leaders worked with Quality Assurance to determine that excess flour used to prevent dough from sticking to rollers could be repurposed.

  • The new process will save 96.2 tons of safe flour from heading to a landfill annually.

Sustainable Packaging, Product & Process Innovation – ConAgra Foods Packaging Development

  • The Packaging Development team redesigned and converted PAM® cooking spray and Reddi-wip® dessert toppings cans from traditional three-piece cans to new, innovative two-piece cans.

  • The new cans reduced average package weight by 10 percent. That amounts to more than 5 million pounds of packaging saved per year.

Sustainable Business Practices – ConAgra Foods’ temperature controlled facility in St. Louis

  • Employees decreased yield loss by 59 percent, which means that 55 fewer truckloads of raw eggs are needed to produce the same amount of finished product.

  • Additionally, process improvements resulted in a water use reduction of 1.6 million gallons per year and a 67 percent reduction in Biological Oxygen Demand.

Award of Excellence – ConAgra Foods' snacks facility in Marion, Ohio

  • The plant’s “Green Team” conserved energy by making cost-efficient changes in four areas: line shutdown, temperature controls, Autonomous Maintenance Development and air loss controls.

  • Marion employees eliminated 3.6 million kilowatt hours of electricity and 2,600 metric tonnes of greenhouse gasses per year.

Source: ConAgra Foods Inc.