CHICAGO, June 2, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- In celebration of World Environment Day on June 5, Conagra Brands (NYSE: CAG) announced today the winners of its annual Sustainable Development Awards, an employee-led program that encourages the development and implementation of innovative ideas related to sustainable production and business practices. This year, employees from across the organization submitted more than 200 sustainability-focused projects that conserve water, reduce waste and save energy, underscoring Conagra's commitment to nourishing and restoring the planet.
Now in its 12th consecutive year, the 2021 Sustainable Development Awards projects generated the following results on an annual basis:
Decreased the company's carbon footprint by 90,100 metric tons, equivalent to avoiding the greenhouse gas emissions of driving a vehicle 226 million miles1
Conserved 64 million gallons of water, equivalent to eliminating the filling of 97 Olympic-size swimming pools2
Reduced waste by 12,300 tons, equivalent to saving the weight of 54 Statues of Liberty3
Minimized material use by 17.6 million pounds, equivalent to saving the weight of 39 Statues of Liberty4
Sustainability initiatives are submitted by cross-functional employee project teams across seven categories: Sustainable Brands, Waste Reduction & Recycling, Water Conservation, Climate Change & Energy Efficiency, Sustainable Operations, and an overall Award of Excellence and People's Choice Award. All submissions are judged by a panel of company sustainability leaders and winners are selected by employee peers.
"Conagra's Sustainable Development Awards recognize our employees' creative solutions in building sustainable production and business practices," said Sean Connolly, president and chief executive officer, Conagra Brands. "These projects reflect our employees' dedication to nourishing people, the planet and communities by meeting environmental challenges head-on. Congratulations to all of the teams who displayed innovative thinking, executed with excellence, and submitted projects for this year's awards."
Award-winning employee teams help direct a total of $30,000 in grants from Conagra Brands to local sustainability-focused public service projects.
Conagra Brands' 2021 Sustainable Development Award winners are:
Sustainable Brands: Birds Eye Packaging: Chicago and Omaha, Neb.
Through innovation in packaging design, the team reduced the amount of plastic used in Birds Eye SteamFresh bags, avoiding use of 130,000 lbs. of plastic a year and saving $1.3 million in costs. Using less plastic drove a carbon footprint reduction equal to planting nearly 3,000 trees.5
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Waste Reduction & Recycling: Imlay City, Mich.
At Conagra's Vlasic pickle facility in Imlay City, the team eliminated 300 tons of waste by addressing glass jar losses by enhancing process settings, reducing bottle breakage by 35%.
Water Conservation: Macon, Mo.
Conagra's Macon team saved 9.9 million gallons of water from projects identified through monitoring, awareness, and daily management practices, such as optimizing the water pressure in an automated sanitation system, impacting 9% of total facility water use.
Climate Change & Energy Efficiency: Menomonie, Wis.
At our Menomonie facility, the team developed a comprehensive air and steam leak detection program, which allows the site to proactively maintain these leaks while equipment is running. The new program saved 366,800 kilowatt-hours of electricity and 208 tonnes of carbon dioxide.
Sustainable Operations: Beaver Dam, Wis.
The Beaver Dam team identified an opportunity to upcycle unused green beans to be repurposed in another vegetable product. The project has eliminated 438 tons of food waste, which is over 50% of the facility's total waste.
People's Choice Award: Milton, Pa.
The Milton facility identified an opportunity to reduce natural gas and water use by installing a new heat exchanger, which heats the building. The new heat exchanger saved 14,000 dekatherms of natural gas, 744 tonnes of carbon dioxide, and 9 million gallons of water.
Award of Excellence: Oakdale, Calif.
At our Oakdale facility, maker of Hunt's tomato products, the team implemented an industry-leading tomato sorting technology that redirected leftover ingredients to other products to reduce waste. The project resulted in a reduction of 8,500 dekatherms of natural gas, 449 tonnes of carbon dioxide, and 33 million gallons of water annually, generating $550,000 in cost savings.
1 According to the U.S. EPA Greenhouse Gas Equivalency Calculator, 2,700 metric tons of CO2 is equivalent to greenhouse gas emissions from 6,785,634 miles driven in an average passenger vehicle.
2 According to FINA (International Swimming Federation) facilities rules.
3 According to The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation (SOLEIF) statue facts.
4 According to The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation (SOLEIF) statue facts.
5 According to the U.S. EPA Greenhouse Gas Equivalency Calculator, 176 metric tons of CO2 is equivalent to greenhouse gas emissions from 2,910 tree seedlings grown for 10 years.
About Conagra Brands
Conagra Brands, Inc. (NYSE: CAG), headquartered in Chicago, is one of North America's leading branded food companies. Guided by an entrepreneurial spirit, Conagra Brands combines a rich heritage of making great food with a sharpened focus on innovation. The company's portfolio is evolving to satisfy people's changing food preferences. Conagra's iconic brands, such as Birds Eye®, Duncan Hines®, Healthy Choice®, Marie Callender's®, Reddi-wip®, and Slim Jim®, as well as emerging brands, including Angie's® BOOMCHICKAPOP®, Duke's®, Earth Balance®, Gardein®, and Frontera®, offer choices for every occasion. For more information, visit www.ConagraBrands.com.
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