Heinz pledges to reduce emissions by 20%

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 6th June 2008

The H. J. Heinz Company has vowed to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent by 2015.

The effort is part of Heinz’s sustainability vision as they seek to be a leader in this field. “From using potato peels to generate energy, to reducing the amount and size of our packaging, every day we’re finding new ways to reduce our environmental footprint and improve the efficiency of our company,” said Heinz CEO Bill Johnson. “Everyone in the Heinz community is involved in this sustainability effort – from our employees to many of our largest customers and suppliers.”

The commitment by Heinz will focus on a concerted effort in eight different areas of their business:

– Energy consumption: 20% reduction through improved operational efficiency.
– Packaging: 15% reduction by the introduction of alternative packaging materials and reduction of existing packaging use.
– Transportation: 10% reduction through improved efficiency of distribution network.
– Renewable energy: 15% to come from renewable sources, including solar, biomass and bio-gas.
– Agriculture: 15% reduction of carbon footprint, 15% reduction of water usage, improvement of yields by 5% through use of hybrid tomato seeds that require less water, fertilizer, pesticides and fuel to harvest.
– Water: 20% reduction through reuse and improved sanitation techniques.
– Solid Waste: 20% reduction through increased recycling and reuse of waste.
– Employees: Increase employee engagement through a voluntary personal sustainability campaign.

Heinz is reportedly undertaking a variety of different initiatives to achieve each of these targets including:

Using potato peels to generate energy and save water: Heinz, at their facility in Oregon, is in planning to convert potato peels into bio-fuel, which will then be distributed to a central natural gas pipeline for sale and distribution. The project is expected to generate enough energy to heat 4,000 Oregon homes for a winter. The project is also slated to treat and recycle 90% of the water used for daily potato production. This is expected to save one billion gallons of water per year, or enough to supply 11,000 Oregon homes with water for a year.

Conserving fuel globally: Improving the efficiency of the Company’s distribution network through fuller truckloads with more direct routes and shifts to rail will save more than 2 million gallons of fuel globally.

‘Green’ tomatoes: Heinz is expanding its growing regions into China, Egypt, and Eastern Europe, providing more local sources of tomatoes and lessening the need to transport tomato paste around the world.

Reducing waste through recycling: In Ohio, Heinz is on track to reduce solid waste – which would normally end up in a landfill – by 10%. In Dundalk, Ireland, the Heinz facility is already recycling 95% of the plastic and 99% of the cardboard, wood and steel it uses.

The focus of Heinz on sustainability is in-line with a growing global trend for large corporations to be more environmentally responsible, as fears about global warming have led to sustainable shopping becoming an emerging desire of consumers.