Tyson Foods officials announced today that the company will be expanding their ongoing water conservation efforts. The announcement accompanies the release of the third installment of the company’s 2015 Sustainability Report, which includes information about its environmental stewardship.
“We’re setting a 12 percent water reduction goal by the end of 2020 for our direct operations and will talk with our supply chain, such as the independent farmers who grow animals for our company, about additional efforts they can make to conserve water,” said Dr. Christine Daugherty, vice president of sustainable food production. “Water conservation has been an important area of focus for Tyson Foods for many years. Water is a precious, finite resource and we need to manage it responsibly from farm to finished product.”
The company will begin installing new measuring and continuous monitoring equipment at its U.S. plant locations this spring. The equipment will enable personnel to better manage water use in real-time. The amount of water used per pound of finished product is a common metric in food production, and Tyson Foods’ goal is to reduce the amount of water used to produce each pound by 12 percent, using data from 2015 as the baseline year.
“We’ve been testing the continuous monitoring approach at one of our poultry plants in Tennessee since February 2014,” said Leigh Ann Johnston, director of sustainability. “We discovered when managers had real-time insight into how water was being used they were quickly able to improve conservation by taking corrective action.”
The facility had a 9 percent reduction in water used during the pilot run, and according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), this improvement would supply more than 360 families of four with water for one year.
Tyson Foods already uses technology and reclamation systems to conserve water, and the majority of water the company uses in its direct operations is treated and returned to the environment. Water usage is disclosed in its annual Sustainability Report, and beginning with its calendar year 2016, Tyson Foods also will disclose to the 2016 CDP Water Questionnaire.
Earlier this month, Tyson Foods released Sustainability Report segments on animal well-being and corporate social responsibility. Segments to be released in April will cover product development and workforce. Each segment highlights the company’s performance in an open and understandable way, which reflects its commitment to share successes and challenges in a meaningful and relevant manner.