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ConAgra Foods Program Conserves Nearly 650 Million Gallons Of Water, Eliminates 3 Million Pounds Of Packaging Material And Reduces Carbon Emissions

Stocks in this article: CAG

ConAgra Foods, Inc., (NYSE: CAG) announced today the winners of its 2013 Sustainable Development Awards, an internal awards program that drives and rewards innovative approaches to sustainability and produces tangible business results. The 90 entries collectively:

  • reduced carbon emissions by more than 26,700 metric tons;
  • reduced landfill waste by 23,000 tons;
  • optimized and improved packaging while using 3 million pounds less material;
  • and conserved 646 million gallons of water.

Additionally, the projects delivered more than $22 million in savings, demonstrating the economic value of the company's commitment to sustainability.

ConAgra Foods started the Sustainable Development Awards program 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 each awarded a $5,000 grant from ConAgra Foods to apply toward a sustainable community service project.

“Employee engagement, imagination and innovation played an even bigger part in this year’s applications,” said Gail Tavill, vice president, Sustainable Development, ConAgra Foods. “It reflects an ongoing evolution of ownership and commitment at every level in the company, further integrating sustainability into how we do business every day.”

2013 Winners

Climate Change & Energy Efficiency – ConAgra Foods’ popcorn facility in Rensselaer, Ind.

  • The facility’s newly formed Energy Use Reduction team improved efficiency through simple, low-cost changes fueled by employee engagement resulting in action.
  • The team’s grassroots efforts cut electricity use by 920,647 kilowatt hours, a reduction of 12 percent per pound compared to the prior year.

Water Resources: Conservation & Wastewater Management – ConAgra Foods’ Wesson Oil facility in Memphis, Tenn.

  • Empowered by meaningful metrics that engaged all employees in conservation efforts, employees identified a flood of capital and procedural opportunities to reduce water use.
  • These employee-driven projects reduced the plant’s water use by 169 million gallons annually.

Solid Waste Reduction & Recycling – ConAgra Foods’ Helm, Calif., tomato fresh-pack facility

  • Helm utilized a new technology to further separate seeds and vines from the rest of the tomato, increasing yield and product quality.
  • This process recovered more tomato fiber for use in paste and reduced waste generated at the plant by 20 percent.

Sustainable Business Innovation – ConAgra Foods’ Research, Quality & Innovation team in Omaha, Neb., and ConAgra Mills’ flour mill in Oakland, Calif.

  • ConAgra Foods’ Research, Quality & Innovation team improved the design of sauces for frozen meals; reducing complexity and simplifying ingredients. These changes significantly reduced inbound transportation and handling of ingredients and also resulted in a product quality improvement that reduced customer complaints by 23 percent.
  • ConAgra Mills piloted an innovative plastic flour bag at the Oakland, Calif., flour mill, reducing materials and damage, improving pallets, and providing other customer benefits in a product category that has experienced relatively little change in packaging over time. The project optimized packaging material use by 417,000 pounds.

Award of Excellence – ConAgra Foods Lamb Weston Agricultural Services team in Kennewick, Wash.

  • The Agricultural Services team is leading the company—and the industry—in collaborating with potato growers on sustainable agriculture. A new practice-based assessment provides meaningful performance insight and actionable feedback for growers.
  • All of Lamb Weston’s white potato growers participated in the program in 2012, accounting for over 150,000 acres.

ABOUT CONAGRA FOODSConAgra Foods, Inc., (NYSE: CAG) is one of North America's largest packaged food companies. Its balanced portfolio includes consumer brands found in 97 percent of America’s households, the largest private brand packaged food business in North America, and a strong commercial and foodservice business. Consumers can find recognized brands such as Banquet®, Chef Boyardee®, Egg Beaters®, Healthy Choice®, Hebrew National®, Hunt's®, Marie Callender's®, Orville Redenbacher's® popcorn, PAM®, Peter Pan®, Reddi-wip®, Slim Jim® beef jerky, Snack Pack® and many other ConAgra Foods brands, plus food sold under private brand labels, in grocery, convenience, mass merchandise, club stores and drugstores. ConAgra Foods also has a strong commercial foods presence, supplying frozen potato and sweet potato products as well as other vegetable, spice, bakery and grain products to a variety of well-known restaurants, foodservice operators and commercial customers. ConAgra Foods operates ReadySetEat.com, an interactive recipe website that provides consumers with dinner ideas and more. For more information, please visit us at www.conagrafoods.com.

Copyright Business Wire 2010

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