At Hormel Foods, the production and transportation of consumer goods impacts the environment by consuming energy and water and producing air emissions and waste materials. In more than 40 countries, our products make their way to stores and restaurants by rail, truck and ship. After products are purchased, their protective packaging is discarded or recycled by consumers. We understand and accept the responsibility to minimize our impact on the environment, and our overarching goal is to minimize environmental impacts by reducing air emissions, energy use, water consumption and solid waste generation.

To help achieve this goal, we invest in our facilities and establish specific metrics to improve the efficiency of our operations. In 2011, we invested more than $3.5 million in environmental and facility improvements. For our environmental data, we report the information by normalizing thousand pounds of production of finished goods shipped from each location in which we are gathering environmental data. Normalization helps account for variations in size and production at different facilities, and it provides an accurate picture of our performance against our goals in a year-over-year comparison.

Hormel Foods has been recognized by independent sources for our environmental improvement efforts, including:

  • The Governor’s Iowa Environmental Excellence Award for Burke Corporation in Nevada, IA.
  • AMI Environmental Achievement Award and Alliant Energy’s Excellence in Energy Efficiency Award for our Progressive Processing (Dubuque, IA) facility in 2011.
  • AMI Environmental Recognition Awards at 25 company locations.
  • Environmental Facility of the Year and Outstanding Accomplishment in Constant Compliance 2010, both issued by the city of Beloit, WI, in 2011 for our Beloit Plant.
  • Recognition for recycling efforts in 2011 from Ogle County, IL, for our Rochelle Foods facility.

Read our environmental sustainability policy for more information about the commitment our company has made toward environmental sustainability objectives.

Topics in this section include:

Environmental Management System

We use a web-based Environmental Management System throughout the company to track and monitor our progress toward meeting environmental requirements. This system includes compliance calendars, environmental policy and program information, training materials, and formal environmental internal auditing protocols.

Knowledge-Sharing and Training

At Hormel Foods, we aim to continually improve our practices in order to achieve our environmental goals, and this includes enhanced information sharing. For example, we hold monthly conference calls with plant engineering and environmental staff in order to facilitate ongoing conversations about environmental compliance and sustainability issues. We hold a biennial companywide environmental conference to discuss environmental improvement projects and encourage knowledge-sharing among environmental representatives throughout the company. In addition, we require annual environmental training that covers key program areas, such as storm water, wastewater and the proper handling and transportation of waste materials.

Hazardous Waste

Certain Hormel Foods operations generate low volumes of regulated hazardous waste. Most of our locations are well within the federal definition of a Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Generator, generating 100 kilograms or less of hazardous waste per month. All Hormel Foods and subsidiary locations adhere to strict operational standards that have been designed to ensure compliance with all applicable hazardous waste rules. Our operations also generate small quantities of other regulated substances, such as used oil and universal waste. As with the generation of hazardous waste, we follow strict standards for handling these substances to ensure compliance with regulatory standards.


We are committed to striving for continuous compliance with local ordinances and state and federal laws at all times. During fiscal year 2011, we did not receive a Notice of Violation (NOV) at the state or federal level. When compliance issues arise, we work cooperatively with regulators to ensure prompt resolution of all environmental matters.

Internal Recognition

To recognize new thinking and encourage projects that drive resource efficiency, we established the Environmental Sustainability Best of the Best annual competition in 2008. This program is designed to reward and recognize teams that have identified areas for improvement and implemented changes that make a measurable difference in the reduction of the company’s environmental impact and help Hormel Foods achieve its environmental goals. In 2011, the competition generated entries throughout all business segments. Read more about the winning projects.