Smithfield Foods sees 80% of its grain supply chain partners achieve greater sustainability
The world’s largest pork processor and hog producer, valued at U$15bn, has achieved an industry-leading recognition for its sustainable farming practices within its supply chain.
Smithfield Foods announced in a statement this week that it had engaged 80% of its grain supply chain in farming practices that are sustainable and reduce the cost of production for grain farmers. The company had announced an initial goal of engaging 75% of its grain supply chain and in 2018 Smithfield announced that it would purchase grain from producers using efficient fertiliser and soil health methods across nearly 560,000 acres of land.
Smithfield is working towards an ambitious goal of reducing its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 25% by 2025 throughout its entire supply chain in a move that has been described as the “first commitment of its kind” from a protein company.
“This accomplishment is a significant milestone in our company’s holistic approach to reducing carbon emissions across our entire supply chain,” said Kenneth M. Sullivan, president and chief executive officer for Smithfield Foods. “It is important to note that it would not have been possible without the unified efforts of grain farmers, our company, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), and other collaborative partners. This is an important achievement for everyone involved and for our environment.”
The company has been working with EDF to better understand how farmers can optimise fertiliser use and improve soil health through the Smithfield Agronomics programme – SmithfieldGro. SmitfieldGro provides on-staff agronomists who demonstrate strategies and provide free agronomic advice to enable farmers to incorporate more efficient fertiliser practices, access to reduced-price tools and programs that assist farmers in improving fertiliser usage, crop production, water quality, and soil health and economic incentives to diversify crop production and create a market for winter wheat cover crops.
5 minutes with: Ivalua’s Sundar Kamak
Who are you?
My name is Sundar Kamak, I’m Head of Manufacturing Solutions at Ivalua. I’ve been with the company for around two years now, and I’m responsible for our industry solutions and our pre-sales team. Before joining Ivalua I spent almost 20 years in the source-to-pay procurement space, working for a number of providers. But I got my career started in manufacturing and supply chain, specifically in automotive and aerospace.
And what is currently taking up the majority of your professional time?
The last year I've been focused in helping organisations put together a digital transformation strategy, especially manufacturing companies, so they can continue to address some of the challenges they face due to the COVID pandemic.
The traditional approach of engineers designing their latest product then procurement going off to source no longer works
What are the biggest challenges facing your corner of supply chain?
We have a lot of clients coming from different backgrounds - aerospace, high-tech, automotive - and they’re feeling the pressure and the crunch. There’s a lack of product, lack of material availability, lack of resources, labour shortages. So, I work with the leadership in these organisations, try to understand what problems they're looking to solve and come back with Ivalua solutions that can help them address some of these challenges.
Where do the biggest opportunities lie?
If we look at manufacturing, it all comes back to procurement and supply chain being involved sooner in the process. The traditional approach of engineers designing their latest product then procurement going off to source no longer works. It’s important to treat suppliers like partners, which means you build trust, so they can participate very early on in the product design and product development process. It’s not done consistently in the manufacturing sector, but it will be key.