The Food Journal and Food, Nutrition & Science

An alliance between The Lempert Report and The Center for Food Integrity

Sustainability Series: Heinz

Sustainability Series: Heinz

Sustainability

February 27, 2011

Founded in Sharpsburg, Pennsylvania in 1869 by entrepreneur Henry John Heinz, Heinz is now a $10.5 billion global company that employs approximately 32,500 people around the globe. Heinz sells 650 million bottles of its iconic ketchup every year. Other key company brands in North America include Ore-Ida, Classico, Smart Ones and Bagel Bites. We talked to Brian Shuttleworth, Director of Operational Risk Management and Sustainability, about how Heinz is proving that smart business is compatible with environmental stewardship.

How does your business define sustainability?

At Heinz, sustainability means that our company is dedicated to protecting the health of people and the planet while driving sustainable growth that enhances shareholder value. 

As a responsible corporate citizen for 142 years, Heinz has a proud history of making a positive social and economic impact in the community while pursuing sustainable business practices, guided by the principles of integrity, transparency and social responsibility.

Today, Heinz’s growing commitment to sustainability reflects the visionary leadership of Chairman, President and CEO William R. Johnson, who has launched the Company’s Global Sustainability Initiative to achieve significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, solid waste, energy use and water consumption. 

How are you incorporating sustainable practices into your business?

Heinz has implemented sustainable practices across our businesses, from the field to the factory floor, to reduce our environmental footprint and protect the planet’s natural resources for future generations.

Around the world, Heinz facilities have been proactively installing new technologies and equipment and implementing innovative systems and processes to enhance their environmental performance. Heinz is investing millions of dollars to make our factories more efficient while reducing their carbon footprint and energy consumption. Heinz has also stepped up our focus on developing innovative packaging that is better for the environment, and we have also reduced the distance our products travel through transportation efficiencies.

With Heinz tomatoes accounting for more than one third of all processed tomatoes in the world, our comprehensive sustainable agricultural programs have a significant impact on the environment and our business. Through our Global Agriculture Program, including HeinzSeed, we are working successfully with processors and growers to implement sustainable agricultural practices that can improve yields while conserving water and reducing the use of fertilizers.

What are your goals?

Under our comprehensive Global Sustainability Initiative, our primary goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, solid waste, energy use and water consumption by 20% or more in each category by 2015. Heinz is on track to meet or surpass these targets. By the end of Fiscal 2009, Heinz had reduced energy and water consumption by nearly 16% and greenhouse gas emissions by more than 13%, per metric ton of production globally, versus the Fiscal Year 2005 benchmarks. Heinz also surpassed our goal for solid waste, achieving a reduction of more than 27% per 100 metric tons of production globally.

Where do you think you’ll have the biggest impact?

We are confident that Heinz’s sustainability initiatives will have a greater impact globally through a comprehensive program rather than focusing on one or two singular areas. By integrating our sustainability goals, social programs, wellness initiatives and financial growth we will have a more positive effect on people, planet, shareholders, employees, customers, suppliers and consumers.

How do you measure your progress?

Heinz’s biennial Corporate Social Responsibility Report, found at www.Heinz.com/CSR2009, details the company’s performance and progress in critically important areas ranging from corporate governance and ethics to environmental initiatives and our positive economic and social contributions.

How do retailers factor into your efforts?

A comprehensive sustainability program takes the needs of all key stakeholders into consideration – including retailers. It’s further partnership for the company as we share best practices for further efficiencies in our supply chain management and packaging reductions, among other things. 

Why are sustainable business practices important to the food industry?

Sustainable business practices are paramount at Heinz. As a leader in the packaged foods industry, we recognize the potential long-term impact that climate change could have on the environment and on our business, which revolves around agriculture and food processing. As a company dedicated to the health and wellness of consumers, sustainability is a key ingredient in our focus on manufacturing nutritious, high-quality foods that are not only better for you, but also have a reduced impact on the environment.

Why are sustainable business practices important to the consumer?

Heinz believes consumers are becoming increasingly aware of sustainability. They are also asking companies to be more transparent in the way they report the nutritional value of their products.  

Heinz has been working to achieve transparency and sustainability ever since our founder, H.J. Heinz, sold horseradish, his first product, in clear glass bottles so consumers could see its wholesome purity. Those values resonate today as we continue to meet consumer needs through healthy, high-quality products that demonstrate great environmental stewardship. 


In upcoming issues, we will feature interviews with food companies that are making strides in their sustainability efforts. If you are interested in telling us more about what your company is doing to get involved please contact Allison Bloom atallison@foodnutritionscience.com.