Tyson Foods water conservation
Tyson has set a 12% water reduction goal by the end of 2020.

SPRINGDALE, ARK. — Tyson Foods’ touted its ongoing efforts toward expanding water conservation in the third segment of its sustainability report, which covers information on the company’s environmental stewardship.

Christine Daughtery, Tyson Foods
Christine Daugherty, v.p. of sustainable food production for Tyson

“We’re setting a 12% 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 Christine Daugherty, vice-president of sustainable food production for Tyson. “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.”

Tyson will begin to install new measuring and monitoring equipment at U.S. plant locations that will enable better water use management in real-time. The company’s goal is to reduce the amount of water used to produce each pound of finished product, a common metric in food production, by 12% compared to 2015.

Leigh Ann Johnston, Tyson Foods
Leigh Ann Johnston, Tyson’s director of sustainability

“We’ve been testing the continuous monitoring approach at one of our poultry plants in Tennessee since February 2014,” said Leigh Ann Johnston, Tyson’s 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.”

During testing, the Tennessee plant saw a reduction of 9% in water used, an amount the Environmental Protection Agency said would supply more than 360 families of four with water for one year.

Tyson treats and returns a majority of the water used in direct operations to the environment. The company already uses reclamation systems to conserve water and its usage is disclosed in its sustainability report. Starting this year, it also will disclose to the 2016 CDP Water Questionnaire (Carbon Disclosure Project).

“We see CDP as a credible and reliable organization that will make our efforts to responsibly manage water even more transparent,” Dr. Daugherty said.

In April, segments of the sustainability report released will cover the topics of product development and workforce. Previous segments covered animal well-being and corporate social responsibility.

“Environmental stewardship, just like animal well-being and corporate social responsibility, is a large part of responsible, sustainable food production,” Ms. Johnston said. “We have to make sure our standards are high, not just because it’s good for our stakeholders and the company, but because it’s the right thing to do.”