Pig huts - aerial

Source: Pilgrim’s UK 

The processor cited the use of regenerative farming techniques as a key driver in the cut in emissions

Pilgrim’s UK has accelerated its progress towards becoming a net zero business by slashing Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 62.5% since 2019.

The pork and lamb giant’s new Sustainability Strategy Progress Report, published this week, also revealed an 11% reduction against its 2019 baseline across Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions.

Pilgrim’s cited the use of regenerative practices where it used livestock to regenerate soil as a key driver of its progress to becoming a net zero operation by 2035.

This, coupled with its low GHG diet formulations, meant its pork farm footprint was 2.53kg CO2e/kg liveweight, compared to the 4.68kg UK average.

Other targets set by the processor include using 100% recyclable or reusable packaging by 2025.

The JBS-owned business has also pledged to source deforestation-risk commodities from verified deforestation and conversion-free areas by 2025, and to achieve a 50% reduction in water intensity by 2030.

Pilgrim’s is also working to reduce soya inclusion in pig diets by 5% by 2035 and already sources 100% renewable electricity, sources cardboard from sustainable sources, and uses plastic made from at least 30% recycled plastic in its packaging.

“As Britain’s number one higher welfare pork producer and a leading processor of pork and lamb products, as well as being part of the world’s largest food company, we have an important part to play in helping the UK’s transition to net zero,” said Pilgrim’s UK president Ivan Siqueira.

“We’re laser-focused on delivering our Pilgrim’s UK 2030 sustainability strategy, which is underpinned by a robust investment programme. While we’re proud of the progress we’ve made so far, we’ll never stop working to deliver our goal of being the most sustainable producer and supplier in the industry.”

Matt Dight, head of sustainability at Pilgrim’s UK, said the company’s strategy was “to go beyond basic industry standards while continuing to innovate to bring high-quality, affordable food to supermarket shelves and foodservice outlets across the country”.

He added: “To do that, it’s important we hold ourselves to account, and while our 2022 sustainability report may be the first step in our reporting journey, we’re always looking to improve and go further.

“Over the past 12 months, the business’ activity has been underpinned by a commitment to spending £10m of its capital expenditure to implement a series of process innovations and operational improvements at its manufacturing and processing sites. Its sites are centres of operational excellence and deploy techniques to uphold this status, which has helped to reduce its overall GHG emissions to date thanks to lean manufacturing processes.”