ConAgra Foods announced the winners of its 2012 Sustainable Development Awards, an internal awards program intended to drive and reward innovative approaches to sustainability that produce tangible business results. The company received more than 100 entries, which collectively:

►Reduced carbon emissions by more than 43,600 metric tons

►Eliminated 61,000 tons of landfill waste and 4,800 tons of packaging material

►Conserved more than 295 million gallons of water.

While these projects are good for the planet, they also brought more than $28 million in returns, demonstrating the economic value of sustainable development.

The 2012 winners included the following categories:

►ConAgra Lamb Weston plants in Boardman and Patterson, WA won Climate Change and Energy Efficiency. More than 20 projects reduced energy usage by 8.1 million kilowatt-hours, reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by more than 1,700 metric tons.

►The ConAgra Foods Lamb Weston plant in Hermiston, OR won Water Resources—Conservation & Wastewater Management. The core-focused improvement team reviewed all plant water systems and piping and reduced daily water usage by 24 percent.

►The ConAgra Foods Marshall, MO plant won Solid Waste Reduction & Recycling. Plant leaders working with QA determined excess flour used to prevent dough from sticking to rollers could be repurposed, eliminating 96.2 tons of safe flour being hauled to a landfill annually.

►ConAgra Foods Packaging Development won Sustainable Packaging, Product & Process Innovation. PAM cooking spray and Reddi-wip dessert toppings cans were converted from traditional three-piece designs to innovative two-piece cans, saving more than 5 million pounds of packaging per year.

►The ConAgra Foods’ temperature-controlled facility in St. Louis won the Sustainable Business Practices award. Employees decreased yield loss by 59 percent, which means 55 fewer truckloads of raw eggs are needed to produce the same amount of finished product. Also, process improvements resulted in water use reduction of 1.6 million gallons per year and a 67 percent reduction in biological oxygen demand.

►The ConAgra Foods’ snacks facility in Marion, OH won the Award of Excellence. The plant conserved energy in four areas: line shutdown, temperature controls, autonomous maintenance development and air loss controls, reducing electrical needs by 3.6 million kilowatt-hours and GHGs by 2,600 metric tons per year.