Everything we do at Tyson Foods starts with our purpose – raising the world’s expectations for how much good food can do.

We understand that food is more than just what’s on a plate at mealtime. When consumed, it provides essential nutrition to the body. When shared, it creates a sense of community and provision for those who might otherwise not have access. When produced sustainably, it does good for the community, workforce, food, animal welfare and the planet.

In 2018, we joined the UN Global Compact, publicly committing to advancing the principles of the Compact as well as the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This was important to us a company because it combines our role as a protein authority with the responsibility we carry to help create a better world. As Climate Week 2020 kicks off, we want to share the work we’re doing to advance Goal 13 of the UN SDGs – Climate Action.

Being the first U.S. protein company to set science-based greenhouse gas reduction targets

Tyson Foods is actively working toward a target to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 30% by 2030. This target meets the criteria of the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), which accepted our target in 2018, making us the first U.S. protein company in the food and beverage sector to receive such an acknowledgement. Our target includes reducing emissions within our own operations and the energy that we purchase, as well as emissions across our supply chain.

Improving land stewardship practices

We have a goal to improve land stewardship practices on 2 million acres of row crop corn – the largest target ever set by a U.S. protein company. The goal is to provide farmers with tools to inform them how to improve their economic and environmental bottom line, as well as lower the GHG emissions generated by our supply chain. In total, we have signed up more than 400,000 acres, and we are learning about best practices farmers deploy to increase yields, keep soil healthy, improve water quality/conservation, and protect wildlife habitats. 

Sustainability in our beef value chain

Recently, Tyson Foods became the first major U.S.  food company to verify sustainable beef production at scale in our beef supply chain. We are working with cattle producers to verify sustainable beef production practices on more than 5 million acres of cattle grazing land – the largest beef transparency program with the U.S.

This latest initiative builds on our overall commitment to beef sustainability. In 2018, we became the first U.S. protein company to license Progressive Beef, a quality management system designed for cattle feeding operators.

Progressive Beef covers all aspects of day-to-day cattle care. Cattle feeding operators certified in the program follow best practices for animal welfare, food safety, responsible antibiotic use and environmental sustainability. 

We met our goal in 2019 to buy two million program cattle in the first year and plan to grow this to 50 percent of the total cattle purchased, approximately 3.4 million head of cattle, by 2021, the third year of the program.

Conserving water

Water is a renewable resource that our team works hard to conserve. We have water conservation teams at every Tyson Foods facility that constantly seek continual improvement from simple things like turning off running hoses to capital funding proposals to install water reuse equipment as appropriate.

From fiscal years 2017 to 2019, we reduced incoming fresh water use by 1.35 billion gallons, and in the first three quarters of fiscal year 2020, we reduced incoming fresh water by 1.8 billion gallons compared to the previous year, while balancing our responsibility for water stewardship and protecting the quality and safety of our products.

We have also started a process in collaboration with the World Resources Institute to establish Contextual Water Targets, which will take into consideration the entire watershed at 11 priority regions. Targets will be based upon each facility’s water withdrawal, exposure to high water stress and proximity to our supply chain. We recently finished our first contextual target in western Kansas and have started our second in Texas.  

Assessing our deforestation risk across our global supply chain

Last year, we engaged PROFOREST to help conduct a deforestation risk assessment across our global agriculture supply chain. The assessment evaluated potential risk in Tyson Foods’ sourcing origins, focusing on commodities such as cattle, palm oil, soy, timber, pulp and paper. 

Their findings have helped shape our upcoming Forest Protection Policy, which we are excited to release later this month.

For more information on what we’re doing to grow responsibly, deliver progress, and sustain our world, view our 2019 sustainability report.

Author
Chief Sustainability Officer at Tyson Foods

John R. Tyson joined the Tyson Foods team in 2019 and serves as Chief Sustainability Officer, leading the company’s efforts to support a more sustainable protein system. This includes driving improvement by implementing the company’s sustainability strategy as well as managing the sustainability, animal welfare, environmental and social responsibility teams.

He reports to CEO Noel White.

John has a Bachelors’ Degree in Economics from Harvard University and a Master of Business Administration Degree from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business. He previously worked in investment banking for J.P. Morgan and as a private equity and venture capital investor. He is also a lecturer at the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas.

He is passionate about the numerous philanthropic endeavors in which he is involved, particularly through the Tyson Family Foundation where he leverages his private investment expertise. Additionally, he is committed to civic engagement and volunteers regularly on electoral campaigns and for charitable organizations focused on social programs, both in Arkansas and around the U.S.

John is a fourth-generation member of the Tyson family. He is proud to work for the company his great grandfather founded and hopes to be a steward of the values and legacy the family established.