Pilgrim’s UK slashes GHG emissions as it accelerates progress towards net zero

  • UK’s largest food and farming business announces reduction of scope 1 & 2 emissions by 62.5% in its inaugural sustainability strategy progress report
  • Pilgrim’s UK has set the most ambitious targets in the industry following it commitment to net zero in its own operations by 2030 and in its wider supply chain by 2035
  • Working with its extensive network of farmers, the producer has the lowest soya inclusion levels in Europe

Pilgrim’s UK, one of the UK’s largest food and farming businesses and higher welfare pork producer, has recorded a 62.5% reduction in its Scope 1 & 2 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, compared to a 2019 baseline.

The announcement, included within the business’ first sustainability strategy progress report, follows a full net zero road mapping process at each of its 11 production sites.

The Pilgrim’s UK 2030: Sustainability Strategy Progress Report outlines the business’ progress against its sustainability roadmap and strategy, which is built around five core pillars: sustainable farming, sustainable food production, sustainable packaging, sustainable people and community, and sustainable products.

The business works with more than 1,000 British pig farmers and 450 of the UK’s leading independent lamb producers, plus 2,500 Red Tractor Assured lamb producers, and is leading the way in its regenerative practices where it uses livestock to regenerate soil. This, coupled with its low GHG diet formulations means its pork farm footprint is 2.53 Kg CO2e/ Kg liveweight compared to the 4.68kg UK average. Thanks to its extensive investment in feed R&D, the producer has the lowest soya inclusion levels in Europe.

The business has set a series of ambitious targets as part of its net zero pathway, including:

  • Using 100% recyclable or reusable packaging by 2025
  • Sourcing deforestation risk commodities from Verified Deforestation and Conversion free areas by 2025
  • Achieving a 50% reduction in water intensity by 2030
  • Targeting 5% soya inclusion in pig diets

The business already uses 100% renewable electricity, sources cardboard from sustainable sources and uses plastic made from at least 30% recycled plastic in its packaging. Its current soya inclusion is 7% against an industry average of 15-20% and it has already achieved a 50% reduction in food waste.

Ivan Siqueira, President of Pilgrim’s UK, said: “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.

“We’re laser-focused on delivering our Pilgrim’s UK 2030 sustainability strategy, which is underpinned by a robust investment and 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: “Our Pilgrim’s UK 2030 strategy demonstrates our long-standing commitment to sustainability. That means going beyond basic industry standards while continuing to innovate to bring high quality, affordable food to supermarket shelves and food service outlets across the country. We’re determined to revolutionise the food supply chain, working with our retail and agriculture partners and industry stakeholders to reduce the impact of the food and farming sector.

“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 £10 million 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.