As many of you know, Earth Day is a day when I take time to reflect, and a day when I generally send a message to you. As I thought about the significance of the day yesterday I realized that here at Smithfield, every day is Earth Day, so I opted to wait until today to send you this note. From where I sit, I’m extremely optimistic about the current state and the future of Smithfield as a company. We’ve certainly been through a lot of changes in the past couple years, but I think we are stronger for it, and one of the things I’m most thankful for that has come out of these changes is Larry’s 6 pillar vision for the organization.
As I wear my Chief Sustainability Officer hat, I’ve given a lot of thought to how Larry’s pillars might apply to my team, and to each of you. Because as you all know, our progress towards our sustainability goals isn’t something that happens here in the corporate office—it happens where you are. You’re the ones doing the hard work to make us better each day, and I’m thankful for it. So in that vein, here are some thoughts on how those pillars might apply to sustainability here at Smithfield and to you personally.
- We will be people oriented. We strive to create a work environment where you feel comfortable that your company is doing the right thing, and where you are proud to serve Smithfield’s products to your family and friends because you know we operate in a responsible manner. While we are not perfect, we have made tremendous progress. I also encourage you to be people-oriented in your personal life—constantly thinking of others, and working to their benefit as well as your own.
- We will Smithfield-centric. Our sustainability program spans the breadth of our organization, and galvanizes us under one umbrella, which is right in line with the “One Smithfield” mindset.
- We will focus on our customers. Sustainability is top of mind for our customers. I go meet with many of them personally, and I can tell you that our programs and efforts in this area are a point of difference for Smithfield, and give us a competitive advantage in the marketplace.
- We will grow our people, brands, footprint, product breadth and profits. Sustainability and growth go hand-in hand. If we effectively utilize our resources, we are poised for growth.
- We will take risks to succeed. We aren’t going to make any progress in sustainability if we are too scared to take a risk. To do something differently, and potentially to fail. Believe me, we’ve had some failures in our sustainability work—some of them quite big. Please take a risk, even a small one, to make our company a better place to work and to make our communities better places to live.
- We will be the industry leader. I think we have a head start on this goal in sustainability, since others in our industry already do view us as a leader in this area. We are the only company in our industry to be ISO 14001 certified at each of our plants, and at each of our farms. We are the only company in our industry to report our antibiotic use. We are also leading the industry in our commitment to group housing for pregnant sows on our farms and our contract farms. You work for an industry leader in sustainability, and you should feel good about that.
So, be encouraged. There is a lot of “doom and gloom” out there when it comes to the state of our world or our environmental future, but I’m excited about where we are headed. Those who know me well will know that I never like to dwell in the past, but would rather think about the future. And while I think we will certainly maintain our heritage and our sustainability story, I’m ready to move ahead to the next chapters of Smithfield’s history, and I’m excited to work together with you to make this vision a reality.
Dennis H. Treacy
EVP and Chief Sustainability Officer