Improving energy efficiency and reducing air emissions are high priorities at JBS USA. Air quality and greenhouse gases are a top concern for our team and the communities where we operate, and we are constantly looking for opportunities to improve. Our energy reduction targets, while contributing to plant efficiency and cost savings, are also directly tied to our efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Energy use reduction is a company priority, and our corporate environmental teams work to implement best practices for energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions across our operations.
Energy use depends on the nature of the activities at our facilities. For example, a packing facility has different energy requirements than a further processing facility. Energy use can also be impacted by extreme climate events which require additional energy to maintain the processing plant temperature at optimal levels to ensure the quality and safety of our food products.
Local regulations also influence the adoption and implementation of energy-efficiency goals and programs. Therefore, it is critical to focus our efforts to address the unique challenges in specific markets so that we can develop customized programs that are relevant to the local energy challenges at each facility.
The most common challenge of implementing energy-saving projects is the initial capital investment, as often the cost of implementation outweighs the expected return on investment (ROI) within a reasonable time frame. Where possible, we strive to invest in technologies that allow for better data retrieval and analysis of high energy-use equipment so that the company can make informed decisions to justify ROI and make improvements critical to the long-term success of the business.
“By focusing on energy efficiency, we reduce operational costs and greenhouse gas emissions, and, in many cases, can improve the working conditions for our team members.”
Director of Environment and Utilities
JBS USA Regional Beef Business Unit
Energy reduction is also our most direct way of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. We are currently looking at opportunities to use waste-to-energy processes. To date, 11 of our facilities use biogas as a renewable energy source, and one has implemented a rooftop solar system. In 2018, the share of indirect energy from renewable sources used at our U.S. facilities varied between 5 percent and 22 percent, depending on where the facilities were located.
We must also take into account the profile of any facility, including its type, size and age, when developing goals or target-reduction strategies. When establishing energy-reduction targets, it is important to implement meaningful strategies at each facility based on the type of production, the local energy source constraints and challenges, as well as the facility profile.
In 2018, all JBS USA operations invested in improved energy efficiency. Our energy targets moving forward will continue to focus on maximizing operational efficiencies while reducing emissions and cost. Energy use will continue to be a critical priority in our sustainability program.
In addition to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and energy use, implementing odor-reduction technologies is a JBS USA focus. All of our facilities with rendering operations use odor-reduction programs and technologies, including high-intensity air scrubbers that remove ammonia and hydrogen sulfide, which reduces odors from the rendering process.
11.9% total decrease in natural gas use intensity. Working toward a goal of 20%.
10.9% total decrease in electricity use intensity. Working toward a goal of 12%.
17.7% total decrease in GHG emissions intensity. Working toward a goal of 20%.
*Goals set based on 2013, 2014, 2015 average baselines for our U.S. and Canadian facilities
We measure and report energy use across facilities and invest annually in more energy-efficient equipment to reduce both fuel and electricity use. From 2017 to 2018, JBS USA increased fuel use intensity by 4 percent and reduced electricity use intensity by 4 percent.
Our business units in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico increased their fuel use intensity by 3.2 percent, but were able to reduce electricity use intensity by 4.3 percent from 2017 to 2018. Since 2015, we have achieved an 11.9 percent reduction in fuel use intensity and a 10.9 percent reduction in electricity use intensity against our goal baseline. These reductions are the result of improved operational efficiencies and reduced fuel and electricity use in our facilities. These teams will continue to stay focused on reducing energy use throughout our operations to meet our 20 percent reduction target in natural gas and our 12 percent reduction target in electricity by 2020.
In Australia, Europe and North America, we track direct greenhouse gas emissions from stationary and mobile sources (Scope 1) (excluding enteric and manure emissions from our live animal operations) and energy indirect emissions (Scope 2). From 2017 to 2018, we reduced our global greenhouse gas emission intensity by 3 percent.
In the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico, overall greenhouse gas intensity decreased from 2017 to 2018 by 1.3 percent. Since 2015, these business units have reduced their overall Scope 1 and Scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 17.7 percent. These teams will continue to stay focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions to meet our 20 percent reduction target in 2020.
Our JBS USA Carriers business unit is focused on improving fuel efficiency as the primary means to reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. Unfortunately, in 2018, we saw a decrease in our fleet fuel efficiency, reported as miles per gallon. This was due to our decision to further grow our dedicated regional fleet and reduce our over the road (long haul) fleet, increasing our daycabs by an additional 12 percent compared to 2017. As a consequence, total frequency of stops increased, and we experienced lower gear utilization, which inherently reduced fuel efficiency. While we do not anticipate changing our business strategy in 2019, we will continue to innovate, and we will remain committed to and focused on our efforts to improve fuel efficiency moving forward.