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Global Sustainability Councils Capture "Every Ounce of Innovation"

August 24, 2021

At OSI, sustainability is not complementary to our work. It is embedded in the work every department does, across our businesses around the world. The very structure of our sustainability team, which includes a network of “sustainability champions” across the organization, ensures our goals around social responsibility, supply chain and environmental stewardship are prioritized in every region of operation and key department.

The addition of three global sustainability councils or teams in the last year has been helping us live out this purpose by enabling our experts, across regions, to align on best practices and learn from each other to advance more uniformly toward our goals. Our Global Carbon Task Force, Global Water Task Force and Global Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) Council meet regularly to exchange ideas they can use to provide targeted recommendations to the managing directors of each zone.

"By strengthening the network of OSI sustainability champions around the world, we are helping to ensure that we capture every great idea, every innovation, and every ounce of passion for sustainability that we can to help us achieve our ambitious sustainability goals," said Nicole Johnson-Hoffman, OSI's Chief Sustainability Officer, who receives monthly updates from each of the groups. "As we always do at OSI, we have found once again that our people have an amazing ability to solve complex problems and achieve continuous improvement."


The Global EHS Council is co-chaired by EHS leaders globally within OSI Group. The EHS Director of North America serves as the council's safety chair, while Europe's EHS Manager, serves as environmental chair. Members of the council include EHS managers and leaders from across all global zones — North America, Europe, Australia, India and China — who share best practices and make recommendations for further alignment.

"The GEHSC is our opportunity to share EHS best practices across all OSI business units, while establishing a professional network that not only supports facility EHS managers, but also all levels of leadership from the facility management teams to the c-suite. Leveraging our unique experiences will help us develop meaningful EHS policies and sharing activities that have been successfully implemented within the organization will help support our movement towards not only our desired EHS culture but also our overall culture." said Jim Swanson, EHS Director of North America and Global EHS Council Safety chair.

The council has already been exchanging ideas about safety performance goals and metrics, and improvement plans.


One of our environmental engineers in Europe chairs our Global Carbon Task Force, which includes members from our engineering, process and environmental teams. The Task Force is focused on continuing to advance our emissions accounting practices globally and challenging ourselves to accelerate our emissions reductions. It builds off of work we've already been doing along these lines, including voluntary CDP reporting, an annual disclosure we make to the climate non-profit about potential impacts the company and its supply chain may have on the climate and forests, as well as efforts to prioritize renewable energy sources, calibrate refrigeration equipment and install alternative systems, when necessary, to reduce our negative impacts.

The task force takes these sorts of efforts further by providing members with technical resources for carbon calculation, and keeping management even more up to date on leading indicators of carbon reduction.

OSI's bespoke and proprietary calculator, aligned to the GHG protocol, informs the group's work by helping managers identify and quantify carbon emissions in our facilities and our supply chain. The tool tracks what are known as Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions, which, respectively, come from in-company operations (like heating, cooling and the use of company-owned vehicles), the buying of utilities (like electricity), and our up- and downstream activities (like business travel, the transportation and distribution of products and the production of raw material, especially cattle).

As a food processing company, most of our emissions come from the production and transport of raw materials before they enter our facilities. This is why we focus intently on carbon projects in our supply chain that, among other things, help farmers track emissions from beef production and adopt practices in cattle rearing to reduce their carbon footprint.

This new task force will analyze data across global facilities and exchange details about projects they are working on around the world that may serve as opportunities to scale reductions for their counterparts across the company.


Similarly, our Water Task Force provides technical resources for zones or facilities as we expand our water stewardship activities and align our water reduction ambitions to the need for food safety and the role sanitation plays.

The team is co-chaired by an OSI Europe engineer and our Global Sanitation Director, and includes members from our engineering, process, environmental, and sanitation teams. The group's focus, so far, has been around the need to track water usage more granularly to get more insight, for example, into how much water is used for sanitation compared to other activities. It has also served, as intended, as a peer resource hub where members share their own experiences with rainwater capture and water reuse options that some facilities around the world are already using.

"As an organization that operates dozens of facilities in 18 countries and territories, our size is both a challenge and an opportunity to advance our sustainability mission," said Anna Baron, OSI's Global Sustainability Director, who sponsors the three global groups. "The challenge is aligning on best practices that still take into account local nuance, but the great opportunity is the wealth of information, expertise and experience spread across our organization, which these task forces bring together."

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