SMITHFIELD, Va. — Smithfield Foods Inc., announced on May 15 that Kraig Westerbeek, senior director of Smithfield Renewables and hog production environmental affairs, was named as an Environment + Energy 100 honoree. The program by the Environment and Energy Leaders Institute recognizes individuals for their leadership in environmental, energy and sustainability initiatives at their companies.
Westerbeek leads Smithfield Renewables, the company’s platform to reduce carbon and bolster renewable energy efforts. The initiative will ensure the company meets its environmental commitments including its goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 25 percent by 2025.
“Sustainability is ingrained in our company’s culture and that’s evident by the dedication of our people to doing business the right way,” said Stewart Leeth, vice president of regulatory affairs and chief sustainability officer with Smithfield Foods. “Kraig plays a leading role in ensuring Smithfield will reach its industry-leading commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 25 percent by 2025. It’s an ambitious goal, and Kraig’s passion and innovative thinking will help us hit our mark.”
Westerbeek has led the nationwide expansion of Smithfield’s “manure-to-energy” projects to start reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increase renewable energy.
Last year, Smithfield partnered with Dominion Energy to capture methane emissions from hog farms and convert them into renewable energy. The joint venture called Align Renewable Natural Gas started the first projects in North Carolina, Virginia and Utah. In April, Smithfield also announced a partnership with Roeslein Alternative Energy that plans to convert manure collected on Smithfield’s Missouri hog farms and make it into renewable natural gas (RNG).
“Kraig’s leadership in our renewable energy efforts is a key factor in meeting our sustainability goals at Smithfield,” said Bill Gill, assistant vice president of sustainability for Smithfield. “We are immensely proud of his accomplishments and look forward to the groundbreaking projects that lay ahead for Kraig and Smithfield Renewables, keeping Smithfield at the forefront of the industry in sustainability and renewable energy.”