Sara Lee: reports improved environmental performance

Downers Grove / IL. (slc) Sara Lee Corporation released the company´s annual sustainability report, titled «Sara Lee Now … For the Future», available at the company´s website, reporting that it has reduced its water usage by more than 21 percent in four years. This was the result of the company´s global focus on water reduction, which included facilities around the world conducting water audits, performing preventative maintenance on boilers and cooling towers and implementing dry clean-up techniques.

In addition, the company reduced the amount of waste sent to landfill by 18 percent over the past four years by focusing on increasing the amount of waste byproducts that are recycled, which lessens their impact on the environment.

«Fiscal 2009 marked another milestone year for Sara Lee´s sustainability efforts», said Audra Karalius, Sara Lee Corporation´s vice president of sustainability, environment and safety. «Our annual sustainability report highlights our progress in our three key areas – environment, wellness and nutrition and social responsibility. With better reporting processes and goals in place, we look forward to continuous sustainability improvement in the future». Highlights from this year´s report include:

Environment

  • In April, Sara Lee opened its new North American innovation campus, The Kitchens of Sara Lee, a 120’000-square-feet research and development center located at the company´s headquarters. One of the features of the state-of-the-art facility is a packaging lab, which saves both time and materials and is helping Sara Lee drive its sustainability strategy throughout the packaging function.
  • Sara Lee Thailand participated in an energy conservation project set up by the Ministry of Energy in Thailand. The facility implemented several energy conservation measures, such as an upgrade of boilers, overhaul of roasters, reviewing and eliminating compressed air leakages and reducing the chiller´s cooling water temperature. These actions led to a 13 percent reduction in energy usage in fiscal 2009.

Social Responsibility

  • Sara Lee donated more than one thousand tons of food to Feeding America, which then distributes to its more than 200 network members throughout the United States. This is equivalent to more than 1,7 million meals.
  • In October 2008, Sara Lee announced the launch of the Returnships @ Sara Lee program. Designed as paid internships for experienced professionals, this unique program provides flexible opportunities for mid-career individuals to re-enter the workforce following an extended leave. Sara Lee began the program with ten returnship participants spread throughout the organization, in departments such as legal, human resources, business development and packaging design.
  • Our international coffee business has increased its purchase of UTZ Certified sustainable coffee more than tenfold in the last five years, to a total of 26,5 million kilograms in 2009.

Wellness and Nutrition

  • Sara Lee launched Lower Sodium premium deli meats, which have earned the American Heart Association´s (AHA) heart check mark.
  • Sara Lee Foodservice recently introduced its Mini Breakfast Bakery line of bagels, croissants, muffins and rolls, a portion control solution which give consumers the opportunity to enjoy a small breakfast treat without over-indulging.
  • Sanex introduced a new formula shower gel to minimize chemical additives and maximize benefits to the body´s largest organ – the skin.
  • Wellness and nutrition also extends to our employees – in fiscal 2009, the company´s global injury rate improved for the third straight year as we work towards zero injuries.

About: Each and every day, Sara Lee Corporation delights millions of consumers and customers around the world. The company has one of the world´s best-loved and leading portfolios with its innovative and trusted food, beverage, household and body care brands. Collectively, these brands generate approximately 13 billion USD in annual net sales covering close to 200 countries. The Sara Lee community consists of 41’000 employees worldwide.
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