Water and Wastewater Management
(GRI 3-3; 303-1; 303-2; SASB FB-MP-140a.2)
Water stewardship is crucial to the long-term viability of our global business and our shared communities. Water is a critical component in the production of safe, high-quality food and the decreasing availability of clean, accessible water threatens food security in many areas around the world. Agriculture represents 70% of all water withdrawals, and as one of the largest global food companies, we recognize we must play a fundamental role in helping protect the responsible use of this critical resource.
Within our operations, we embrace our responsibility to decrease water consumption by monitoring usage and prioritizing reductions at every facility, while still preserving our high standards for food safety and sanitary conditions. Our global Water Stewardship Policy guides our businesses, encouraging the development of strategies and projects that minimize the need for new water sources.
Each facility sets water-use goals and targets to ensure ownership and accountability and devotes financial resources to maintain alignment with business-specific policies and commitments. We also work cross-functionally with our environmental, engineering, operations and food quality and safety teams when designing and implementing conservation strategies to ensure they do not interfere with food safety protocols.
The primary indicators we measure related to water use include total water withdrawal by source, total water reused, and total water use intensity (water use per unit of production) to consistently identify opportunities for improvements, irrespective of changes in production.
Global Water Withdrawal by Source (m³)(GRI 303-3; 303-5)
We constantly monitor the treatment of all wastewater produced in our operations in accordance with appropriate physical and chemical regulatory standards. Each of our production and further processing facilities has a wastewater treatment program specifically tailored to its unique discharge permit requirements to help reduce our total discharged water volume and address noncompliance issues. Depending on the operation, wastewater is treated at our facilities either internally or in the municipal system.
All JBS-owned feedlots and live hog operations are run in accordance with federally mandated, nutrient-management plans or an equivalent program. Manure from our feedlots and live hog operations plays an important role in conservation as a soil amendment and fertilizer. It is composted and used by local farmers to enhance soil quality and as a sustainable alternative to synthetic fertilizers.
Global Water Discharge by Recipient (m³)(GRI 303-4)
Water risk assessments are also a critical element of our strategy and allow us to better identify and prioritize water resource projects that are locally relevant to each watershed and reduce the company’s overall water impact. Beginning in 2023, we plan to increase the scope and frequency of our assessments across our global operations to better identify areas with high, medium and low exposure to water-related risks, including quantity (baseline water stress, inter-annual variability, seasonal variability, flood occurrence, drought severity, upstream storage and groundwater storage), quality (return flow ratio and upstream protected land), and regulatory and reputational risk (media coverage, access to water and threatened amphibians).