ISO 14001 outlines key requirements with which companies should conform to in order to operate in an environmentally responsible manner.
"ISO 14001 will provide Smithfield with many advantages and will demonstrate to our customers and shareholders that Smithfield's environmental processes are effectively managed, continually improving, and part of our corporate management system," said Timothy A. Seely, president of Smithfield Packing Company, Inc.
NSF International, an independent, third party organization that has certified products and written standards that help protect food, water, air, and consumer goods, performed Tar Heel's environmental audit. The audit certified that the Tar Heel plant had developed clearly defined methods for monitoring and measuring the environmental impact of its activities and systems to identify and avoid potential problems.
The audit encompassed a wide array of areas, ranging from wastewater and sewage treatment to power generation to truck and trailer storage.
Due to the size and scope of the Tar Heel plant, it encompassed all areas of environmental management outlined in the ISO 14001 standards and involved over 5,000 employees.
In addition, the Tar Heel plant utilized an ISO 14001 Web based program that will allow other Smithfield operating companies to access Tar Heel's broad knowledge base and act as a template for achieving ISO 14001 certification of their own.
"Earning the ISO 14001 certification is a significant accomplishment for the employees of Smithfield's Tar Heel plant," said William G. Ross Jr., secretary of the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources. "We commend them and the company for taking this proactive approach to meeting their environmental goals."
Robert F. Urell, Smithfield Foods senior vice president of corporate engineering and environmental affairs, said, "We are indeed proud of the Tar Heel team. In our company, we have a continuing commitment to environmental excellence and the successful ISO certification at Tar Heel is a significant milestone. Our goal is to achieve ISO 14001 certification for the balance of our major United States processing facilities by year-end."