“He (George Birdsong) can see value a decade out; he’s someone who is considered a visionary.”
— Scott Jackson, Plant Genomics Researcher at the University of Georgia.
We at Birdsong realize that our actions as stewards of the earth can help create a better world for generations to come. Everything that we need for survival, both directly and indirectly, depends upon the environment, and so we are committed to charting a sustainable future.
Peanuts pack not only a nutritional punch but also an environmentally friendly one as well. For example, a pound of peanut butter produces five times less greenhouse gas emissions than a pound of cheese and producing peanut butter has 10 times fewer emissions than producing beef.
Birdsong was among the first in the industry to generate a reliable carbon footprint. The result of this effort was encouraging: Birdsong plant operations generate only one third in carbon emissions when compared to federal and state reporting guidelines. However, electricity usage accounted for the great majority of those emissions, so we saw this as an opportunity for improvement.
To meet this opportunity, Birdsong installed a five acre solar arrangement which generates 1.45 million kilowatt hours of energy per year. This reduces greenhouse gas emissions by over 1000 tons per year – the equivalent of removing 197 vehicles from the road.
Birdsong supplies over 20,000 tons of peanut hull pellets, a source of renewable energy, to co-generation plants around the world. This produces over 41 million kilowatt hours of electricity.
All Birdsong facilities are at or near zero landfill waste operational status. The goal is to have all plant campuses certified zero landfill waste by the end of 2015.
Additional local conservation efforts supported by Birdsong include funding a new food composter for the Salvation Army of Suffolk and providing peanut hulls to thicken the compost used for gardening programs at area schools. To support these efforts and increase awareness, Birdsong has a goal of rolling out sustainability workshops to all employees by the end of 2015.
Many of the farmers with whom we partner are on the cutting edge of sustainable farming. They produce their peanuts using conservation tillage systems to increase soil carbon sequestration which reduces green house gas emissions. This practice also increases the water-holding capacity in soils, thus reducing irrigation requirements.
We are fortunate that peanuts are environmentally friendly by their nature. We’re doing our part to reduce the impact from the time they are planted until they reach the consumer’s table.