How one company’s plan to turn pollution into a commodity could change an entire industry

When the world’s largest pork producer set out to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from its full supply chain, it sent a powerful signal to the industry at large: By cutting emissions it’s also creating new business opportunities.

With a 26-percent market share in pork processing, Smithfield Foods’ initiative to turn methane pollution into a commodity will not only have a significant environmental impact – it will also entice other animal agriculture companies to follow suit.

Smithfield announced earlier this fall that it will invest hundreds of millions of dollars in infrastructure that converts manure methane emissions into renewable natural gas. The new technology will be installed on 90 percent of Smithfield’s hog finishing spaces in North Carolina and Utah; and on nearly all in Missouri.

In total, the company will capture emissions from more than 1,000 farms nationwide.

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