Friday, January 28, 2011

LEED Design: ConAgra's Food Production

Not to long ago I went on a lengthy rant about how awesome Walgreens is being by rolling out a fleet of LEED certified pharmacies, which you can find here. The main point of my article was that the public benefits from Walgreens' initiative because they are indirectly educated by being surrounded with green initiatives.

Another form of indirect consumer education can be seen with ConAgra Foods. They are the proud owners of the first LEED Platinum certified frozen food manufacturing plant. This is impressive because manufacturing plants are resource intensive, but this proves that companies can still be efficient in their traditional practices while embracing more efficient and modern technologies.

It is a safe bet that ConAgra Foods will advertise their green practices on any products that come out of this plant, which will attract new customers while also turning consumers on to greener practices. This could place new pressure on ConAgra's competitors that could end up leading to more food manufacturers pursuing LEED certification.

This is the direction that I have expected the world to start head, but it is nice to actually observe it happen before my eyes. It may seem like a small deal right now, but down the road we could look back and point to this as the beginning of something big.

And guess who told you about it?


  1. I dont know why you are lauding ConAgra for this one, Colin. Even if we leave e-coli outbreaks, GMOs, and corporation world domination aside, we are still left with the fact that they are polluting our water, our soils, and our bodies.

    Now a LEED building exempts them from environmental accountability? From merging with Monsanto to feeding us all corn-in-everything, I would like to have some commitment to purchasing organic purchasing company-wide, or a health campaign (though that would be at cross-purposes with revenue). Anything rather than a LEED building. LEED is a marketing tool. A positive one, but still a tool.

    Finally, I will just let the title "Home Food Safety … It's in Your Hands™" campaign speak for itself. I cant get behind ConAgra's small and pathetic effort to "go green."

  2. Oops, there should be one "purchasing" in there. Preferably the latter.

  3. I'm not going to address the externalities of e-coli outbreaks, GMOs and "corporate world domination" because these aren't things that I addressed in this post, and it wouldn't do anyone any good to talk about them in a comments section.

    However, I do believe that we live in a world that will continue to be serviced by large corporations such as ConAgra and Monsanto, and while there are certainly negative aspects to this, I am still happy to see that they are at least addressing one traditionally negative issue of their business model.

    While I don't believe for a second that LEED certification is a magic bullet, I do believe that this could set an example for the entire industry so that more corporations will pursue cleaner operations.

    Will this change the landscape of food production? No, but this is a small step in a direction that hasn't been pursued before.