Our Commitment

At Schwan's Company, we take seriously our responsibility to reduce our impact on the environment. Our people know the commitment we have to this effort will help us improve our operations and benefits our communities and businesses.

In 2020, our environmental sustainability efforts focused on reducing our company’s impact on the environment in these key areas:

Read about our social, economic and environmental objectives and the actions we’ve taken to achieve them.

Delivering Efficiency on the Road

At Schwan's Company, we operate approximately 600 vehicles that deliver directly to stores and more than 40 long-haul trucks. We increase efficiency and reduce emissions through our driver education efforts, working with truck manufacturers on continuous improvements and by moving toward more efficient vehicles. These efforts have led to a 9.1 percent improvement in miles per gallon over the previous year for our direct-store-delivery fleet.

For our long-haul fleet, efforts include installing aerodynamic components on all semitrailers to help reduce wind resistance and increase fuel efficiency and using electronic governors that limit the max speed of our semis. We have also invested significantly in adding plug-in stations at distribution centers in Kansas and Minnesota. This enables us to use refrigerated trailers that can run on electricity when parked to avoid burning diesel fuel, saving about a gallon per hour.

Driving Efficiency in our Facilities

Our facilities play an important role in reducing our impact on the environment, and we are continuously looking for new ways to become more efficient. Over the past several years, many projects were completed at our facilities to manage energy usage and deliver efficiencies, such as:

  • Installed sub-metering systems that enable measurement on specific pieces of equipment at each production facility.
  • Installed better refrigeration controls in plant freezer systems.
  • Replaced cooling systems for electrical panels at our largest pizza plant.
  • Installed more efficient lighting and HVAC systems.

Ultimately, these investments and more like them will help us achieve our goal of reducing energy usage in our production facilities.

Recycling

We have had recycling programs in place for several years and have set aggressive goals for tracking and measuring our efforts. In 2020, the overall company recycled 18,302 tons of materials that included old corrugated cardboard, plastic, steel, aluminum and paper products.

Additionally, Schwan’s subsidiaries also recycled 12,366 tons of food waste, cooking oil, wastewater and electronics through other recycling partnerships. In total, we have diverted 58 percent of our materials from landfills.

Protecting Our Products with Less Packaging

Our commitment to reducing our impact on the environment extends to packaging. Since 2010, we have maintained a thoughtful campaign to review the packaging of our products and determine where we could reduce it while maintaining the quality of our foods.

Over the course of the 10-year program, the company has reduced the amount of packaging used with our foods by 10,812 tons.

Responsible Sourcing and Expectations of Integrity

Schwan’s Company strives to be a responsible steward of the environment, and we expect the same from our suppliers. We seek business partners who comply with all laws and share our commitment to using resources responsibly. In accordance with our “Standards of Conduct for Business Partners,” we expect our suppliers to behave ethically, set goals for eliminating and reducing waste and maintain production facilities that address community, environmental and social needs.

Animal Welfare

We expect all livestock producers, handlers and processors to provide safe and humane treatment for animals within their care. Our company does not raise or handle livestock of any kind. However, as a food company, we are committed to protecting animals from unnecessary suffering by working with our suppliers to ensure animal-handling practices meet the highest industry standards and all federal and state livestock regulations.

All suppliers of Schwan’s Company must be aligned with the fundamental values expressed in the internationally acknowledged Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare. The Five Freedoms are:

  • Freedom from hunger and thirst by ensuring ready access to fresh water and a diet that maintains health and vigor.
  • Freedom from discomfort by providing an appropriate environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area.
  • Freedom from pain, injury or disease by prevention or rapid diagnosis of an injury or illness and treatment.
  • Freedom to express normal behavior by providing sufficient space, proper facilities and company of the animal’s own kind.
  • Freedom from fear and distress by ensuring conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering.

Ultimately, our goal is to create a supply chain that adheres to and champions these fundamental behaviors of animal care and husbandry. It is our commitment to review and work with our supply chain to ensure the safest, best environment feasible for animal welfare because it is consistent with our core beliefs and it is the right thing to do.

Here is our approach and commitments to specific animal welfare issues:

  • Cage-free eggs. As part of a broader commitment toward sustainable sourcing, we are working to achieve cage-free eggs in all foods that contain more than 5 percent eggs by weight by the end of 2025, pending market availability. Cage-free eggs are defined as those laid by hens housed in an enclosed area that allows for unlimited access to food and water, and provides the freedom to roam during the laying cycle.
  • Pregnant sow housing. We recognize the industry is focusing on the continuous improvement of pig operations. We are working with our pork suppliers to find alternatives to gestation crates and help ensure the safety of workers and the comfort and safety of animals. We also require our suppliers to follow standards set by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).
  • Humane handling. Schwan’s, along with our dairy suppliers, has a long-standing commitment to ensure the best care is provided to animals at all times. When procedures such as dehorning or tipping are used to ensure the safety of other animals and farmers, we expect our suppliers to follow best practices established by groups such as AVMA.

Responsibly Sourcing Ingredients & Materials

Our goal is to responsibly source the ingredients and materials required to make and transport our foods to our customers. Here are some of our efforts:

  • Packaging. We have developed a comprehensive packaging program over the last five years with the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, which promotes sustainable forest management in North America and responsible procurement of forest products around the world. Currently, about 98 percent of our corrugate materials and 100 percent of our paperboard materials are SFI certified.
  • Palm oil. As a member of the Round Table on Sustainable Palm Oil and in conjunction with our supply partners, we have access to multiple programs to ensure palm oil is sourced in a manner to meet our customers' specific needs.
  • Supplier diversity. Our diversity outreach program is designed to locate and inform a diverse list of suppliers of opportunities to partner with our company. We publish opportunities in major newspapers in seven markets throughout the United States, and we have established a central communication point for our supplier diversity inquiries at supplierdiversity@schwans.com.

Fair Trade

Schwan’s Company subsidiaries support and require their suppliers to adhere to the "10 Principles of Fair Trade" as published by the World Fair Trade Organization. Our activities range from direct communication to collaborative efforts with suppliers to ensure they honor these principles in day-to-day operations.

Our 2020 Responsibility Report

Read about our social, economic and environmental objectives and the actions we’ve taken to achieve them.