As the environmental manager at the Sanford, North Carolina Pilgrim's facility, Tina Pedley is racing to help her plant be the company's first to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions.
“I'm a very competitive person, so I would love for Sanford to have nothing left to do” to reach net zero, she says.
JBS is committing $1 billion in new capital investment to help achieve net zero emissions by 2040 and has invited team members to submit proposals. Tina’s goal is to identify opportunities that will make the Sanford plant more efficient in its use of energy and water resources.
Driven by a thirst for learning and to find answers to problems – even if that involves an unfamiliar technology – Tina often sits up late into the night researching online. She also takes classes at East Carolina University on topics such as boiler efficiency to find new project ideas.
“I took one class recently, but [Pilgrim's] has already looked into everything they mentioned. I was looking for some new ideas!” Tina said. Tina's first project was an infrared scanner to help identify miniscule air leaks. Now she is implementing adding flow meters and a device to maintain a constant pressure throughout the facility to better conserve water consumption. Her list also runs to upgrading recycling systems and solar installations.
Tina’s drive doesn't just come from her competitive nature. “I have three kids, and I would hate to think that they’ll grow up in a world that's polluted,” she said. “I want the world to be nice for them.” A lifelong love of science is what led Tina to start her career with JBS 16 years ago in the Sanford wastewater lab.
By 2016, she had risen to the position of environmental manager, overseeing the sustainability of the facility and minimizing the impact on local ecosystems. Her effort has not gone unnoticed – Sanford won the USPOULTRY Clean Water Award in 2019, an honor proudly displayed in the building’s lobby.
Tina's enthusiasm for emission reduction efforts has spread to her colleagues throughout Sanford. Department managers at the plant see the available funding as a pathway to more efficient operations.These “win-win” opportunities, reducing GHG emissions while making the facility function more effectively, are the secret to Tina's success. “If you tell me there's something we need to find, I’m going to work hard at it,” Tina said. “I want them to say ‘there's no money left because Sanford's taking it all!’”