Sustainability Initiative

The world we want tomorrow, starts with how we do business today.

Golden West Food Group (GWFG), has been focused on the consideration of the environment and operating our food manufacturing and distribution systems in a way that produces world class food products while at the same time keeping a keen focus on our sustainable approach to energy use, waste products, water, forests and transportation efficiencies that conserve resources.

Our Pillars

We believe in making the best products while being a responsible corporate citizen.


Climate and Environmental issues are forefront when considering usage of electrical, natural gas, heating, chilling systems, and water use. We’ve implemented numerous energy saving upgrades over the last 8 years, directly addressing specific climate change-related factors.


We utilize industry leading methods of recycling waste products including the conversion of bio-waste into renewable biodiesel fuel for the local trucking industry. Our waste stream is sorted for optimal utilization. We have increased the amount of recycled paperboard in our corrugated workflow.


The stewardship of our forests has a direct connection to the packaging materials that we use every day. We are making big strides in both the recyclability of our packaging materials post use, as well as use of recyclable materials in manufacturing of the products, creating a circular sustainable loop.

Product Design

Packaging and food containers that optimize space in the storage and transportation of the products has led to large gains in sustainability. We are evaluating each stage of our product’s path to the customer’s table, a space optimized product saves not only space, but the unnecessary use of more resources.


Sustainable Transportation is more than energy efficient trucking, we go beyond into warehouse utilization; and package/case/pallet design that creates optimization throughout the supply chain. Changes over the last 4 years are benefiting our suppliers, wholesale customers, and ultimately the consumer.


More packaging suppliers are incorporating environmentally conscious approaches to their materials and their sourcing of raw materials. At GWFG, we are making sure that once made into an empty package, the shipping distance to the assembly factory for final product manufacturing is minimized.


Consideration of the human element and how sustainability interacts with our employees and customers is critical to the success of our GWFG plan. Work is ongoing to improve offices, welfare areas, storage and factory floors, and workplace safety; made with consideration of the environmental impacts.


Energy and sustainability are intertwined in our quest for a greener and brighter future. All our facilities are on a coordinated energy optimization plan with in-plant increases in product unit output per energy unit consumed. We utilize renewable energy such as solar, wind, and hydropower that offer cleaner alternatives to fossil fuels. We also engage in energy efficiency measures such as improved lighting, insulation, and smart controls that minimize our waste.

Electricity is reduced through LED lights.
On-demand lighting sensors.
Automatic cooler doors reduce heat loading.
Natural gas high efficiency boilers for hot water energy reduction.


Solid waste output streams are managed with processing partner companies that maximize the recycling of paperboard and other waste products. GWFG performs a high level of sustainable waste handling practices and adopted a circular economy approach where waste is minimized, resources are conserved, and products are designed for reuse and recycling. GWFG’s on-pack labels inform and educate our consumers about responsible consumption, recycling, and compositing practices.

On-site sorting at production facility.
Conversion of oils, fats into biodiesel fuel.
Recycled biodiesel is used in fleet trucks.
Paperboard recycling.


Sustainability in forestry, croplands and animal husbandry ranching are a key initiative of our raw material supply partners. Nature’s intricate ecosystems provide us with invaluable resources and GWFG uses sustainable actions to conserve these systems. We emphasize responsible resource management, conservation, protection of biodiversity, and a harmonious coexistence with the environment. By embracing sustainable practices, we can preserve the abundance of nature for future generations.

Timber and forestry conservation initiatives to reduce paperboard use.
Reduction of paperboard overall use by re-engineering strength metrics.
Conservation of farm and ranch lands at the animal raising facilities.

Product Design

Product design plays a pivotal role in promoting sustainability by integrating eco-conscious principles throughout the development process. Sustainable product design strives to minimize environmental impact and enhance resource efficiency. It involves selecting eco-friendly materials, reducing energy consumption, and designing products for longevity and recyclability. GWFG embraces sustainable design practices that minimize waste, conserve natural resources, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Redesign of unit packaging and master case to reduce headroom.
Optimize the cube for logistics efficiency.
Designing products to minimize plastic content.
Increasing use of biodegradable materials.


Conventional transportation methods heavily rely on fossil fuels, leading to greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution, and resource depletion. GWFG is utilizing emissions compliant vehicles from forklifts in the warehouse to delivery trucks that reduce carbon use. GWFG is optimizing logistics and supply chain networks to minimize transportation distances and lower energy consumption. Embracing these approaches can pave the way towards a greener future.

GWFG truck fleet has industry leading diesel emissions equipment.
Compliance with Southern California AQMD regulations
TMS system to optimize load & route calculation by reducing carbon footprint.


The utilization of recycled content in both the food contact packaging and the outer shipping cartons is an ongoing initiative. GWFG’s shift towards eco-friendly packaging aims to minimize waste, reduce carbon emissions, and promote recycling. GWFG is following FSC (Forestry Sustainability Council) guidelines for sourcing, conversion, use and recyclability of package materials reducing use of resources.


Use of 30% min. recycled FSC approved renewable paper pulp content in paperboard products.
Box, pallet, and truck package optimization to reduce headspace and lower transport.
JIT and short distance corrugated supply chain reduces carbon footprint.
Sleeve, box carton and pallet Recycling Compliance and Identification.


Creating a sustainable working environment for our valued employees is a vital part of a healthy future. Through daily work at GWFG, employees directly work to conserve resources, reduce waste, and promote eco-friendly initiatives. They actively participate in energy-saving measures, encourage recycling, and advocate for responsible consumption. Moreover, employees can contribute innovative ideas and solutions to address sustainability challenges, fostering a culture of continuous improvement.

Employee training and skill assessment.
Workplace safety.
Environmental monitoring.
Scheduling to reduce carbon commuting usage.
Empty heading
The Reports

GWFG does annual climate and sustainable disclosure to these Global Reporting Schemas.
Since 2012.

GWFG has been reporting progress on our journey to a sustainable future for over a decade (since 2011) with the leading global sustainability reporting schema. We maintain this focus with weekly meetings of top executives that discuss and implement ‘best-in-class’ optimization of our varied processes.

1200px-Carbon_Disclosure_Project_logo 1
Climate Disclourse Project

Golden West Food Group has participated in Global Standardized Sustainability Reporting since 2012. In 2022 CDP contained 2 reports:

1. Climate Change Report

2.Forestry Report

Thesis Sustainability Consortium

Golden West Food Group has participated since 2019 in eight assessment areas including these 4 primary areas:

1. Animal Welfare – Beef

2. Antibiotic Stewardship – Beef

3. Condiments

4. Beef Cow / Calf

image 3
Project Gigaton

Project Gigaton™ is one of the largest private sector consortiums for climate action for suppliers and companies on an emissions reduction journey working toward greater sustainability across these key areas: Energy, Waste, Packaging, Transportation, Nature, Product Use & Design.

Climate Disclourse Project

Global Working Condition Platform. 2021 and 2022 Audits in all GWFG Plants Four Pillars and plant safety and environmental conditions:

1. Labor Standards

2. Health

3. Safety

4. Environment Performance

5. Business Ethics

Anywhere in store.

Our brand and product portfolio and capabilities reach to every aisle and every corner.

GWFG Corporate Environmental Policy

GWFG is committed to reducing our corporate environmental impact across our enterprise including manufacturing, warehousing and logistics as well as upstream to our supply chain and downstream to our wholesale customers.


GWFG encourages working with upstream Suppliers who partner in our efforts to responsibly and sustainably source our ingredients, packaging materials and other goods and services with respect for the air, land, water, biodiversity and people.


GWFG recommends that all Suppliers maintain their own internal environmental policies. We encourage all suppliers to continually work on identifying, assessing, and evaluating their impacts on the air, land, water, biodiversity and people.


GWFG requires that all Suppliers must fully comply with local and national laws and regulations governing the environment including air pollution, energy sourcing, greenhouse gas emissions, waste disposal, sustainable raw material sourcing, biodiversity, land and animal husbandry, recycling, water use and wastewater treatment. GWFG requires all suppliers have the appropriate and valid environmental permits.


GWFG encourages Sustainability Reporting by our suppliers and wholesale customers, using international standards and 3rd party validation where appropriate. GWFG leads by example in reporting.

GWFG Corporate Ethics Policy

GWFG is committed to establishing and maintaining a high level of ethics in all business transactions and relationships across the enterprise including upstream in relationships with Suppliers as well as downstream in relationships with Wholesale Customer and all the way to the end Consumers.


GWFG Ethical Obligations: Employees, Suppliers and Wholesale Customers: All parties to GWFG business transactions need to treat all of their employees ethically, this starts with providing employees with the rights guaranteed to them by the United States Department of Labor. Ethical businesses go above and beyond the minimum requirements in the way that they treat their employees.


For End/Downstream Consumers: All parties to GWFG business transactions need to build ethical consumer level  relationships by providing high quality, safe products and honoring warranties. Consumers are growing more aware of which companies treat them fairly, and they will support the ones they trust.


For Local Communities: All parties to GWFG business transactions have an ethical obligation to be involved in their local communities. This includes supporting these communities where the parties interact with customers and the local communities where their operations are located.  


Ethical Responsibilities of all parties to GWFG business transactions: Ethical organizations need to address different areas of responsibility and consider the social ramifications of their actions. Legal/Social Ethics: responsible companies are obligated to meet legal requirements that govern their industries including health and safety standards and fair treatment of employees fall under this type of responsibility.  Financial Ethics: Financial responsibility is more than turning a profit. Financial ethics covers everything from fair salaries to fair payments for raw materials and services, and offering fair prices to their customers, included anti-bribery practices.


Basic pillars of Ethics for the GWFG business associated parties: Trust: Customers and employees react better to a company they trust and they feel trusts and respects them. Clarity: Make sure that all documents, codes, principles are clear and easy to understand. Accurate Records: Keep all records and accounting up-to-date and above suspicion.

GWFG Animal Welfare Policy

Animal welfare is an important issue to GWFG and our suppliers, customers, and employees. GWFG aims to offer high-quality, affordable protein-based food product to the wholesale market, while maintaining a high standard of animal care and welfare in our supply chain. GWFG has a long-standing commitment to responsible business practices, including the humane treatment of animals, rooted in our Company. We evaluate and update our Animal Welfare Policy as needed and based on current animal welfare research. GWFG is committed to continuous improvement in animal welfare and participates in various industry groups to facilitate maintaining best practices. GWFG believes that animals should be treated humanely throughout their lives, from breeding to housing and care, and to transport and processing. Violations of our policies or acts of abuse are not tolerated by GWFG.



GWFG’s primary focus remains advancing animal welfare for laying hens, pigs, broiler chickens, and beef and dairy cattle. While GWFG is not directly involved in raising or the processing of any animals, GWFG is committed to protecting the welfare of animals in our supply chain. GWFG recognizes best practices for animal care continue to evolve based on research and industry standards. As a result, GWFG continues to work with suppliers and industry associations to stay current. GWFG sets responsible sourcing goals to advance positive changes in our food system and supply chain:



While there is no single agreed-upon industry standard for pig housing, GWFG encourages suppliers to use best industry standard practices with regard to pig health, welfare and breeding, and that at the same time protect workers and preserve access to affordable fresh pork. GWFG asks fresh pork suppliers to ensure that these standards are in place for production facilities.



GWFG strives to promote high-welfare practices among suppliers raising chickens as an affordable fresh protein option for customers. GWFG’s current goal is to achieve industry standard practices in Chicken raising, health, welfare and environment.



GWFG’s supply chain is from suppliers where we routinely work closely with them to advance animal welfare for cattle in our beef supply chain all the way from breeding, pasture raising, feed operations, processor operations to the boxed beef products we purchase as input materials for our manufacturing plant. GWFG works with suppliers regarding beef certifications and standards.


Animal Testing

GWFG does not conduct animal testing in our manufacturing operations, nor do we require or request that our contract suppliers conduct animal testing on products they produce for us.


Proactive Measures

GWFG monitors developments in animal welfare across the industry. If GWFG receives information of alleged mistreatment of animals in our supply chain, we actively engage the suppliers to address the concerns using best management protocols and response methodology. GWFG encourages all suppliers to disclose data to GWFG and discuss goals and progress on any issues.ommitment

GWFG Biodiversity Policy

GWFG commits to innovation and sourcing practices that contribute to a world in which people and biodiversity thrive. GWFG commits to ingredient supply chains that have measures in place that contribute to sustainable use and conservation of biodiversity. GWFG strives to achieve compliance with the high Biodiversity standards in supply chains and lead in the path to continuous improvement in biodiversity within production and sourcing practices.

Assignment of responsibilities for Biodiversity at GWFG. The Chief Sustainability Officer is the company lead for Biodiversity. Additional Biodiversity team members include the Chief Quality Officer  and the VP Purchasing. The responsibilities of this team include evaluating raw material suppliers for their efforts to consider biodiversity in their raw materials sourcing and processing. Then engaging the suppliers to encourage and inform them of the GWFG Biodiversity goals.

Goal 1: One of the main goals of GWFG Biodiversity plan is to promote actions by suppliers that encourage farming practices and cultivation that accommodates maintaining the current biodiversity of a farm ranch or forest, while also ensuring its regeneration and future use.

Goal 2: Goal is to reduce negative impacts of biodiversity loss. Reducing the degradation or destruction of ecosystems, habitats and other areas of production; Reduction of the overexploitation and contamination of natural resources and species endangerment. Build programs with suppliers that encourage conservation.

Goal 3: Goal is to promote positive impacts of biodiversity increase, including all drivers of biodiversity restoration, maintenance and promotion of ecosystems and habitats. Encouraging the genetic diversity of materials from plant and animal origin used in GWFG products. Included are forests, rangeland, farmland, fallow land, soils and wetlands.

Goal 4: Goal is to build a GWFG ingredients and raw materials supply chain that involves buying and processing companies, suppliers, ranchers, foresters and farmers. Given their different roles and relation to biodiversity, each one of these actors may identify and select specific tasks that will be their responsibility.

Goal 5: Goal is to encourage conservation and husbandry of Ecosystems (wetlands, forests, meadows and mountains), semi-natural habitats (ecological corridors, fallow land, hedges, shrubs, trees, ravines, streams and ditches), and water bodies (oceans, ponds, lakes, swamps, rivers, and springs). Conservation of species to increase native, protected and endangered species.

Goal 6: Goal is promoting the use of native and endangered crops. Respect the regeneration rates and phenological cycles of the used crops. Practice best use case for fertilizers and pest control. Institute conservation in irrigation practices and water management. Give guidance on good waste management habits. Reduction of soil loss. Protection of natural and semi-natural ecosystems. Creation of priority areas for biodiversity.  Establishment of natural structures to promote relevant species. Establishment of wildlife corridors. Apply crop rotation and seeding activities that promote Biodiversity.  Utilize ranching land use practices that promote Biodiversity.

Goal 7: Goal is to reduce Alien species (A species, subspecies or lower taxon, introduced outside its natural distribution); Increase Beneficial insects (Beneficial insects are insects that have positive effects on a garden or landscape, as they aid in pollination and in some cases serve as natural pesticides.) Encourage Biodiversity corridors (a gallery, passage or area connecting other areas with each other). Promote Cover crops (Crops which are sown for agroecological purposes, such as containing soil erosion, controlling pests or enriching the soil with nutrients). Activating on Crop rotation (Different crops grown in succession in the same field to reduce risks of pests and diseases or to add nitrogen to the soil).  Give emphasis to High Conservation Value Areas (High Conservation Value Areas (HCVAs) are natural habitats, which are of outstanding significance or critical importance due to their high biological or ecological value).  Promote Rehabilitation (The recovery of specific ecosystem services in a degraded ecosystem or habitat) and Restoration (The return of an ecosystem or habitat to its original community structure, natural complement of species, and natural functions).


Supplier Compliance

GWFG requests our suppliers to comply with making climate related goals that are based on a science-based emissions reduction target.

GWFG Cattle and Ranchland Policy

GWFG is Committed to Sustainability Cattle Husbandry and Ranchland Conservation – GWFG corporate policy on sustainable practices in cattle husbandry and ranchland conservation.

At GWFG, we manufacture food products with and encourage our suppliers of cattle to enact the following policies regarding the cattle and the ranchland where they live.

Cattle and Ranchland: GWFG is committed to supporting our suppliers in improving the livestock sector’s contribution to sustainable development.

We promote environmentally friendly practices in response to the growing demand for animal protein. This includes encouraging the adoption of resilient land and water management practices, promoting energy efficiency in beef and dairy supply chains, and implementing sustainable waste management on ranch lands.

We challenge our suppliers to adopt efficient production practices that prioritize animal health and reduce environmental impact.  By providing sufficient nutrition and ensuring good animal and land husbandry, we can enhance animal health, reduce unproductive animals and emissions, and improve birth rates. These efforts contribute to lowering greenhouse gas emissions and promoting a more sustainable and efficient production process.

Overall, GWFG is dedicated to working collaboratively with our ranchers and cattle suppliers to implement sustainable animal and land practices that promote environmental stewardship, we strive to maximize conservation of the environment.

GWFG Emissions Target Policy

GWFG is Committed to Reducing Emissions – GWFG corporate policy on emissions targets.

At GWFG, our primary goal is to increase the consumption of low-carbon energy obtained from our electricity provider, the City of Vernon Power Department as part of our overall emission target plan. Presently, our electricity is generated through a combination of Hydroelectric, Solar, Wind, and other traditional sources. However, we are actively encouraging our local power company to raise the percentage of low-carbon energy sources in their power generation to supply our plant. The GWFG emissions plan calls for the increasing use of low-carbon energy use at our food manufacturing facilities. The plan includes periodic outreach and meetings with our power suppliers. This is a science based target plan. This is a company-wide electric plan with no exclusions.

To achieve this, GWFG’s Chief Sustainability Officer has engaged in direct discussions with the City of Vernon power executives, including the director and their sustainability officer. We have passionately advocated for the incorporation of higher percentages of low-carbon energy in our power supply. Emphasizing the importance of climate-related goals and progress, we have urged the city to take decisive action in favor of more sustainable energy sources.

By collaborating closely with the City of Vernon, we strive to influence the energy mix delivered to our plant, aiming to transition to a greater reliance on renewable energy and reduce our carbon footprint. Supporting low-carbon energy initiatives aligns with GWFG’s commitment to environmental stewardship.

As a responsible corporate citizen, we recognize the importance of driving change at the local level, starting with the energy we consume. By actively engaging with our electricity provider, GWFG seeks to inspire a shift towards cleaner and greener energy sources, contributing to the broader efforts in combating climate change.

By working in partnership with the City of Vernon Power Department, we demonstrate our commitment to making a positive impact on the environment and accelerating the transition to a low-carbon future. We believe that collective action and collaboration between the private sector and local governments are essential to achieving meaningful and lasting change in sustainability and climate goals. At GWFG, we are dedicated to being at the forefront of these efforts, setting an example for others in the industry and beyond.

GWFG Forestry Policy

GWFG is Committed to Forestry

GWFG corporate policy on sustainable practices in food manufacturing related to forestry and timber products.

At GWFG, we manufacture food products with a focus on sustainable practices throughout our supply chain, from suppliers upstream to consumers and final disposition downstream including forestry and timber products.


It is our policy to assist, encourage and support our packaging suppliers in managing forests sustainably to ensure the production of wood and wood products that enter our supply chain.

We aim to meet our customers needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs.  To achieve this, we work with paperboard suppliers that have independently certified forest practices aligned with the principles of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative Forest Management standard.

We promote compliance with applicable forestry laws and regulations, encourage sustainable harvesting rates, and emphasize prompt reforestation after harvest.

Our suppliers are encouraged to maintain healthy forests, minimize losses from wildfire and pests, and protect soil stability and water quality through responsible practices.

We also support the conservation of wildlife habitats and biodiversity.

Overall, GWFG is dedicated to working collaboratively with our suppliers to implement sustainable forestry practices and by aligning our policies and practices with environmental stewardship, we strive to minimize our ecological footprint and contribute to a more sustainable future.


GWFG International Human Rights Policy

GWFG is committed to a comprehensive policy supporting Human Rights in the International area.

GWFG supports the United Nations General Assembly’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), agreed to in 1948, it is a comprehensive list of inalienable human rights. In December 1966, the UN General Assembly adopted the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). These documents set out international goals for the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights that are important to all people.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Article 1 All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Article 2 Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.

30 Articles Total

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

ICCPR Rights: Freedom from discrimination, Right to equality between men and women, Right to life, Freedom from torture, Freedom from slavery, Right to liberty and security of person, Right to be treated with humanity in detention, Freedom of movement, Right to fair trial, Right to recognition before the law, Right to privacy, Freedom of religion and belief, Freedom of expression, Right of peaceful assembly, Freedom of association, Right to participate in public affairs, Right to equality before the law, Minority rights.

GWFG Slavery and Human Trafficking Policy

GWFG is Committed to a workplace and dealing with suppliers who enforce strict policies against slavery and human trafficking.

At GWFG, we manufacture food products and within our workplaces we have a strict policy that does not tolerate slavery or human trafficking, and we require that all of our suppliers adhere to the same strict policies.  GWFG believes it is our responsibility to do our part to eradicate slavery and human trafficking. We require the same ethical conduct from all our employees  and all of our suppliers. GWFG takes steps to help ensure modern slavery and human trafficking do not occur in our business.  The policy follows five Principles:

Slavery and Human Trafficking: We do not tolerate the use of slavery, child labor, forced labor, or human trafficking in any form in our organization or supplier companies. We prohibit the employment of underage children or forced labor, including slave labor, prison labor, indentured servitude, or bonded labor, as well as any form of abuse including use of force or other means for exploiting them.

Global Supply Chain: We expect third parties throughout our global supply chain to support human rights. We outline in our Supplier Onboarding Process – that we expect all companies we do business with to compensate their employees in accordance with all applicable laws, not to employ underage children or forced labor or allow any form of physical punishment or abuse. All supplier companies must take steps to ensure that slavery and human trafficking are not taking place within their organization or organizations with which they work.

Freedoms: We support freedom of workers to terminate employment, freedom of movement, and freedom of association. We prohibit any threat of violence, harassment and intimidation, prohibit the use of worker-paid recruitment fees, prohibit compulsory overtime, prohibit discrimination, and prohibit confiscation of workers’ original identification documents.

Recruitment and Hiring: We have recruitment and hiring processes to safeguard against slavery, human trafficking or forced labor. All employment procedures are thoroughly vetted and comply with all applicable laws.

Enforcement: Any employee who is found to have violated this Policy may face disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment, in accordance with and as permitted by applicable laws. Contractors and organizations with whom D&B has a contractual relationship will face termination of our contractual relationship and other remedies available under the applicable contract for violations of this Policy.


As part of our supplier onboarding process GWFG requires compliance with provisions of our Supplier Approval Letter. In the letter it states that suppliers pledge that they are in conformance with this provision.

Learn More

Please inquire for more information about our sustainability efforts

Let’s make something great together.