MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA, U.S. — Cargill has exceeded the Chicago Climate Exchange's (CCX) required 5% greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) reduction target for calendar year 2009 (the latest reporting year for which the data has been verified), Cargill announced on Nov. 16.

Cargill reduced its GHG emissions at its U.S. facilities by 12%. During calendar year 2008, Cargill achieved a 7.8% reduction. Cargill has now met every annual CCX reduction milestone since 2003.

Cargill made a voluntary but legally binding commitment to reduce absolute GHG emissions from its primary U.S. locations by joining the Chicago Climate Exchange.

While the slow economy had a role in 2009, Cargill also credits the progress to efforts to improve energy efficiency and increased use of renewable energy sources at its corn milling, meat, salt and oilseeds facilities throughout the U.S.

For example, at its beef and pork plants, Cargill reclaims methane from its waste water lagoons and turns it into biogas to fuel its plant boilers. Biogas now displaces 20% to 25% of natural gas demand at all eight of Cargill's U.S. meat processing plants. Cargill is also implementing behavior-based energy savings programs, a system which engages employees in recognizing and eliminating energy inefficiencies.

"Climate change is a priority for Cargill, our customers, our stakeholders and the communities in which we do business," said Cargill Environment, Health and Safety Vice-President LaRaye Osborne. "As part of these efforts, we are actively engaged in supporting development of efficient carbon trading markets and in building understanding of the relationship of climate change and agricultural and food systems."