Smithfield Foods

Challenge: For more than a decade, Smithfield Foods has been building a reputation as one of the most responsible companies in its industry. The company wanted a reporting approach that would communicate its progress and address controversial industry issues.

BuzzWord Solution: Since 2007, BuzzWord has helped Smithfield stay on the cutting edge of reporting. In 2012, BuzzWord helped Smithfield transition to an Integrated Report approach that links financial and sustainability performance, including a focus on how Smithfield creates value across all of its material issues. BuzzWord also helped Smithfield evolve its GRI reporting to stay current with the latest GRI standards and conducts regular stakeholder-based materiality assessments to further refine and focus reporting on the company’s most important issues. Smithfield issues its report using an innovative corporate responsibility microsite that combines high-level, engaging and interactive sustainability information with more detailed GRI-focused information of importance to the company’s broad range of stakeholders.

External Recognition:

  • Smithfield Foods CEO Ken Sullivan recognized as CR Magazine’s Responsible CEO of the Year, 2107
  • Winner, Innovation in Reporting; first runner-up, Openness and Honesty; first runner-up, Best Integrated Report, CR Reporting Awards 2017
  • Multiple recognitions for Innovation in Reporting, Best Integrated Report and Openness and Honesty, CR Reporting Awards 2013-2016
  • Winner, Openness and Honesty; first runner-up, Best Integrated Report, CR Reporting Awards 2012

GRI Status:

  • 2017 report: GRI Standards Core, Materiality Disclosures check, use of Food Processing Sector Supplement
  • 2015 and 2016 reports: GRI G4 Core, GRI Materiality Disclosures check, use of Food Processing Sector Supplement
  • 2014 report: GRI-checked G3 A, use of Food Processing Sector Supplement
  • 2013 report: GRI-checked G3 A
  • 2007/08 through 2012 reports: GRI-checked G3 B


  • Reporting strategy
  • Materiality analysis
  • Content development
  • Reporting framework analysis, including GRI and Integrated Report

We have worked with BuzzWord for so long now that we consider them an extension of our team. They understand the nuances of Smithfield Foods – how we operate, how we think – to the point where they anticipate what we need to do to advance our sustainability reporting, including helping us transition to integrated reporting. Our company moves quickly and never stays static. But BuzzWord adapts with us and provides insight, expertise and creative approaches to ensure that our reporting stays current, fresh, and engaging.

Stewart Leeth

Vice President of Regulatory Affairs and Chief Sustainability Officer, Smithfield Foods

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