Sustainability in the Food and Beverage Industry
Global, National and Local Challenges and Opportunities
The food and beverage sector is a significant presence in the nation's economy in measure of size, value, workers, and growth. A 2017 report by the Committee for Economic Development estimates that the U.S. food and beverage industry accounted for $1.46 million employees and an annual payroll of $54.7 billion in 2012.1 These numbers amount to approximately 13 percent of all U.S. manufacturing employment in 2017, up from 9 percent in 2001.2 Although a general decline in the number of large manufacturing facilities has been observed across the United States in recent years, the food processing industry has been an exception, with the number of food plants employing more than 1,000 workers growing in 2015 as compared to prior years.2 With tens of thousands of food and beverage facilities, many of them very large, the food and beverage sector plays a major role in our nation's economy--so too in our nation's environment.
This article appears in the December 2017 issue of EM Magazine, a copyrighted publication of the Air & Waste Management Association (A&WMA; www.awma.org).