It is with great excitement that I share our JBS USA 2021 Sustainability Update, the first I’ve had the pleasure of participating in as CEO. As we continue to lead the industry as champions of high-quality food production, I’m proud to showcase here our equally ambitious commitment to being a leading corporate citizen.
With regard to our signature initiatives, our Better Futures program continues to grow, and more employees and their families are embracing the opportunity for a tuition-free higher education. Over 3,250 have signed up to date, and we’re eager to see the impact this program has on our team members’ lives, and on our business.
Hometown Strong has seen similar growth, with over $50 million invested in more than 230 projects throughout our communities to date. From STEM labs to soccer fields, multicultural refugee and immigrant learning centers to employee housing and daycare, hospitals, community kitchens, and more, our commitment to enriching the places where we operate is on full display, and JBS is creating positive change in rural communities across the country every single day.
As the first major meat and poultry company in the world to set a net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions target, we’re also investing in environmental improvements throughout our organization like never before. To date, we’ve fully approved over 130 GHG-saving capital expenditure projects in JBS USA facilities and have another 126 in the pipeline for approval. Beyond our direct operations, we’ve approved nine collaborative projects with leading universities, multi-stakeholder associations, and producer partners to further our Scope 3 reductions strategy and net-zero efforts throughout our value chain.
To further demonstrate the impact of these initiatives, we completed our first sustainability-linked bond audit this year, tracking our commitment to reduce Scope 1 and Scope 2 GHG emission intensity 30% by 2030. Compared to our 2019 benchmark, we’ve achieved an 8% decrease in GHG emission intensity, while also lowering our absolute emissions by 10%. With total Scope 1, 2, and 3 GHG reduction investments approaching $92 million to date, we’re on our way to helping ensure that the planet and our food system are sustained long into the future.
While our goals are constantly evolving, our mission—to be the best in all that we do—does not change. That sentiment is echoed in our collective ESG efforts.
Thank you for your ongoing support, and I look forward to keeping you updated on our progress.