Flowers Foods is committed to ensuring our impact on the environment around us is paramount in all our operational decisions. That’s why we’re applying sustainability processes to all aspects of our business. From working hard to reduce our manufacturing emissions and carbon footprint through logistics, to exploring ways to prevent waste of water, packaging, energy, and other resources.

Be sure to download our latest corporate responsibility report to read more on our environmental efforts.


Flowers recognizes that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases (GHG) can have an adverse impact on global temperatures, weather patterns, and the frequency and severity of extreme weather and natural disasters. We seek to reduce emissions through a combination of energy awareness and efficiency upgrades.

Energy Strategy

Our energy strategy consists of three actionable pillars:

1. Track

We use an online energy management program to track energy use and emissions 24/7 at all our facilities – bakeries, distribution centers, and warehouses. Any unusual change in energy consumption that may warrant an investigation triggers an alert, notifying the facility’s management.

2. Integrate

We improve energy efficiency by looking for ways to incorporate energy-saving measures when upgrading equipment, installing new production lines, or designing new projects.

3. Share

We want our team to be energy smart. We regularly communicate best practices from around the company and celebrate energy successes with the entire Flowers team.

Manufacturing Emissions Intensity

manufacturing emissions intensity graph

Energy Initiatives

Flowers Foods has three important focus areas in our efforts to conserve energy:


A large part of reducing our energy footprint is upgrading lighting in our facilities. Since 2015, Flowers has installed LED lighting at over 35 of our 45 bakeries. The new LED fixtures reduce energy use and offer the added benefits of improving lighting levels and reducing heat emission. When renewing warehouse leases, we request LED lighting upgrades and repairs to improve those buildings’ overall energy efficiency.

We upgraded 90+ fixtures with LED lights and motion sensors at one Ohio distribution center. This single action will reduce annual emissions by 167 metric tons of CO2e, equivalent to over 400,000 miles driven by a passenger vehicle.

Compressed Air

We continue to upgrade compressed air systems to reduce energy use. These improvements involve installing systems with variable frequency drives, redesigning piping and air nozzles, and repairing air leaks.

Heat Recovery

Flowers reuses waste heat from ovens at many of our bakeries. For example, our bakery in Lewiston, Maine, captures waste heat to heat water and warm the building during the winter, saving approximately 217 metric tons of CO2e. We also installed heat recovery as part of a bakery upgrade project in Lynchburg, Virginia, in 2020/2021. Waste heat is used for other processes throughout the bakery, eliminating the need for boilers

Case Study: Lynchburg Organic Baking Co.

As we invest in our operations – whether it’s new bakeries, production lines, or upgrades to existing equipment – sustainability and predictability features are integral to the design process.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Better Plants Program recognized Flowers with a Better Project Award at its 2021 Better Buildings, Better Plants Summit. The award recognizes companies for outstanding accomplishments in implementing industrial energy, water, and waste projects at individual facilities, and Flowers was honored for the successful conversion of our Lynchburg, Virginia, facility into an energy-efficient organic bakery.

Energy-saving features included:

A new high-efficiency oven and heat recovery system,

  • A new refrigeration system that saves water and energy and eliminates the need for a cooling tower,
  • An energy-efficient air compressor requiring half the horsepower of the previous device,
  • Installation of LED lights throughout the facility that save energy and reduce heat,
  • A new pan cooler, and
  • Enclosed dual cooling towers.

The upgraded sustainability features at the plant are expected to reduce annual energy use by 22%.

Partnerships & Recognition

Energy Star Certification

Thirteen Flowers bakeries earned the EPA’s ENERGY STAR certification in 2021. More than half scored in the top 10 percent of similar U.S. facilities for energy efficiency and meeting strict EPA-established performance levels. ENERGY STAR certification requires a bakery to score in the top 25 percent of all U.S. commercial bread and roll bakeries for improving energy performance through best practices and cost-effective improvements. 30% of our bakeries are Energy Star Certified.

energy star partner logo

These are the Flowers bakeries that earned ENERGY STAR certification in 2021:

  • Dave’s Killer Bread
  • Flowers Baking Co. of Batesville
  • Flowers Baking Co. of Bradenton
  • Flowers Baking Co. of El Paso
  • Flowers Baking Co. of Henderson
  • Flowers Baking Co. of Houston
  • Flowers Baking Co. of Modesto
  • Flowers Baking Co. of New Orleans
  • Flowers Baking Co. of Norfolk
  • Flowers Baking Co. of Tyler
  • Holsum Bakery of Tolleson
  • Lepage Bakeries Park Street
  • Mesa Organic Baking Co.
  • Tuscaloosa Organic Baking Co.

2022 ENERGY STAR certified facilities were announced in February 2023 – read the announcement here.

DOE’s Better Plants Program

better plants program logo

Since 2019, Flowers has been a member of the DOE’s Better Plants Program. This voluntary public-private partnership helps manufacturers set longterm efficiency goals, by providing technical assistance, tools, and networking opportunities to help companies meet energy goals.

Progress Since 2015

2025 Environmental Goals
  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions 20% per metric ton of product
  • Reduce water use 20% per metric ton of product
  • Achieve zero waste to landfill (98% or greater diversion) company-wide
  • Source 100% RSPO-certified palm oil for all cake products and achieve RSPO Supply Chain Certification for all cake bakeries

*Compared to 2015 Baseline

Reduction in Greenhouse Emissions
Reduction in Water Usage
Reduction in Solid Waste to Landfill
Source RSPO-Certified Palm Oil


Through our direct-store delivery (DSD) network, Flowers ships fresh bakery foods from bakeries to warehouses where they are picked up by independent distributor partners for delivery to retail and foodservice customers. Our sustainability and logistics teams look for ways to reduce the carbon footprint when traveling beyond our standard radius.

In 2021, we consolidated our delivering days from 5-day to 4-day distribution, eliminating trucks on the road one day per week.


Flowers continues to take advantage of existing backhauls to reduce mileage. Backhauls are the return trip of trucks to the bakeries after a delivery. For example, when we deliver products to the West Coast, we use the return trip to transport ingredients back to our bakeries on the East Coast. We also use backhauls to transport sales displays, pallets, and trays.

Using back hauls to transport other materials avoids fuel waste and improves operational efficiency. By maximizing our existing transport, we reduce mileage and environmental impact.

MGP Improvement

In 2021, we partnered with our largest DSD third-party transportation provider to test and secure new power equipment for half of their current fleet with us. By purchasing this new equipment, we improved our average miles per gallon (MPG) by 18% and used approximately 360,000 gallons less diesel fuel.

Water Stewardship

Water is critical to the long-term health and vitality of people, communities, and ecosystems. It also is essential to Flowers’ operations. We are committed to applying water stewardship principles to all aspects of our business. Our approach consists of the following focus areas:


Nurture a culture where sound water stewardship and operational excellence is “business as usual.”

Key Ingredients & Suppliers

Use resources, knowledge, and expertise to facilitate improvements in water stewardship within the company’s supply chain.

Community & Watersheds

Understand water demand and discharge in relation to the conditions of communities and watersheds where Flowers bakeries operate.

Manufacturing Water Use

manufacturing water use graph

Water Risks & Initiatives

Flowers’ bakeries depend on water as an ingredient and for cleaning. We have identified bakeries with high water risks and are taking action to mitigate those risks.

Since 2016, Flowers has participated in the annual CDP Water Program, a public disclosure of the company’s water use that provides insight for investors, customers, non-governmental organizations, and others interested in how companies manage water risks.


Flowers evaluates current and potential water availability at bakery locations using the World Business Council for Sustainable Development’s Global Water Tool (WBSCD), the World Resources Institute (WRI) Aqueduct, and a third-party consultant.



Flowers monitors monthly water consumption across all bakeries and alerts management of any unusual changes in water usage. Bakeries also have access to Flowers’ energy management website and can regularly track their facility’s water consumption. Some take on-site meter readings to monitor water use more frequently and verify invoices.



There are limited opportunities to reuse water in baking processes. When possible, we reuse water for equipment that does not come into direct contact with food products, such as cooling towers. Flowers is exploring ways to expand water metering to improve tracking and help quantify water reuse.


Training & Recognition

Flowers shares best practices through multiple internal communication platforms, including team meetings, email, and intranet features.


Supply Chain

Flowers analyzes water risks across the majority of our wheat and sugar growing regions. Wheat and sugar are two key commodities required for the manufacture of most Flowers products.

As a CDP Supply Chain member, we requested that ingredient suppliers respond to the CDP Water Program in 2021. These suppliers represent more than 75% of Flowers’ annual ingredient spend. We will use this information to better understand potential water risks in our supply chain.

Waste & Recycling

Improving our recycling initiatives is central to our overall waste reduction. Since bringing the management of waste and recycling services in-house in 2018, we have gained insight into our waste at our bakeries, warehouses, and thrift stores, and are identifying additional opportunities for diversion.

Flowers’ sustainability team provides the following waste/recycling support to bakeries:

  • Virtual dumpster surveys
  • Site-specific best practices and solutions
  • On-demand training on material handling
  • Equipment technical support
  • Reporting of waste streams and costs
Company-Wide Diversion Rate

10x20x30 Food Waste Reduction Initiative

In September 2020, Flowers joined the 10x20x30 food waste initiative. Led by a group of the world’s biggest food retailers and providers, the program offers training and technical assistance to help suppliers reduce food loss and waste in their operations.

Recycling Initiatives

Flowers partners with external organizations to reduce waste and make donations.

Site Assessments

Flowers conducts site assessments to identify potential recycling savings and improvements. As a result, we have invested in waste equipment, such as balers and compactors, to improve recycling efforts at several bakeries.


Special Recycling

In 2020, we launched a company-wide battery recycling program and expanded our ink and cartridge recycling program to all locations. These initiatives provide containers with pre-paid shipping labels. Once containers are filled and properly packaged, they are mailed to the vendor for recycling. Proceeds are donated to local charities.


Compactor Monitors

Flowers operates compactor monitors at many bakeries. The monitors automatically notify waste haulers when a pickup is needed. These devices provide intelligent monitoring and maximize container capacity to reduce the number of hauls.



Some Flowers warehouses and distribution centers utilize existing relays to return cardboard and stale to central locations for collection and baling. At high-volume warehouses and distribution centers, we have bulk collection systems for both cardboard and stale retrieved from the market.


Recyclable Packaging

All of our product bags are 100% recyclable. Over the years, we have right-sized and down-gauged in an effort to use less material and we continue to explore other avenues to reduce material consumption.


Waste Reduction Pilot Program

Flowers participates in a waste reduction pilot with the DOE’s 20 other Better Plants partners to collectively set, track, and meet waste reduction goals. The pilot will help determine how to expand the program to support other DOE partners.


Palm Oil

Flowers Foods is committed to using responsibly sourced palm oil in its cake products and purchases palm oil that is certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).  Flowers Foods has been an RSPO member since 2014 and our cake bakeries are RSPO supply chain certified.