In a world where navigating the carbon jungle is often considered as ‘just too hard’, a 100 year-old family firm has been rewarded for getting excited about sustainability.
Last week Ferguson Plarre Bakehouses took out the Environment and Energy Management Award at NAB Agribusiness Awards for Excellence for demonstrating that sound fiscal management and strategies for protecting the environment can work together successfully in business.
The company won the title for its ground-breaking food manufacturing plant and its demonstrated commitment to running a sustainable operation, to the benefit of business and the community.
Ferguson Plarre Bakehouses co-director, Steven Plarre, said the award confirmed that his company’s commitment to the environment ‘made sense’.
“Who would have thought that an energy-intensive business like a bakery could find a way to go green – and be successful at it?” he said.
“Given the financial and environmental benefits, our decision to bake our products within a sustainability framework was a no-brainer.
“We made a decision to do business in a way that benefited our business, our customers and, ultimately, the world in which we all live.”
“Well we have, and we have brought our staff and our supply chain along with us on a journey to a smaller carbon footprint – a journey that’s only just begun.”
“Our continuing goal is to future-proof our business, and we are well on our way to that.
“By harnessing the waste heat from our refrigeration systems, redistributing heat recovered from freshly baked products, employing hybrid vehicle technologies and offsetting the remaining emissions via tree planting, we have reduced our carbon footprint by over 5,000 tonnes of CO² annually.
“And our savings in electricity alone paid for our investment in the very first year,” Plarre said.
He said the company’s newest Melbourne bakery showcased sustainable business growth policy in action.
The new plant was the result of 10 years research, conducted in Australia and overseas, with the ultimate aim of building the most efficient, environmentally-friendly, people-friendly bakery possible.
Highlights achieved since establishing the bakery just 18 months ago include:
1. Hot water generation for cake production using waste heat captured from the refrigeration plant. Results: a 76% reduction in gas per m2 (equal to 646 tonnes of CO2).
2. Use of heat recovered from freshly baked products to heat the main production area in winter and the elimination of ‘heat bleed’ into refrigerated & climate controlled areas have resulted in savings of 2,734 tonnes of GHG annually.
3. Introduction of Victoria’s first commercial diesel hybrid truck with support from Sustainability Victoria (SV).
4. Reduction in cardboard wastage of over 50% has resulted in 65 tonnes of GHG eliminated from the processes p.a.
5. Current rainwater capture from the roof results in approximate savings of over 625,000 litres p.a.
6. Planting of over 14,000 trees to offset all tier 1 and 2 emissions resulting in carbon capture of over 3,780 tonnes of CO2 over the trees’ lifespan.
7. SCADA equipment control and monitoring: corporate environmental and social responsibility policies are now integral to all operational management meetings and SCADA provides vital information for management to identify energy-intensive processes and reduce their impact.