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Sustainable action greening supply chain

By Jane Byrne , 27-Jun-2008

Sustainable growth is proving to be a key concern for all players in the food supply chain, with a report this week from Danisco on its waste and energy saving initiatives and a US dairy industry-wide action plan on carbon emissions.

The Danish food ingredients supplier, Danisco, in its Sustainability Report 2007, claims that it has continued to minimise its environmental impact through investments in cleaner production, water conservation and energy savings.

Sustainability reporting is becoming the way many companies are reinforcing the trust of consumers and expanding their competitive advantage against other market players.

Jette Hansen, environmental manager in the food ingredient manufacturer's sustainable development section told FoodProductionDaily.com that a reduction in energy costs is one of the manufacturer's key targets.

She said that a working group was set up in 2007 to determine which of the processor's production sites were consuming the most energy.

"The 11 largest enablers and sweeteners sites account for 91.5 per cent of energy consumption. These sites will be the primary focus of our efforts to minimise energy costs in the short-term," said Hansen.

Hansen added that Danisco's collaboration with Danfoss Solutions, a company which specialises in energy-saving solutions for large industrial consumers, has already shown potential for energy savings and carbon dioxide (CO2) reduction of 10 per cent.

Supply chain action
US dairy leaders announced an industry-wide initiative this week aimed at reducing the carbon footprint of milk production.

Their action plan is the outcome of the US dairy industry's first sustainability summit with 250 producers, processors, non-governmental organisations, university researchers and government gathering last week to discuss how to make the industry more sustainable.

The plan focuses on operational efficiencies throughout the supply chain and innovations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while ensuring financial viability and industry growth.

Low-carbon packaging

The plan also encourages the development of low-cost, low-carbon packaging for dairy products and to reduce the need for refrigeration by developing new packaging and products.

Energy use in the milk supply chain can be cut through developing technologies for next generation milk processing on the farm and in the plant, claims the industry leaders.

The industry summit also called for a reduction in carbon emissions and increased energy efficiency for dairy farmers and processors through viable best management practices and the use of alternative energies.

UK roadmap
The UK's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) in conjunction with industry group Dairy UK and other stakeholders, set out a roadmap in May aimed at reducing the industry's carbon footprint.

These targets include a timeline on cutting CO2 emissions and water use related to milk production, while also agreeing not to send any factory produced waste to landfill sites by 2020.