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Sustainability: How food and drink businesses can succeed

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

Due to climate change, embracing sustainability is no longer a matter of choice for businesses. Mounting public pressure and government legislations means companies big and small are having to make essential changes to become more sustainable.

This is particularly true for energy and carbon-intensive industries like food and drink manufacturing. As the largest manufacturing sector in the UK and fourth-highest industrial energy user in the country they have a vital role to play. And with global population figures expected to reach 9.3 billion by 2050, the industry will need to manage a 50-70% upsurge in food demand.

Latest figures show the industry is making good progress, highlighted by the Food and Drink Federation (FDF). Statistics show its members achieved a significant 53.2% reduction in CO2 emissions compared to figures from 1990.

For the businesses that already see sustainability as a vital part of their operation, the environment isn’t the only thing benefitting. Many are seeing a positive impact on their bottom line too. Barclays research shows that 75% of UK businesses commercially benefit from going green.

Against this backdrop, dairy energy supplier Flogas Britain looks at why it makes perfect business sense for food and drink manufacturers to adopt a sustainable strategy.

Improved energy efficiency

As some of the country’s highest energy users, it’s no surprise that fuel is the primary source of their greenhouse gas emissions. In some cases, energy accounts for more than 15% of expenditure costs. This shows that, not only can businesses reduce their carbon footprint, but they can make good cost savings too.

With many businesses that are off the main gas grid still reliant on fossil fuels like oil, a switch to cleaner, greener fuels like liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) or liquefied natural gas (LNG) can be the perfect solution for reducing their carbon footprint and potentially cutting costs.

Waste reduction

Food and drink manufacturing generates high volumes of waste through the products themselves and the packaging they use. WRAP statistics show that the UK produces food waste worth £1.1 billion annually — a staggering fact that needs to drop dramatically.

Food waste isn’t just bad for the planet though, it can be bad for business too.  The FDF’s ‘Ambition 2025 – Shaping Sustainable Value Chains,’ has set a goal for the industry to send zero food waste to landfill and minimise waste across the entire supply chain.

Packaging is another topic high on the list of sustainable priorities. Food and drink manufacturers account for two-thirds of the EU’s waste packaging by weight, so the fight to reduce the reliance on plastic is a big challenge.

Investment in packaging innovation can have a positive impact on the environment and to profit margins. Packaging optimisation can help eliminate waste, cut carbon emissions and create efficiencies that save time and money.

Attract talent and investors

It’s not just consumers who are curious about a company’s sustainability efforts. Strong eco credentials can also help attract talent, whilst also improving engagement and retention of staff.

Sustainable business practices have become the leading factor in the hiring and retention of employees. People on the hunt for a new role are actively reviewing the companies they want to work for based on their eco credentials.

According to a survey of institutional investors, 98 per cent of respondents said a company with strong ESG (Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance) initiatives make for an attractive and lucrative investment.

A business booster

For food and drink manufacturers, becoming more sustainable is a situation that has virtually no downside. From enhancing energy efficiency and reducing waste, to improving brand image and attracting talent, it really does make perfect sense for manufacturers to green as soon as possible.

Tyrrells Crisps set to reduce carbon emissions by over 14% with switch to LNG

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

One of the UK’s largest crisp manufacturers, Tyrrells, has taken its latest step in a continued sustainability drive by converting its energy supply to liquefied natural gas (LNG), which it says will reduce its carbon emissions by over 14% per year.

Based at their factory in Herefordshire and part of the KP Snacks family, Tyrrells produces over 86 million bags of crisps every year. With high energy demands to consider, the company says it wanted to find a way of increasing efficiencies in order to lower its carbon footprint. 

Additionally, a solution was needed to reduce the number of weekly fuel deliveries in order to improve site safety, which was proving challenging with onsite vehicle movements. 

Flogas were approached by Tyrrells to help resolve their energy and site challenges and deliver a turnkey energy solution.

Eileen Wilkes, Head of Manufacturing from Tyrrells, said: “As a company, we’re constantly evaluating the way we work to introduce new sustainability measures. By working with Flogas and switching to LNG, we will be reducing our carbon emissions by over 14% and cutting our production costs in the process, thanks to the cleaner burning nature of natural gas.

“From a site safety perspective, one of the main issues we faced with the previous layout of the site was that we were limited in terms of our storage space. This meant that as our business grew, several deliveries of fuel were needed each week to meet energy demands, which in turn presented potential risks with additional vehicle movements around a busy factory. 

“Working alongside Flogas, enabled us to identify an area on site, then design, plan and construct a purpose-built gasification plant. Working with their planning partners and the site team, Flogas took care of all of the specific planning requirements, so we didn’t need to worry about them. 

“As the LNG is now self-contained and located to the side of the main factory, delivery trucks will no longer need to interact with site movements, which will minimise the risk to staff . 

“This solution will also allow us to reduce site deliveries by 40%, resulting in less transport emissions and less disruption to local residents.”

By choosing Flogas LNG, Tyrrells can also benefit from working with a supplier that’s committed to offsetting all its level 1 and level 2 CO2 emissions. Outlined in its 2040 Vision, Flogas launched a long-term strategy to reduce its own environmental impact year-on-year and supply customers with 100% renewable energy by 2040. LNG will also help Tyrrells to meet on-going government energy legislation, which encourages businesses to use lower carbon, cleaner burning off-grid fuels.

Mark Rutherford, from Flogas, said: “From the initial planning stages in 2019 through to the sites final completion we’ve been able to embed ourselves entirely within the Tyrrells business. This has allowed the project team to gain a deep understanding of the site energy needs and deliver a solution that’s improved the business across the board.

“This project is a great example of how LNG can be of huge benefit to a large-scale energy users, whilst improving the safety of workers on site.”

The journey of LPG: From ground to the tank

576 384 Stuart O'Brien

One of the modern marvels of our time is our ability to have instant access to heat and power. From heating your home, to cooking on the hob, the energy we use is crucial to the daily functioning of our lives. These conveniences are typically as a result of being connected to the national gas grid, where we can have access to energy as needed.

Yet for those that live off the natural gas grid, receiving not only a reliable energy supply, but one that is kinder to the environment, can be rather more challenging. An effective solution is to harness the power of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). As the greenest conventional off-grid fossil fuel available[1], it’s quickly become a firm favourite for those in rural areas. 

But where does this alternative fuel source come from, how do we obtain it and what does the journey of LPG look like? 

From the ground up 

LPG is a by-product of natural gas and crude oil extraction and the subsequent process of oil refining[2]. To source natural gas or crude oil, we drill down hundreds of feet to pump it from the ground. But these deposits aren’t always found on land. Some sources are found offshore, deep beneath the seabed within rock formations[3] requiring highly trained geologists to locate those specific geological formations likely to contain natural gas.

The processing stage

Once pumped up from the ground, crude oil is sent to be processed at a refinery. As part of the refining process, natural gas is separated out from the oil via a complex but effective technique called “hydraulic cracking”. Once the gas is separated, it undergoes a purification process to remove any impurities and other undesirable elements so that it can be made into a safe, cleaner gas to be used in our homes. The gas is then liquified under pressure so that it can be easily transported and stored. 

Storing supply 

Once the gas has been fully processed and liquified, the LPG is transported to large terminals with vast tanks for storage. Typically, these large LPG volumes are delivered via rail tankers within the UK, or via big merchant ships – known as Very Large Gas Carriers (VLGC) – if coming from overseas. 

As demand for LPG has grown in recent years, so has the need for facilities that can store and supply large volumes of this increasingly popular fuel. 

From these huge storage terminals, LPG is then transported to smaller, regional distribution centres. Located across the UK, they are key to ensuring efficient and reliable supplies to off-grid homes and businesses. 

Bulk or cylinders?

For residential or businesses premises that have higher energy needs, LPG can be supplied by road tanker in larger quantities, with bulk storage tanks installed on-site – either above or below ground – so ensuring an on-demand flow of fuel. Thanks to modern telemetry technology, bulk storage systems can remotely monitor usage and automatically alert suppliers to deliver LPG top ups — so fuel never runs out. 

The Importance of LPG

As we move towards a lower carbon future and away from fuels such as oil and diesel, biomethane and LPG are an immediate, cleaner and greener potential option. As a clean, smoke-free burning fuel, LPG emits fewer pollutants including NOx, Sox and particulate (PM)[4], highlighting why it’s becoming an increasingly widespread part of the UK’s off-grid energy mix.

[1] UKLPG – Gas for off-grid Britain report (pg. 16)

[2] https://www.wlpga.org/about-lpg/production-distribution/

[3] https://www.eia.gov/energyexplained/index.php?page=natural_gas_home

[4] SAP 2012

Revealed: Companies committed to reducing their carbon footprints

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

The impact of climate change continues to be in the news – e.g. rising sea levels and erratic weather patterns, both of which constitute a danger to humans and wildlife.

Thankfully, a strategy is now in place to reverse the effects of climate change and restore harmony to the planet. Back in June 2019, the UK government became the first country to sign their ‘Net Zero’ target into law – marking it as the first major economy to legislate for net zero emissions.[1] Since then, other governments have followed suit, introducing their own laws and policy changes to help reduce the amount of carbon we emit. 

These changes have had a huge impact on the way businesses work, inspiring many to introduce new ways of reducing their carbon footprint. Here, we look at those businesses that are  going above and beyond to ensure their emissions are kept as low possible or are offsetting the carbon they unavoidably emit as part of their daily operations.  

Aviation – EasyJet

Airlines are a significant contributor to carbon emissions globally. In fact, it’s estimated that the flights we catch account for some 12% of all transport emissions annually.[2] Yet there are airlines that are making significant efforts to try and reduce this figure – one of which is EasyJet. In a recent report, EasyJet ranked top of the list of airlines trying to cut carbon emissions and tackle climate change and has since become the first airline to operate net zero flights across its whole network.[3]

This has been possible through carbon offsetting initiatives which helps to offset the emissions the airline uses during flights. It’s estimated that the company will spend around £25million each year carbon offsetting, lowering their impact on the environment and positioning themselves as market leaders in reducing CO2. 

Off-grid energy – Flogas

As one of UK’s leading off-grid energy suppliers who help companies offset carbon emissions, Flogas has quickly become a market leader in the fight against climate change. In its ‘2040 Vision’ manifesto, the company has laid out plans on how it intends to the support the government’s carbon emissions targets by supplying its customers with100% renewable energy solutions by 2040. As well as aiding its customers, the company has also undertaken several landmark steps in its own carbon reduction strategy such as promising to offset all Level 1 and Level 2 CO2 emissions for 2019 and became one of the first 0ff-grid gas suppliers to add BioLNG powered delivery vehicles to its fleet. Since then, Flogas has also launched its Carbon Offsetting Initiative for both its commercial and consumer customers. 

Fast food restaurants – McDonald’s

As one of the most iconic restaurants in the world, McDonald’s are firmly under the microscope when it comes to taking sustainable measures. Luckily, the company is making considerable efforts to reduce its impact on the environment wherever possible. With around 36,000 restaurants located in over 100 countries worldwide[4], McDonald’s has now began switching to energy efficient appliances to help cut energy waste by around 25%.[5] It also aims to source all its packaging from recycled materials by 2025.[6]

Automotive – BMW

Regularly named as the world’s most sustainable car manufacturer, BMW has gained a reputation for its creativity and innovation in terms of reducing carbon emissions. The company’s long list of green credentials speaks for itself – for example, from 2009 to 2019 BMW has been able to reduce its delivery fleet emissions by over 40%.[7] The company has also invested heavily in electric technology, turning to more renewable fuels to reduce carbon emissions even further. As it stands, BMW is currently on track to ensure that a quarter of all the vehicles it sells will be electrified by 2021, with a third in 2025 and half of all vehicles by the year 2030.[8]

Manufacturing – Siemens 

Manufacturing often requires energy intensive processes that create high levels of carbon emissions. However, this didn’t stop electronics manufacturer, Siemens, from becoming the first global company to commit to carbon neutrality by 2030 through using renewable energy at its factories.[9] It’s also set out sustainability goals within its ‘Serve the Environment’ programme which details how it intends to create zero waste. As it stands, zero per cent of its waste has been sent to landfill from its factory in Newcastle and the business currently boasts a 92% recycle rate overall. [10]

Software – Google 

With a reputation for creating innovative software, it comes as no surprise that Google is one of the IT giants leading the way in terms of sustainability. As well as reducing its carbon footprint through company-wide efficiency improvements, Google also uses on-site solar power as a renewable fuel supply. [11]The company then uses carbon offsetting to bring its remaining footprint to zero and goes to great lengths to ensure that the projects it supports help provide long-term global benefits.[12]

[1] https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-becomes-first-major-economy-to-pass-net-zero-emissions-law

[2] https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-47460958

[3] https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-47460958

[4] https://www.mcdonalds.com/gb/en-gb/help/faq/18510-how-many-mcdonalds-restaurants-are-there-in-the-uk-and-the-world.html

[5] https://www.forbes.com/sites/blakemorgan/2019/08/26/101-companies-committed-to-reducing-their-carbon-footprint/#5f24529f260b

[6] https://www.forbes.com/sites/blakemorgan/2019/08/26/101-companies-committed-to-reducing-their-carbon-footprint/#5f24529f260b

[7] https://www.bmwgroup.com/en/responsibility/sustainability-at-the-bmw-group.html

[8] https://www.bmwgroup.com/en/responsibility/sustainability-at-the-bmw-group.html

[9]  https://www.forbes.com/sites/blakemorgan/2019/08/26/101-companies-committed-to-reducing-their-carbon-footprint/#5f24529f260b

[10] https://new.siemens.com/global/en/company/sustainability/resourceconservation.html

[11] https://www.google.com/about/datacenters/renewable/

[12] https://static.googleusercontent.com/media/www.google.com/en//green/pdfs/google-carbon-offsets.pdf

Carbon Offsetting – An Exciting Strategy

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

One of the biggest challenges the UK is facing is how to tackle the issue of climate change. As our populations and economies grow, the environment is feeling the strain of our increased energy needs. This means we all need to look for ways to reduce our carbon footprint, and quickly. 

Over the past decade we have seen an increasing number of individuals become dedicated to lowering their environmental impact. These measures range from a reduction in the use of plastic, to the implementation of LPG as a main energy source. 

Although people are making a difference, further changes are still required. Last year the UK government announced plans to achieve ‘Net Zero’ status by the year 2050[1], a target which aims to stop the UK from contributing to the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere. However, public awareness on how this will be achieved is still lacking. In fact, a recent report from the Citizen’s Advice Bureau found that just 38 per cent of us are aware we’ll need to change the way our home is heated if we’re to achieve this goal.[2]

The harsh truth is that, until we are entirely carbon neutral, we’ll be unable to avoid creating a carbon a footprint on some scale. From heating our homes and offices, to driving our cars or even making a cup of tea, it’s inevitable that we can’t always live up to the green standards we’d like to. 

It isn’t all doom a gloom, however. For those looking to combat these inescapable emissions, there is a solution – and it’s called Carbon Offsetting. Here, we look through the benefits and how it can help us lead a greener life. 

What is meant by Carbon Offsetting?

There is a solution to the everyday emissions we produce, and it comes in the form of Carbon Offsetting. A process in which people compensate their emissions by funding projects that provide sustainable development in communities around the world. These projects offer an equivalent reduction in emissions to those you create; either counteracting or absorbing carbon dioxide and bringing balance to the environment.

Big brands from around the world such as EasyJet[3], Shell[4] and Gucci[5] all now use Carbon Offsetting to help improve the environmental impact of their businesses. 

But why is it important?

Carbon Offsetting exists as way of allowing people to make up for the emissions that they can’t otherwise avoid. 

Additionally, the increased funding these causes receive can change lives, bringing economic, social and health improvements to whole communities. With people at the heart of Carbon Offsetting, as well as ecosystems, it allows us to begin future proofing for a cleaner, greener world.  

For what reason should I Offset my Carbon emissions?

As homeowners, Carbon Offsetting is the opportunity to balance your carbon footprint. For the environmentally conscious and those looking to reduce their impact on the climate, Carbon Offsetting gives them the tools to make a difference. Whilst it shouldn’t be used as a stand-alone approach and is best used as part of a wider carbon reduction strategy, it will help people reduce their impact on the environment. 

How do I offset the carbon emissions I can’t control?

From West Africa households being given access to eco-friendly cooking equipment, to rural China being supplied with clean hydroelectric power, the beneficiaries of Carbon Offsetting are extensive and the options diverse. One example is the Kariba REDD+ Forest Protection project in Zimbabwe, Africa. Since its launch in 2011, it’s avoided more than 18 million tonnes of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere and has prevented deforestation in an area of nearly 750,000 hectares. 

Through the combination of Carbon Offsetting and the support of sustainability projects which deliver clearly recognisable results, aligned with individual efforts within the home and industry, it is clear that the UK can, over the coming years, play a positive role in carbon emission reduction.

[1] https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-becomes-first-major-economy-to-pass-net-zero-emissions-law[1]https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/Global/CitizensAdvice/Energy/Energy%20Consultation%20responses/Zero%20sum%20(2).pdf

[1] http://corporate.easyjet.com/corporate-responsibility/environment/climate-change-carbon-emissions-and-carbon-offsetting

[1] https://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3082469/shell-to-offer-drivers-carbon-offsets-at-no-extra-cost

[1] https://www.gucci.com/uk/en_gb/st/stories/gucci-equilibrium/article/carbon-neutral

Should you choose oil or gas for your business?

960 640 Guest Post

As the threat of climate change continues to gather pace, one of the burning questions of our time remains: ‘how can we create a greener, more sustainable future that still allows businesses to thrive?’ Here, Flogas, examine the debate currently gaining traction. 

Central to solving this challenge is energy usage, and the fuel we depend on in our daily lives and commercial operations. As such, businesses across the UK are now looking at ways to become more fuel-efficient – not only to help lower their carbon emissions, but also to bring down energy bills and save money in the long run.

Nowhere is this debate more prominent than in the 16% of the UK not serviced by the main gas grid, which relies on alternative fuels to meet its energy needs. For the majority of off-grid operations, this means a choice between oil, LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) or LNG (liquefied natural gas) for high-volume commercial applications. But what exactly are the differences between these fuels – and what should off-grid users consider when making decisions about their energy supply?

Click here to read the full article.