Sustainable milk producers
Fonterra’s Edendale site is the best performing site for sustainability initiatives. The Southland site was awarded the Sustainability Cup which is part of Fonterra’s inhouse awards that recognises excellence among its dairy manufacturing sites across a range of categories from safety to sustainability, people to productivity.
Each year, the awards also crown Small, Medium, and Large Site Cup grand winners that are leaders in dairy innovation, community and iwi engagement, staff satisfaction and health, safety and quality.
The Edendale site won the sustainability award based on its energy and water reduction, heat recovery and community and iwi engagement.
Energy and water reduction at Edendale and Stirling sites saved $2.5 million in energy in the past year. The site is also the first large manufacturer to achieve four stars in the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority’s (EECA) one to five energy management assessment.
Site manager Richard Gray said the site stood out in energy efficiency and for its consultation with iwi and the community about consents and other issues.
‘‘I shouldn’t say it was a surprise, we’ve done a lot of really hard work but it was quite exciting.’’
The other part of the award focussed on general environmental compliance.
Gray said Edendale staff had been steadily improving their environmental performance through working through past issues to ensure they did not happen again.
‘‘For a site like this, it’s a big site, it’s a pretty complex operation and it does have the potential to have an effect on the community, and I think the work that is done by not just the environmental team but everyone at the site really works to try and minimise that impact.’’
In the past year the site has reduced its energy use by 2.5 per cent.
Gray said it was a significant saving which went directly back to the pockets of Fonterra shareholders.
‘‘The work we can do here has a definite and distinct benefit to our shareholders.’’
While the whole site won the award, there were some staff members who helped lead the charge.
Energy efficiency champion Kanchana Marasinghe said the award recognised the added value of focussing on improving energy use.
Environmental advisor Christian Gunter said it was a good affirmation that the site was on track with its environmental performance.
‘‘It also sets a standard for us to continue to improve.’’
Global operations chief operating officer Robert Spurway said the co-operative’s goal was to be leaders in environmental sustainability in dairy manufacturing around the world.
Environmental sustainability was central to Fonterra as a cooperative, he said.
‘‘We talk about Fonterra being ‘of the land’ and that’s evidenced in our farmers’ care for the environment, and the constant focus our people place on minimising our footprint across our manufacturing sites.’’
Every one of the more than 650 people working at Edendale was focused on doing what was right for the environment, he said.
‘‘We see it in their everyday behaviour, and it was evidenced even in the toughest of times – during our silo collapse – when the quick thinking of our team ensured there was no environmental impact.’’
Fonterra Edendale energy efficiency champion Kanchana Marasinghe, site manager Richard Gray and environmental advisor Christian Gunter.