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Environment

Enviromental Success Stories

This document is really well worth the read.

click the image to visit the website

Two things that are interesting about the examples discussed are:

1) They mainly reduce the factories impact on the environment by saving water, energy or reducing emissions which are often product, raw material or byproduct. So the fixed production costs are very often reduced at the same time as the environment benefits.

2) They are seldom complicated or technologically groundbreaking and are often common sense.

A few examples are

  • Campbell Soup reduced energy consumption by 4,85 and water by 13,45% by installing utility meters, introducing recycling, installing energy saving light bulbs and introducing low flow water nozzles.
  • Craft Foods reduced its energy cost by 60% for a new cold store by installing it underground in a limestone formation.
  • General Mills produces 90% of the steam it uses in its milling and preparation plant for Breakfast cereal production production, by burning the bran produced in the plant.
  • Musco Ollives uses 15 tons of olive pressing waste a day to produce enough steam from waste water to produce power for production.
  • Kroger distributes 30 million meals a year from food that, although safe and wholesome, is destined for landfill for commercial reasons.

 

Five Months in Bourgogne!

I am going to be spending the next few months working from a house in rural Bourgogne (Burgundy to the English and the wine drinker!) in France.

Having just returned from a first visit to the supermarket it was interesting that for the first time in my life I actually said to myself “We mustn’t buy too much fruit because the garden is full of cherries!”.

General view in a mediunm sized French supermarket.

photograph by DIGIVUZA

published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.

 

This brought home the Local Food issue, especially as the plums and pears in the supermarket were from South Africa! We definitely, especially in South Africa, make little effort to reduce our carbon footprint by using foods that are grow nearby. Here someone planted trees decades ago and without fertilisation or any real pruning they produce year after year and as they are just off the dining room with “zero” carbon emission.

I also saw some interesting products and concepts in the supermarket such as LCD pricing, easy cracking macadamias and another solution to cooking rice!

I have therefore decided to write a number of posts while I am here that reflect on these and similar items focussing on innovation and the environment.

Now The Water Footprint!

We had the carbon footprint, but now its the water footprint that is threatening to constrain how we make food.

Water Footprints Make A Splash | Worldwatch Institute.jpg

from: Worldwatch
(click image for full story online)

 

The water footprint concept is introduced because of the overall shortage of water that is expected as a result of the growing population and the changes in eating habits.

Some of the interesting examples given in the article are:

it is estimated the 4,645 average liters of water that Britons consume daily leads the country to import 62 percent of its water sources

livestock production requires the most water resources in the food chain. One hamburger, for instance, needs 2,400 liters of water on average.

Low Foodmile Snacks

We in South Africa and probably in much of Africa look at the Food Mile concept as a novelty which doesn’t really effect us – maybe wrongly. Now following low fat and low calories snacks we have Low Foodmile snacks

The article discussed Boot’s (sandwiches) and Walkers (potato crisps) are trying to increase the content of raw materials grown in Britain in response to their consumer’s perceived needs. Of course the effect on the environment is much more complex than just changing a raw material supplier but its a start.

Probably the concept is difficult to implement where the consumer is driven first and foremost by the amount of food they can access for the spending power they have -worry about the impact on the environment is more appropriate to the wealthier consumer who worries about things like organic food, natural additives and ethical trading.

I will probably publish a bit about Foodmiles and related environmentally focussed issues on my African Agribusiness Issues Blog as there is much discussion of the concept.