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What do we have underway

In 1998, the Greenhouse Gas Protocol was launched. This was implemented to standardise greenhouse gas accounting and in this report all achievements, goals, and future targets will be categorised into scopes 1, 2, and 3. As well as reporting our emissions in these categories, we plan our initiatives within these categories to determine its level of impact.

Scope 1

Heat Reclaim System

Our main site is where we butcher and package all the products that we distribute around the UK. This factory has a refrigeration system in place to maintain low temperatures to ensure the quality of the products we deliver to our customers. In the process of creating these lower temperatures in our factory the system produces a considerable amount of heat and currently we have nothing in place to capture this heat. Subsequently, we are in the process of implementing a heat reclaim system into our refrigeration system. The primary function of a heat reclaim system is to recover and store the excess heat that is produced by our refrigeration system. We will be connecting the system to our water boiler and when it is, we will no longer require the level of gas we currently use to heat our water. Our hygiene team consistently requires a significant amount of hot water to maintain the high level of cleanliness in our factory, therefore by implementing this system we will be using the excess heat from the refrigeration system to heat our water, with the hope of completely eliminating our demand for gas. As this lowers our demand for gas, it will also lower our scope 2 emissions. It will also improve our overall electrical efficiency by improving the performance of the refrigeration system. This will subsequently improve the quality of our products by allowing for better control of our factory temperatures. As well as improving our impact on local air quality, we will no longer be emitting the exhaust heat and gas into the local environment and atmosphere. This initiative will be another important step of our investment into energy efficient technologies that will aid the development of our overall sustainable operations.

Scope 3

100% Recyclable Packaging

Our packaging consists of different types of plastic and cardboard. Our cardboard is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and is already 100% recyclable, but our plastic is not. Our current plastic packaging supplier is Multivac, and at present the packaging is made from polyethylene plastics which of course resists biodegradation and is therefore non-recyclable. One of our primary aims is to eliminate single-use plastics within Birtwistles and we are currently in discussions with Multivac regarding the use of polypropene which is a recyclable material as it can be melted down or remoulded for alternative uses. Thus, the introduction of polypropene into our packaging would be a major step towards our aim and it would increase our internal recycled content.

Supplier Engagement

We are looking to create a more collaborative relationship with our suppliers, where we exchange information about our sustainability strategies as we could challenge and champion each other to ensure we are both improving our operations. We want to deepen relationships, enable data sharing, and enhance collaborative progressive partnerships as we mutually drive beneficial emission reduction strategies across our supply chain. The primary purpose behind this initiative is to begin the monitorisation and mitigation of our scope 3 emissions. Of course, other forms of data are available which we are currently using to provide an estimate, although we want to collect supplier specific data to have the most accurate data available so that we can mitigate these emissions as efficiently as possible. To do this we are sending out sustainability questionnaires to all our suppliers to better understand their level of sustainable activity, specifically to determine if they are monitoring and mitigating their emissions. So that we can understand who we need to work closer with, to get them to a point where they can monitor and mitigate these emissions as well as understanding who we can collaborate with on various sustainable initiatives.

Sustainable Procurement

As a part of this engagement, we are looking to work with sustainable suppliers that can offer more environmentally friendly products. This is a part of our plan to reduce our scope 3 emissions, by actively engaging with environmentally conscious suppliers to implement further emission reduction initiatives throughout our production processes, value chain and other fuel and energy related activities. We also supply products from all over the UK and internationally, and we have full traceability for all the products we procure although the procurement process of these products is heavily dependent on quality and availability. All the products we supply to our customers are sourced from British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Red Tractor certified businesses. Our procurement team use several suppliers; for every product, that all meet the standards we expect them to. The list of suppliers is reviewed and approved in collaboration with our technical department, on an annual basis. Also, on the occasions when a new product or supplier is required then both departments will ensure that their certifications and operations are in order before we purchase any products from them. This list provides support for our procurement team when certain items are not readily available as it allows them to purchase the same products from different suppliers on different occasions. Our procurement team also works closely with our sales team so that we can provide specific items to our customers on a regular basis. Now sustainability is becoming another aspect that our procurement department will look into when selecting suppliers to aid the reduction of our scope 3 emissions.

On-Site Recycling

MJ Birtwistles & Co Ltd is committed to minimising the amount of waste produced in our operations and a major part of this commitment is to continuously develop a system that ensures the optimum amount of recycling. Despite the sustainable actions from our waste disposal supplier, we are still aiming to increase the amount of recycled content and organic waste being converted to energy. To do this we are changing the way we recycle to ensure that it takes place systemically throughout the whole business recycling bins and dolavs will be used throughout the factory and offices to ensure that all paper is recycled. Also, once we have recyclable plastic packaging this system will also be extended cover our plastic waste production as currently this solely takes place in the canteens and offices. We are also extending our food waste collection to the canteen and culinary centre to ensure that all organic waste produced on-site is collected and converted into energy. A colour scheme and informative visual aids have been created to ensure consistency throughout the site, so that all members of staff deposit are informed and can deposit all their waste in the correct container. Training will also be provided on waste segregation and the importance of recycling in modern society.

Overall Staff Training

All internal stakeholders are key to the success of sustainability at Birtwistles. In order to adapt the culture and improve awareness within the business, then education must take place. Sustainability information is included as part of the welcome presentation to embrace them into a culture of accountability from day one. Most importantly we have started to educate all of our staff members on these issues. As we are at the beginning of this process, we are currently providing an introduction to sustainability course to improve everyone’s basic knowledge on how we as a business and individually interact with the environment. Staff are educated on the main pillars of sustainability, the greenhouse gas effect, local and global climate change impacts, our impact including scopes 1, 2, and 3, as well as our current and future sustainable efforts. Also, staff members are quizzed at the end of every session to ensure that all information is absorbed by the attendees and can be applied in the future. Once the introductory course has been completed, staff training for specific departments to develop sustainable mindsets and engage our staff on how their actions will influence the business. These sessions will include water management for our hygiene team, resource management for all our production-based departments, plastic management for our packing department and paper management for our order make-up department. This training is in place because we understand the importance of investment into our staff, as it will accelerate our progress towards becoming environmentally sustainable and it will help them apply this knowledge in their own lives as well.

Open Reporting

This sustainability strategy is the beginning of our open reporting policy. This open style of reporting will include all policy statements being readily available on our website, which will be updated annually. We will produce an annual carbon emissions report so that our customers can keep track of progress. Also, this sustainability strategy will be updated and published annually, which will include all environmental initiatives we have implemented, are currently implementing and will implement in the future. We want to do this so that we can be open and transparent with all our customers, so that they can trust that we are doing everything we can to guarantee the products they are purchasing are as environmentally sustainable as possible.

Internal Analysis

We have a sustainability committee that meets on a monthly basis to analyse the businesses sustainable performance because for sustainability to be truly successful in any business, it needs the buy-in and reinforcement from key internal stakeholders. The committee is as follows:

These are members that work in every aspect of the business so that sustainable conversations and mindsets can develop throughout the entirety of the business. During these monthly meetings, the committee examines the performance of pre-existing initiatives, determining their progressing level of success, and deciding whether any adjustments need to be made. For potential initiatives, any initiatives submitted by members will be reviewed by the committee before any further actions are decided. Managing Director Operations Director Technical Director Head of Sustainability Company Secretary Senior Planner Packing Manager Hygiene Manager Transport Manager Sausage & Burger Production Manager Engineer The internal analysis is another vital component for the future success of sustainability at MJ Birtwistles & Co Ltd as the team will be looking over all opportunities for the business to develop as well as finalising all policy statements.