If the twentieth century taught us anything, it’s that we cannot expand our operations in any area indefinitely, without acknowledging the effect we’re having on our environment.
From the Dustbowl of the 1930s to the Fukushima event just a few year ago, again and again we have seen the potentially catastrophic effects of using non-sustainable or high-waste methods to grow our businesses.
It is possible to adopt practices that make us far less susceptible to environmental crises. Many of these practices will also save us money and improve the standing of our brand within our chosen marketplace. Put simply, green is the new black. But where to begin?
Packaging Problems and Green Solutions
Packaging is a good place to start making changes towards sustainable, ethical and more sensible practices. For example, polythene is now available from manufacturers who use entirely sustainable methods. Sustainable polythene is chemically identical to the kind made from fossil fuels, so it fits right into the same recycling chain.
Polythene is a great packing material. It’s strong and much more lightweight than cardboard or paper, which means that using it can significantly reduce fuel costs in the long term – more ‘green’ savings.
CFCs, HFCs and the Global Greenhouse
Refrigeration is an integral part of food manufacture. We all know about the CFC scandal from a few years ago, but their replacement, HFCs, have turned out to be just as damaging to the environment.
Using up-to-date refrigeration systems not only curbs the release of these dangerous gases, it can also equal more savings because of the increased efficiency of today’s coolers.
Local Produce for Local People
Another way to reduce the environmental impact of your business, and also to take part in the development of your local economy, is to start sourcing products as locally as possible. This may mean tailoring your output to fit the seasonal availability of certain ingredients, but the benefits far outweigh the initial work.
Food simply tastes better when it hasn’t travelled a thousand miles to your plate. Customers will appreciate the effort you are making, and it will add to your business profile as an ethical, environmentally aware company.
Some ingredients have a vastly higher environmental impact than others. More and more people are moving away from products such as soy or palm oil, whose production is contributing to rapid deforestation in some fragile tropical ecosystems.
Green Lights All the Way
Transportation is another area in which recent advances have made it possible to save money and reduce your carbon footprint in one fell swoop.
Low-emission vehicles, hybrid engines and stop-start motor mechanisms can all contribute to bringing down haulage costs. Drivers can easily be trained in best practices for efficient driving.
It’s an Organic Thing
The drive to produce foods that are free from unnecessary chemicals has led to a revolution in farming techniques. Customer demand for organic foods has now spread to include even the materials used in the production process.
Plastic tubing is a good example. In the past, many plastics were made using materials that would slowly release a chemical called DEHP over the course of their lifetimes.
This is of particular interest to the food industry since DEHP is soluble in oil rather than water. DEHP is acutely toxic, leading people to search for plastics that do not use this chemical in their manufacturing process.
The demand for foods that are hormone-free, pesticide-free and fertiliser-free continues to rise. Everyone is concerned about how these chemicals impact our health and the surrounding ecosystem where they are in use. Switching to organic suppliers may prove more costly in the short-term, but the benefits of doing so are becoming more apparent with each passing year.
‘Going green’ is now a worldwide drive and there are many facets to this challenge. A strategy that includes some or all of these components is in line with this global trend. There are significant gains to be made from upgrading all aspects of your business practice to take account of this.
Making it a part of your business strategy can translate into the reduction of overheads and the possibility of appealing to a larger client base. By making some of these changes, and telling your customers about it, you will help build awareness of the issues involved. This will raise the profile of your business and encourage everyone to do their part.
At Marpak we can help your business create a greener supply chain with our new product Marpak Green. You can learn more about this here or alternatively call 0843 289 0273 or contact us online.