Kepak to halve food waste by 2030 in new sustainability report

Kepak group has committed to halving food waste across all its sites by 2030.

This pledge follows Kepak’s donation to FoodCloud in 2017 of 8,200kg of surplus food, which provided 18,040 meals to those in need, and saved 90,300kg CO2 emissions.

As part of its commitment to sustainability, the group is also working to significantly reduce water and energy usage, developing healthier products and share agricultural knowledge regarding on farm environmental awareness and biodiversity with farmers.

Kepak’s commitments come as the company announces several significant sustainability achievements during 2017, including reducing general waste by 100t and saving 20 Olympic swimming pools of water, 10,000t of carbon, 10,700,000Kwh of electricity and 26,000,000Kwh thermal energy (oil and gas).

The achievements are outlined in Kepak’s inaugural sustainability report, published today (Tuesday, June 5) to coincided with European Sustainable Development Week 2018.

European Sustainable Development Week is a European-wide initiative to stimulate and make visible activities, projects and events that promote sustainable development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Eimear Gallagher, environmental officer with the group, said: “At Kepak, we recognised our position and responsibilities within the supply chain and the importance of working with each of our stakeholders to create a blueprint for achieving growth in a sustainable way.”

Kepak has recently developed a comprehensive internal sustainability programme called ‘Kepak Core’ – the company’s blueprint for achieving sustainable growth in the following areas:
  • Agriculture & Animal Welfare;
  • Responsible Sourcing;
  • Resource Efficiency;
  • Health & Nutrition;
  • People & communities.

There have been various savings and gains made through the Kepak Core programme, according to the Irish group.

Electricity usage has been reduced  by 13.31% compared to a baseline of 2015 levels, which has a cash equivalent on 2017 volumes of  over €500,000.

Meanwhile, thermal energy usage is down 23.03 compared to the 2015 baseline, while carbon emissions are down 24.69% by the same comparison.

Water usage has seen a reduction of 7.59% since 2015, while there has also been a saving of 100t.

Kepak Farm

Located near Clonee, Co. Meath, Kepak Farm is a beef finishing enterprise. The company collaborates with farmers to share best management practices designed to produce top-quality beef for key partner customers, with the aim to improve decision-making and maximise production efficiencies along the entire supply chain, from farm to fork, the firm claims.

In 2017, Kepak hosted approximately 1,200 visitors to its farm, with knowledge sharing topics covering areas such as antimicrobial resistance, animal nutrition/feed, grassland management and reducing carbon footprint.

The reduction of carbon emissions throughout the supply chain is priority focus area for Kepak. From January 1st 2018, the group has certified 100% green energy supply for 9 of its Irish sites.

This has resulted in a 60% decrease in its carbon emissions from 2017, and means its carbon emissions from electricity this year will be zero.

Kepak has also outlined a series of future commitments:
  • To showcase Kepak Farm Centre of Excellence as a Knowledge Transfer hub to disseminate knowledge on carbon neutral farming, technology advancements and latest research and development;
  • To establish a biodiversity plan for all sites and Kepak Farm by 2020;
  • To achieve BBFAW accreditation for all products;
  • Implementation of a standardised packaging procurement policy by 2020;
  • To deliver 100% sustainable paper/board in its packaging by 2025;
  • To deliver 100% recyclable or compostable packaging by 2025;
  • To reduce carbon footprint of its factories by 30% by 2030;
  • To roll out a standardised energy management system across all sites by 2025;
  • To reduce water usage across its factories by 20% by 2030;
  • 50% reduction in food waste across all factories by 2030, in line with UN SDG 12.3;
  • To deliver packaging innovations to reduce the volume of food and packaging waste down its supply chain; and
  • To review and improve the health and nutritional profile of the company’s product portfolio.

Kepak has an annual turnover of €950 million and employs 2,800 people. The Irish-headquartered firm has beef, lamb, pork and convenience food processing facilities throughout Ireland and in the UK, with sales offices in key European, Asian and African markets.