Alliance Group is investing in a range of initiatives to improve its environmental footprint including a heat pump to reduce diesel use.
The new energy-saving high temperature heat pump at the co-operative’s Nelson plant, which will help cut carbon emissions, recycles waste heat from the plant’s refrigeration systems. A first for the New Zealand sheep and beef processing industry, the heat pump has been installed in collaboration with the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA).
Meanwhile, Alliance is also examining fuel options for its other plants. It is currently looking at upgrading the existing boiler at its Mataura plant in Southland to provide a number of benefits including improvements to emissions and efficiency, and considering further opportunities for other sites in the future.
“Alliance has a comprehensive sustainability programme in place to improve our impact on the environment and we have the financial strength to invest in these improvements,” says Alliance Group chief executive David Surveyor.
“We recognise we have to play our part and improve our environmental footprint. Our customers and consumers have high expectations for how the co-operative manages the natural environment and they also expect transparency and ethical food production.
“As a 100 percent farmer-owned co-operative, we are committed to meeting high standards of environmental practices and we are constantly looking ahead to make sure our practices allow us to be in business for the long term so we can continue to support our farmers and rural communities.
“It is fantastic that the high temperature heat pump makes sound environmental sense and good business sense too.”
Alliance’s seven processing plants, which employ almost 5,000 people at peak season, have annual performance targets for fuel and electricity use, which make up the majority of the co-operative’s annual emissions (107,877 tonnes of CO2 equivalent).
“We regularly monitor our environmental impacts and energy use at all sites and assess what improvements are needed,” says Surveyor.
Efficient use of electricity is an option businesses are starting to employ to displace fossil fuels in food processing, says EECA business account director Paul Bull.
“Making use of New Zealand’s highly renewable electricity instead of fossil fuels like diesel and coal means processors can cut their carbon footprint and future-proof their operations.
“EECA supports large energy users to make smart business decisions that make sense for the long term.”
Energy efficient LED lighting has also been installed at the co-operative’s Lorneville, Pukeuri, Smithfield, Nelson and Mataura plants after a successful introduction at Levin and Dannevirke.
This represents an investment of almost $2 million and energy-saving of approximately 5,629,971 kWh per annum.