“Everyone within ForFarmers makes a contribution”

25 March 2019

Sustainability or corporate social responsibility; everyone knows the term. But what does it actually mean? And how do we, as ForFarmers, implement this in practice? Nick Major - Director of Corporate Affairs and responsible for sustainability within ForFarmers – talks to colleagues who are busy with sustainability in their work and thus give content to ForFarmers as a sustainable company. This time: Lisa Ward, Operations Support Manager Health, Safety & Environment at ForFarmers UK.

Considering what we are doing

Nick: “What does sustainability mean to you?”
Lisa: “It means doing what we say we do in terms of integrity and environmental stewardship as in our ForFarmers values. We should be considering the environment when we make our purchasing and operational decisions and also when developing future projects.”
Nick: “How do you make that happen on a daily basis?”
Lisa: “It’s all about considering what we are doing, why and the impact it has on the environment during all our daily work. This will enable us to improve. This benefits ForFarmers but the benefits go beyond the company, as a good neighbour we should do everything we can to minimise the impact on the local environment.”

Afbeelding: Dzh_Nick Major en Lisa Ward_nieuws
Nick Major (r.) and Lisa Ward share ideas about sustainability

Ideas from several areas

Nick: “In your role as Operations Support Manager how can you help to further make ForFarmers more sustainable?”
Lisa: “I flag best demonstrated practice, explain our risks and bring ideas for new projects.”
Nick: “Where do the ideas come from?”
Lisa: “Well, from several areas. I am constantly reviewing our own environmental performance with the national and site teams. I spend time visiting our sites for meetings or audits and attend a number of industry committees. It’s by discussing these issues with colleagues that generates the ideas.”
Nick: “How are these ideas translated into projects?”
Lisa: “Some ideas find their way into the Energy Saving Matrix, which is a list of projects at each site with clear energy saving objectives. Others are incorporated into objectives and targets for either the UK as a whole or the individual site. An example of a recent initiative is investing in new equipment on our cooler and grinder fans which help to reduce energy consumption.”

Plan, do, check, act

Nick: “What is the role of ISO 50001 in reducing energy use and greenhouse gas emissions?”
Lisa: “ISO 50001 Energy Management accreditation works on the ‘plan, do, check, act’ (PDCA) cycle and supports continuous improvement. We set objectives and targets to improve our efficiency, ensure that employees and contractors are aware of our targets and what their role is in achieving them. During training on the ISO standards we make the link with sustainability and explain our colleagues what they can do to improve our performance.”

Reduction of GHG emissions and costs

Lisa: “Minimising our energy use is important, because that way we reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and lower our costs. Extra focus on energy and sustainability may also result in a change of energy sources we use. We can move away from fossil fuels to sustainable energy, for example by installing solar panels or converting boilers from oil to gas.”
Nick: “So how are we doing?”
Lisa: “For the UK Climate Change Agreement (CCA) in the last target period we achieved a significant reduction compared to the base year, so a sound result. Good progress has and continues to be made.”

Concrete measures with effect

Nick: “What measures have you taken within ForFarmers UK to reduce energy and therefore greenhouse gas emissions?”
Lisa: “In the UK, our energy use is primarily split into electricity, boiler fuel and fuel used in our lorries delivering feed. The mills use a lot of electricity, mainly to run the presses, and electricity is also the most expensive fuel source. In general the amount of electricity we use per tonne of feed has been reducing steadily over recent years. The site teams maintain and service the mill equipment and undertake engineering projects such as led lighting and installation of high efficiency motors to reduce the amount of electricity we use.  
“Energy is used to heat the boilers that produce the steam needed to make our pelleted feed. Our long-term aim is to increase the amount of steam we use per tonne. If we increase the use of steam, we can reduce the amount of electricity we use per tonne during extrusion, reducing costs and improving product quality. 
“In addition we have been focussing on reducing the amount of diesel we use in our lorry fleet. There are a large number of projects running which will each make small improvements. Examples include driver training, on board monitoring, new vehicles and better vehicle planning.”

Small, individual measures also have an impact

Nick: “How can ForFarmers employees support us in reducing energy use and therefore emissions?”
Lisa: “They can switch off mill equipment, computers, printers, lights, heaters, air conditioning units wherever possible and safe to do so. They can drive efficiently; plan their route, no harsh braking, no excessive idling, use cruise control. They can drive less by using webinars or conference calls instead. They can ensure proper maintenance of mill equipment, cars and trucks and put forward energy saving initiatives to the site teams.” 

We can all make a difference

Nick: “Is sustainability a topic within ForFarmers UK?”
Lisa: “Yes, e.g. environment and energy forms part of the monthly HSE report, performance against targets are noted within the national and site environmental and energy meetings. I report sustainability on a quarterly basis to the UK management team and we have specific training relating to the environment. Some sites even have environment/energy champions!”

Nick: “Is sustainability also important to you in your personal life?”
Lisa: “Yes, we can all make a difference at work and at home. I have 3 children, I try to get them to understand their impact on the environment such as switching off their TV, Xbox and lights. Not buying food or drink in plastic bottles or wrapping. Putting their waste in the correct recycling bin. Not littering. Not wasting food. Walking to school. All core values for positive citizenship. It is not easy - and probably very boring to them - but I keep trying to increase their awareness of the world around them…”