For nearly 50 years, Earth Day has served as a reminder of how important it is for us all to be good stewards of our planet. At IBIE and Flowers Foods, we recognize that sustainability makes the industry stronger and increases profitability over the long term. Flowers is committed to applying sustainability processes to all aspects of its business. Working with team members, business partners, suppliers, and customers, we continually look to prevent waste of water, packaging, energy, and other resources.
In 2018, we established new sustainability goals for 2025 that will reduce manufacturing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 20% per metric ton of product, decrease water use 20% per metric ton of product, and achieve zero waste to landfill companywide (98% or greater diversion of waste from landfill).
Some of our strategies for achieving our goals include replacing our lighting to energy-efficient LED bulbs and upgrading our compressed air systems. To date, 12 of our bakeries have been certified under the EPA’s ENERGY STAR program and five bakeries have achieved the ENERGY STAR challenge.
In celebration of Earth Day, April 22nd, 2019, the International Baking Industry Exposition staff has pulled together an overview of sustainability practices within the baking industry. I recommend reading and hope you will be inspired and motivated to continuing pursuing your sustainability goals.
Chief Supply Chain Officer, Flowers Foods
Member, IBIE 2019 Committee
From ingredients to packaging to processes, the focus on sustainability touches every facet of modern baking. Growing “green” trends in the industry include opting for biodegradable over recyclable packaging, largely due to increased awareness of plastic’s presence in and effect on marine ecosystems. The demand for sustainable palm oil has also continued to rise and, today, there are 164 sites in the United States that are Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil certified (including many in the baking sector).
Sustainable energy and energy efficiency have also been big focus areas for food production companies recently and they come with an added bonus — smaller utility bills. Campbell Soup Co. recently reduced the electrical consumption at a manufacturing plant in Ohio by 15 percent after installing 25,000 solar panels. Similarly, a Pepperidge Farm plant in Connecticut is now capable of generating 100 percent of its electricity through two fuel cells and a 1 MW solar array.
Food waste has long been a global issue and the U.N Food and Agriculture Organization recently reported that more than 1 billion tons (approximately one third) of the food produced for human consumption is wasted. To address this huge problem, companies like Flowers Foods are setting (and reaching) lofty goals. The company is within 1 percent of its goal to reach 90 percent zero-waste-to-landfill. The Kroger Co. aims to become a fully zero-waste company by 2025 and has already joined with strategic partners, including Feeding America, in order to make this a reality.
There are seemingly endless ways that we, as members of the baking industry, can help create a healthier planet. And IBIE makes it easier than ever to shop sustainable suppliers—from organic and fair trade ingredients to zero waste equipment. Not to mention our BEST in Baking Industry Awards that recognize suppliers that foster energy conservation, reduced water usage, a decrease in landfill waste, healthy living and/ or a reduction of the overall impact on the environment. These suppliers will be featured in the BEST in Baking Lounge in the Grand Lobby and designated in the Official IBIE Directory.
This Earth Day let us know about the great things your company is doing for our planet by nominating it for a BEST in Baking award in Sustainability. This category honors suppliers and bakers that are working to reduce their impact on the environment through the equipment, ingredients, packaging and technology that they use. In an effort to provide a better future for our world and our industry by showcasing bakers and suppliers who are doing outstanding things, the BEST in Baking awards now include three new categories: Sanitation, Product Innovation and Workforce Development. Learn more about the BEST in Baking program categories and nominate your business now!