Renewable Energy At OSI Now And In The Future
June 25, 2019
Addressing climate change is a central business issue at OSI. Achieving continuous improvement in energy efficiency and taking steps to reduce our carbon footprint are of critical importance to both our company operations and our stakeholders. As with any manufacturing process, we rely heavily on energy throughout our operations - from grinding and forming to cooking, to chilling or freezing our products prior to packaging, right through to distribution. In these activities, our main sources of energy and greenhouse gases (GHG) within Scopes 1 and 2 of our carbon footprint come from natural gas, which, in addition to our cooling activities, comprise the two largest sources of GHG emissions from our direct operations.
We have prioritized renewable energy sources, energy monitoring, and refrigeration equipment calibration and have installed alternative systems to reduce our negative impacts and pursue our commitment to continuous improvement. We also have a history of partnering with other suppliers to strategically locate our facilities and, when possible, share logistics capacity in order to cut down on transportation associated with our products. These activities have allowed us to keep our emissions sources low and reduce energy used in our operations.
OSI has made some significant investments in renewable energy activity. In fact, OSI’s newest, state-of-the-art beef abattoir and processing plant opened in 2014 and was specifically designed to ensure that Pickstock Telford could achieve its vision of being the most environmentally friendly and sustainable red meat manufacturing establishment in the United Kingdom. In 2016, it became the first beef slaughter facility in England to install an Anaerobic Digestion (AD) plant on-site, which enabled us to take our sustainability commitments one step further with the production of valuable renewable energy, generation of our own electricity, and creation of nutrient-rich fertilizer all from our plant’s waste streams.
The high level of performance in each of these three areas has allowed us to achieve the difficult industry specification, British Standards Institution Publicly Available Specification 110, or BSI PAS 110, for the Green Energy AD. Each month, we’ve been pleased to track our environmental performance and can proudly report significant reductions in CO2 emissions associated with off-site treatment and transport of waste, as well as substantial cost savings from our on-site electrical generation and regeneration of heat for hot water and cleaning systems.
The OSI Supply Chain team has been a critical part of switching to renewable energy sources. Facilities across Europe have also long prioritized the purchasing of green energy to power their plants, from either the grid or their own self-generation. 70 percent of OSI Europe’s total power supply is coming from renewable energy sources. For the OSI Food Solutions division, that number goes to 85 percent. OSI Europe has 13 facilities spread across Austria, Germany, Poland, UK and Spain that are powered by 100 percent renewable energy purchases for electricity.
In Poland, OSI Europe’s facility utilizes two well-known renewable energy sources: solar and wind. This, in conjunction with various other sustainable technologies employed at the plant, produces an environmental benefit by reducing the plant’s carbon footprint. In fact, the entire building reached gold certification by Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), the most widely used green building certification program in the world. Two other OSI buildings, the European regional office in Gersthofen, Germany and the manufacturing facility in Henan, China also hold LEED certifications.
The OSI facility in Toledo, Spain, was able to merge business needs with the desire to utilize renewable energy resources. This plant needed to expand to almost double its capacity, but the local energy company and city council were unable to provide OSI with the energy necessary to run the plant’s expansion. OSI Europe viewed this hurdle as an opportunity to build a cogeneration plant to produce its own renewable energy.
Cogeneration is beneficial for a number of reasons. First, using such a plant means OSI does not have to rely on external sources of energy or power from the local grid. Additionally, not all renewables are stable enough to run major operations. Using our own cogeneration plant allows us to be both stable and sustainable in our operations.
Today, the plant is running off stable energy, has reduced CO2 emissions, and purchases any electricity needed from 100 percent certified renewable energy providers, from a mix of wind, solar and other renewable sources.
THE FUTURE OF RENEWABLE ENERGY AT OSI
The demand for renewable energy and the ability to use these energy sources are much more prevalent in Germany than other countries in the European Union. The country as a whole is working hard to eliminate nuclear power plants and fill the gaps with renewable energy to achieve its 2050 renewable energy goals.
OSI has been converting our facilities in Europe to renewable energy electricity purchases as well. Through OSI Europe’s own initiative called Eco-Energy, we purchase energy from 100 percent renewable sources through Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs). The RECs support new renewables investments and expand renewable capacity throughout Europe. We are also working towards 75 percent of total purchases coming from 100 percent renewable sources and are making sure that all of the progress we make in procuring energy from renewable sources continues. That is why all contracts for 100 percent renewable energy stay at 100 percent when they expire and need to be renewed or agreed upon with another partner.
The desire for OSI to run operations from renewable energy sources comes from our own business imperative and also from governments and communities around the world. Governments and the general public are becoming more aware of the benefits of using renewable energy and are putting pressure on companies, organizations and individuals to transition most, if not all, of their power generation to these sources. These combining interests have helped empower OSI Europe to take the steps necessary to go from using 45 percent renewable energy to 70 percent renewable energy by the end of 2019. We have ambitious plans for OSI’s business and renewable energy use around the world.
These plans are sure to expand with the growing accessibility and cost effectiveness of procuring renewable energy. We are proud of the achievements we have made and are excited about the future of renewable energy at OSI.