Many businesses recognize the ecological imperative of becoming truly sustainable, with stakeholders demanding that they demonstrate leadership and improve environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance outcomes. But often, these companies feel challenged by the daunting task and the perception of the high cost of changing how they operate.
“People have no idea how to get there, or at least to profitably get there,” says Bruce Taylor, founder and president of Enviro-Stewards, an Elmira-based environmental engineering firm. But he’s adamant that, through a holistic comprehensive assessment, organizations can find ways to reduce their ecological footprint and boost their bottom line.
“If you take the right path to get to carbon neutral or even carbon positive, it’s actually one of the best investments you can make,” he says.
Enviro-Stewards, identified by B Corp as one of the “best companies for the world” and selected by the UN Global Compact Network Canada for its Sustainable Development Goal award, has been lauded by Clean50 for its work on projects that enhance efficiencies and profitability of commercial, institutional and industrial facilities. This year, it joins Maple Leaf Foods in celebrating Maple Leaf’s achievement as the world’s first major food manufacturer to become carbon neutral.
“Enviro-Stewards has been a valued partner to Maple Leaf on our journey to become the most sustainable protein company on Earth,” says Tim Faveri, vice president, Sustainability & Shared Value, at Maple Leaf Foods.
Maple Leaf advanced towards its goal – reducing its footprint 50 per cent by 2025 – after engaging Enviro-Stewards to undertake conservation assessments at its 34 manufacturing plants since 2015. Enviro-Stewards, says Mr. Taylor, examined a full spectrum of environmental impacts, from energy and water use to food waste and wastewater loadings.
Engineering teams spent weeks at each facility analyzing processes and procedures, reviewing systems, machinery, output and other details. Each plant received a report with a list of 15 to 30 action items to realize environmental benchmarks as well as corporate ROI.
If food loss and waste were its own country, it would be the world’s third-largest emitter – surpassed only by China and the United States.— Bruce Taylor, Founder and President of Enviro-Stewards
The utility energy audits were Maple Leaf’s first step on its journey to becoming carbon neutral. The action items identified significant utility savings for each facility, with payback averaging less than one year, says Mr. Taylor.
Enviro-Stewards’ approach to helping clients improve their economic and environmental metrics is one of “reduce first,” according to Mr. Taylor. “You can generate a lot of savings by eliminating waste in the first place, which actually has much greater benefits.”
One-third of all food worldwide is wasted. In North American alone, 168 million tonnes, adding up to approximately $278-billion, is annually trashed. The environmental impact of this is jarring, notes Mr. Taylor. “If food loss and waste were its own country, it would be the world’s third-largest emitter- – surpassed only by China and the United States.”
Enviro-Stewards is supporting an initiative led by Champions 12.3, an international coalition of governments, businesses, research institutions, farmer groups and others focused on cutting food waste. In September 2019, Champions 12.3 challenged 12 leading grocery chains to engage 20 of their key suppliers each to reduce food loss by 50 per cent by 2030.
In 2020, Enviro-Stewards won a Clean50 award for food loss prevention completed at 50 food and beverage processors across Canada (averaging $230,000 of savings per facility per year). In 2021, Enviro-Stewards presented case studies of its food loss prevention work with BIMBO Canada and Smithfield Foods to the Commission for Environmental Cooperation, an agreement of NAFTA/USMCA that focuses on environmental issues.
Committed to preventing food waste, Enviro-Stewards helps clients find opportunities up and down the supply chain, Mr. Taylor explains. “Most systems just track the disposal cost, and they find a cheaper way to destroy food more efficiently. But do you really want to waste it in the first place?
“Keeping it as actual food for humans” makes far more sense from an economic, environment and social lens, he adds.
Advertising feature produced by Randall Anthony Communications with Canada’s Clean50. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved.