Land O’Lakes has cut its energy use by seven percent thanks to a number of energy-saving initiatives including equipment and facility enhancements, according to the company’s 2010 Corporate Social Responsibility Report.
Land O’Lakes, a national farmer-owned food and agricultural cooperative, has three approaches to promoting environmental stewardship: working with farmers to use safe agricultural technology, collaborating with industry partners to develop and promote sustainability initiatives and working at its offices and facilities to reduce the use of water, energy and other resources as well as to cut waste generation and increase recycling and the use of renewable sources.
Here are some report highlights.
One of Land O’ Lakes’ key initiatives is the “Field to Market – The Keystone Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture,” comprised of grower organizations, agribusinesses, food companies, conservation organizations and academic/ government agency partners. This initiative is aimed at promoting field sustainability in food, feed and fiber production.
In 2009, Field to Market launched its Fieldprint Calculator for growers, a free online tool that helps producers measure, evaluate and improve the productivity and sustainability of their operations.
Over the past three years, Land O’Lakes has been working with Dairy Management, Inc. (DMI), a dairy industry association, and DMI’s “Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy” to help improve the environmental footprint of the dairy supply chain.
In the area of facilities, the company is working to reduce its energy consumption. As an example, the Dairy Foods Division, which is Land O’Lakes’ most energy-intensive business, averaged a two percent reduction in energy consumption per pound of product produced between 2005 and 2008.
In 2009, Land O’Lakes established a companywide Energy Council, which set a goal to reduce energy use per pound of product by 25 percent over a 10-year period using 2008 as a baseline. The company expects to meet this goal through energy awareness and education, equipment/facility enhancements, consumption tracking and adjustment, and the use of alternative and renewable energy sources.
In its first year of operation, the Energy Council delivered a 7-percent reduction in energy use. The company is implementing energy-saving facility improvements across its dairy foods plants, including investment in more energy efficient boilers and heating systems, improved equipment and facility insulation, more efficient air compressors, and heat recovery systems.
Measured against its 2008 energy use baseline, the company expects to achieve the following energy use reductions at the following facilities.
–4 percent at the Carlisle, Pa. plant
–3 percent at the Kiel, Wis. plant
–2 percent at the Melrose, Minn. plant
–2 percent at the Spencer, Wis. plant
–3 percent at the Tulare, Calif. plant
–1 percent at the Orland, Calif. plant
The company’s energy conservation plans include investment in enhanced “real-time” energy use monitoring, tracking systems to ensure that existing energy conservation projects continue to deliver savings, help identify energy use issues, and develop new energy reduction opportunities.
The company’s Water Sustainability Team is working to reduce water use per pound of production by 25 percent over a 10-year period using 2008 as a baseline. Initiatives include measuring water use and raising awareness of water-reduction techniques, developing and implementing water efficiency projects as well as capturing, treating and reusing water.
The company has completed audits at five facilities in 2009 with plans to evaluate all of its dairy production facilities. Initial results from the audits, which focused on Dairy Foods plants, indicate the potential for water savings system-wide, says Land O’Lakes.
In 2009, the Dairy Foods business achieved a 6.5-percent reduction in water used per pound of production.
Other environmental achievements include increasing overall transportation efficiency by six percent between 2006 and 2009, by focusing on energy-efficient transportation, optimizing routing and improving the efficiency of transportation resources.
The company is also reducing packaging material volume and developing sources for additional recyclable materials. As an example, packaging initiatives between 2006 and 2008 reduced the amount of paper required for its products by more than 450 tons.
Six additional projects implemented by its Sustainable Packaging Team in 2009 reduced packaging volume by another 163 tons (including paper-based materials and plastic resin).
One project included reducing the weight of the Land O’ Lakes Light Butter with Canola Oil tub, which cut packaging material by ten percent.
The company also is working to reduce waste. As an example, in 2009, the cooperative’s Purina Feed Division reduced the volume of material sent to trash by approximately 20,000 tons, and cut the volume of reworked materials by nearly 8,000 tons. These efforts equate to a 10-percent reduction in trash volume and a 25-percent reduction in rework materials.