Challenges ahead for CHR Hansen sustainability

By Neil Merrett

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Chr hansen, Better

CHR Hansen says that investment in production equipment efficiency,
and changing employee attitudes to natural resource use, remain the
key drivers in its company-wide sustainability drive.

The manufacturer claims in its latest Global Environment Report that it has reduced raw material and energy use for the second year in a row during fiscal 2007, as part of a wider focus on production efficiency. Collaborations with groups like Dong Energy for sustainability helped the focus, though the company said that there was more needed in the area of cutting material and water use, which had risen again following recent declines. Environmental pressure ​ Like a growing number of food and drink manufacturers, CHR Hansen is coming under increasing pressure from consumers and regulators alike to ensure their operations are environmentally sustainable In attempting to boost the company's green credentials, CHR Hansen chairman Lars Frederiksen said he was confident that the company remains on track to meet its aims. "I am convinced that as long as we continue to focus on improving the efficiencies of everything we do we have great possibilities to lift our performance,"​ he stated. However, over the course of the 2007 financial year, the group said that although it had cut absolute consumption of energy and raw materials, there were a number of challenges to address, resulting from changing consumer needs. Customer requirements for improved water quality had meant that consumption of the product had increased. Similarly, growing demand for CHR Hansen culture products had upped the group's reliance on nitrogen and dry ice ensuring that chemical and packaging material usage also rose during the period. Despite these chemical and packaging increases, the company said that environmental performance indicators (EPIs) charted a definite improvement in how the group was using energy in the production of its goods. As a result of declining success in the group's drive for water and waste reduction, which in previous years had been positively affected, CHR Hansen said it has enacted "aggressive reduction targets​" in these areas to help aid further operational benefits. "We have realized two things; first of all the need to improve our monitoring capacity further to ensure that our baseline measurements are correct and comparable,"​ the company stated. "Second, we have changed the method of calculating the EPIs because we saw that clear improvements were not materializing in the performance data - in fact we are using less resources to produce more."​ The group added that developing a new tool to report operational changes to outputs and consumption levels could Safety improvements ​ Besides its drives for improvements in environmental impact, the company added that it had also seen benefits to its staff from following the LEAN principles, which aim to reduce excess movement and wastage to improve efficiency. As a result, accidents were said to down both in terms of number and severity, with the majority related to contusion and abrasion, strains and cuts, according to the company. Levels of non-compliance were also positively affected compared to the previous fiscal according to the company. "Instances of non-compliance and accidental releases mainly related to a potential violation of our waste water permits [from] pH violation and emission of a cooling agent,"​ the company stated. "The relevant authorities were notified and no adverse effects were observed."​ The group claims it was also working on complaints from people residing near its operations, who said that odours were being omitted from the plant, by moving to improve engineering controls.

Related topics: Processing & Packaging

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