Rochdale firms pledge to reduce carbon footprint

Posted by on 10 Jun 2021

Image: Rochdale firms pledge to reduce carbon footprint

Two major Rochdale companies have outlined their plans to reduce their carbon footprint – and they hope other businesses will follow suit.

Dunsters Farm and Lancashire Farm Dairies have followed in the footsteps of fellow Rochdale business Crystal Doors in pledging to become more sustainable.

Under the leadership of managing director Richard Hagan, Crystal Doors was honoured this year with a prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise for Sustainable Development in 2021.

Lancashire Farm Dairies has already taken a number of steps to cut their carbon emissions but chief operating officer Sarfaraz Akram said the natural yogurt manufacturer planned to go even further.

He said: “We’ve reduced the amount of waste going to landfill by 100 tonnes and a company-wide focus on water usage has resulted in annual savings of over five million litres of water.

“We’ve also installed electricity monitoring units in our manufacturing site allowing us to monitor and therefore manage electricity usage in real time.”

All milk under the Lancashire Farm brand is sourced from ‘free range herds’ and is backed up by the company’s grazing guarantee which ensures the cows spend at least 150 days outside grazing per year.

Akram said: “We’re not resting on our laurels and are keen to explore new technologies and invest in renewables. We’re also focusing on increasing pallet utilisation and optimising our deliveries.”

The Rochdale manufacturer also employs locally wherever possible and is setting up bulk collection areas when collecting milk from local farms to reduce vehicle miles.

Finally, Lancashire Farm Dairies is investing over £500,000 in three new farm collection vehicles, which are much more efficient with improved technology.

Dunsters Farm received a 2019 Green Wholesaler of the Year Award and has committed to its car fleet being completely electric by 2025.

Managing director Hannah Barlow said: “We are totally aware of the impact of our business on the environment and are keen to act in a way that makes a real difference – rather than just being tokenistic.

“We are restricted in some ways by our physical site. For example, we’d love solar panels but the roof won’t hold the weight and we looked into an on-site wind turbine however we don’t have the space!

“We challenge our staff team to come up with ideas too. We’re installing a ‘wild meadow’ section on our site and one member of staff is growing trees from seed and we’ve provided them with some space to plant these on site.”

Alongside her brother Tom Mathew, Hannah Barlow is the third generation of her family to run the wholesaler. Their parents Elizabeth and Jeremy Matthew are both still involved in the business.

She said: “We feel like we have done a lot of the basics like installing LED lighting and having a zero to landfill policy and are now looking at how we can be a bit more innovative.

“We have committed to our car fleet being electric by 2025 and are already part way there with fully electric cars. We are working on adding an electric van to our fleet but are struggling to find an electric vehicle of the required specification.

“We have teamed up with a number of food waste charities and most recently, Trees for Cities, who work creating green spaces in urban areas and edible gardens for schoolchildren.

“Our vision is to be the North’s number 1 purpose driven wholesaler and our environmental impact is a big factor to us achieving this vision.”

Dunsters Farm now works with an energy company who use offshore wind farms to provide renewable energy to its site. Barlow added: “We have invested heavily in software to ensure fuel efficiency and monitor key indicators such as idling. We backhaul from six suppliers currently, avoiding vehicles returning empty and saving another vehicle being put on the road unnecessarily. “We are currently working with suppliers to ensure they are able to meet the new guidelines on the elimination of single use plastic straws. “We also work with Terracycle to recycle crisp packets, old pens and even cigarette waste. All the waste collected is made into useful products or composted.

“As a family-run business, we want to safeguard our business for future generations. That can only be done by ensuring the company does its utmost to improve and maintain our sustainability now. Companies which don’t now place a focus on this, are likely to face challenges in the future.”

If you’re a Rochdale business and want more information and want to see how you can reduce your carbon footprint contact Mark Bramah, climate change and sustainability project manager at Rochdale Borough Council on or phone 01706 924738.

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