Brakes, one of the UKs leading foodservice suppliers, is using a wide variety of solutions to minimise the impact of the business on the environment through increased efficiency and green business practices.
In 2008 Brakes reduced energy consumption through a combination of operational changes, internal awareness campaigns around energy efficiency and training employees to think green. Brakes has managed to reduce the usage of electricity and gas even though the business has grown significantly over the same period. Temperature controlled environment provides a safe place for products to be stored, and since January 2008 Brakes has reduced electricity usage within these from 75,000MWh to 73,200MWh, with a consequent reduction of 967 tonnes of CO2. Despite using significantly less gas than electricity, Brakes has still managed to reduce usage by over 30 per cent since January 2007.
Delivering to customers is another key area Brakes has moved to make key reductions in. Often bulk delivery vehicles only carry products to a drop off point, leading to distribution inefficiencies as the vehicle could be driving empty for 50 per cent of the time. Brakes endeavours to use vehicles to full capacity wherever possible, known as back haulage. Brakes ability to back haul product has avoided over 900,000 food miles in 2008, saving 430,000 litres of diesel equating to 1,131 tonnes of CO2.
Since 2008, vehicles delivering to London require a minimum of Euro III engines in line with the low emission policy, with a target of Euro IV by 2012. All Brakes vehicles already have Euro IV and many have Euro V engines, meaning Brakes is running ahead of initial targets.
Through close work with a major customer in Ireland, Brakes has consolidated the number of deliveries it received by reducing frequency. This has allowed Brakes to reduce food miles by 73 per cent from 1.9m to 0.52m, a reduction in CO2 emissions of 1,800 tonnes.
Packaging. Waste and Recycling:
Use of packaging and the recycling of waste products has also been a key area for reducing waste within the business. Recycling has been significantly improved since 2007, with an increase from 10 per cent to 40 per cent with further reductions still filtering through. 180 tonnes of packaging material was saved in 2008 (109 tonnes of cardboard, and 71 tonnes of plastics) through working with suppliers producing more environmentally friendly packaging. Pauleys fresh produce box replaced the Eco Tray in October 2008, the box is topless and delivers the products in prime condition to customers, while using 20- 25 per cent less packaging. The carbon footprint has also been reduced as the original Eco Tray was made in Spain, and the new box is also made from 100 per cent recycled cardboard and fully biodegradable materials.
As well as promoting green thinking through Brakes consumption of energy, each business within the Group continues to evaluate business practices, to meet the need for sustainable and ethical business on every level. M&J Seafood, Brakes Group fresh fish specialist is renowned for championing the sustainable fish and seafood debate and offers more MSC certified products than any other supplier the UK foodservice market. Building on this standing and for the second season, M&J Seafood has an agreement with two Cornish boats the Charisma and Nova Spero, to take the majority of their catch of British albacore tuna exclusively for the UK foodservice market. Offering a responsible alternative to bluefin tuna, sourcing albacore reduces the impact fishing has on other tuna species, as well as reducing food miles and continuing the good work of the local skippers.