BCMA holds sustainability summit

by Lime Energy
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lime energy The Biscuit and Cracker Manufacturers' Association (BCMA) held its first sustainability summit in Dallas, TX, May 4. The summit agenda paired up vendor-and-baker teams to describe opportunities that they worked on together to save costs and achieve sustainability goals. The presentations delivered a description of the problem or opportunity, the process of vendor selection, a description of the solution, and a report on implementation and results. Companies represented included Lime Energy, Kraft Foods, Kellogg Company, Oak State Products, and Schulze and Burch Biscuit Co.

Andrew Tybus, associate principal engineer and sustainability lead at Kraft Foods in East Hanover, NJ, led off the company presentations with his description of how Kraft is focusing on agricultural practices and raw material sourcing to achieve savings in resource inputs along the supply chain. Kraft also uses what it calls a “Sustainability Wheel” to direct the company's efforts in saving energy and reducing operating costs. This tool points to continuous improvement in six categories — agricultural commodities, packaging, energy, water, waste and transportation/distribution — all wrapped in continuous improvement to avoid letting that low-hanging fruit grow back. Kraft became an EPA Energy Star partner in June 2007.

Kellogg Company was represented by Matthew McGinness, senior manager of environmental programs at the company's Battle Creek, MI headquarters. Matthew reported that Kellogg has begun measuring daily energy usage, and because of those measurements, the company better understands baseline operational requirements. This data, when compared with actual production statistics, helps Mr. McGinness and his team understand what can be changed and what is fixed in the way of energy use.

James McBride, vice-president, quality assurance at Schulze and Burch, Chicago, IL, talked about byproduct synergy (BPS), which means matching under-valued waste or byproduct streams with potential users. This matching helps create streams of new revenues or savings and can take place within a company or within a geographical area among neighboring companies.

Laureen Miranda, food processing group business development manager from Lime Energy, Chicago, IL, reported on this simple question: How much electricity does it take to power a commercial baking operation and why? She introduced the concept of the triple bottom line, where technology drives cost reduction, improves the workplace for employees and customers, and also benefits the environment. Continuing with the message from other speakers, Ms. Miranda stressed the benefits of tracking and reporting energy costs, and prioritizing plants and processes for highest financial return. Her final comments centered on working with an implementation partner with design/build capability to achieve cost savings as quickly as possible.

Dave Van Laar, president and CEO of Oak State Products, Wenona, IL, served as moderator for the summit. BCMA is a 110-year-old full-service international trade organization representing the entire spectrum of companies in the manufacturing of cookies and crackers and the suppliers to the baking industry. Together with Energy Star, the association helped develop an Energy Performance Index (EPI) rating system as a way for producers of cookies and crackers to track energy savings and receive recognition for their efforts. Read the announcement of the cookie and cracker industry EPI's development here.

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