Sustainability at BakingTech
“Nourishing for Generations” proved to be true during the Best Week in Baking this year. Bakers and their industry partners gathered in Chicago and shared what will help enrich the industry for generations to come in order to competitive in the global economy, starting with the Bakery Equipment Manufacturers and Allieds (BEMA) Winter Summit March 5-6, and ending with the American Society of Baking (ASB)'s BakingTech March 6-9. Sustainability was a major focus of the BakingTech conference.
Walt Tunnessen, US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Energy Star national program manager, delivered a valuable presentation that highlighted how to begin, improve and excel in corporate sustainability plans. Tunnessen also shared how to achieve recognition for such efforts; companies can earn recognition through taking the Energy Star Challenge for Industry and become an Energy Star Partner. By reducing energy consumption 10% over a 5-year period, a company of any size can become an Energy Star Partner and proudly display the Energy Star logo on all company collateral.
In a panel Q&A session after his presentation, Tunnessen clarified that the Energy Star logo shouldn't be placed on product packaging to avoid confusion since consumers are used to seeing the logo on products that are energy-efficient themselves. Rather, companies can use the logo on their websites and marketing materials, and they can claim on their packaging that their products were "produced in an Energy Star-certified plant."
Dave Van Laar, president and CEO, Oak State Products, Wenona, IL, shared that in his personal experience, nearly all companies today have sustainability and corporate citizenship as chief requirements to become part of its supply chain. Additionally, any company that engages in reducing costs and eliminating waste will increase profitability and employee satisfaction. Wall Street is also evaluating a company’s worth through the Dow Jones Industrial Sustainability Index, which measures how sustainability leadership benefits the stock price and improves the bottom line.
It is exciting to see members of the industry join forces to work together to investigate create a baking-specific Energy Performance Indicator (EPI) for Energy Star. ASB, the American Bakers Association (ABA) and BEMA are working hard to rally members and determine the best course of action to forge ahead in this arena.
It is clear that prudent companies are adopting these practices and that corporate sustainability focus teams, engineering directors, CEOs and CFOs are looking for help to embrace these initiatives.
Find resources for the Energy Star Challenge and Partnerships
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