FOSTORIA, OHIO — Maintaining physical and natural resources, preventing environmental degradation and promoting meaningful social dimensions are among the sustainability efforts underway at The Mennel Milling Co., the Fostoria-based company noted in a new sustainability report issued March 3.
“It is a proud moment for Mennel to publish its seminal Sustainability Report, showcasing the great work of the people at Mennel,” said Scott Osborne, PhD, vice president of innovation at Mennel. “We recognize the importance of being good stewards of our great resources — the land, air, and water — which are fundamental to producing a healthy, abundant bushel of wheat.”
Mennel noted that producing a bushel of wheat requires soil health, quality air, proper nutrients and protection from pests and severe weather. The company supports the United Nations Global Compact Principles & Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and is focusing its efforts on two SDG goals — zero hunger and life on land.
“Mennel is making a commitment to global soil health,” the company said. “We will partner with industry leaders to share and promote better soil management practices so that the producers within our footprint can be informed and make long-lasting changes to their greatest resource – their soil. We will take guidance from the Principles for Sustainable Soil Management (as part of UN Global Compact). We also recognize that soil and water must be managed in tandem so we will be encouraging the proper management of water availability and quality through practices such as buffers and riparian margins.”
Mennel, which has 6 flour mills, 13 country grain elevators, 3 trucking divisions and 2 bakery mix facilities, will focus its sustainability efforts around three pillars: economic, environmental and social. This division will allow it to make strategic choices, monitor progress and celebrate success, the company said.
In the economic pillar, Mennel is always looking for energy savings opportunities, including LED and motion-activated lighting, variable speed drives and power correction capacitors. It works with local energy suppliers’ energy curtailment programs for demand management and grid reliability. Mennel recently expanded an existing solar array in Mount Olive, Ill., to supply power to the mill’s back pit with a significant portion rerouted to the grid.
Action items in this pillar include detecting and reducing air leaks with the use of ultrasonic probe guns and replacing propane forklifts with electric, autonomous guided vehicles.
In the environmental pillar, Mennel is involved in recycling programs at all its facilities and converts more than 99% of unusable or off-spec product. For example, dry mix materials are converted by a third-party company into animal by-products. Wheat middlings are shipped to local feed mills and repurposed into animal feed.
The company also finds ways to maximize trailer capacity within its transportation and logistics divisions.
Action items in this area include the introduction of composting programs at all facilities and partnering with Great Lakes Yield Enhancement Network (YEN) to expand the number of growers in the program.
In the social pillar, Mennel focuses on building strong community partnerships as well as stable jobs and career advancement opportunities. Some examples include providing living wage total compensation and encouraging work-life balance for our employees. It also offers an employee assistance program, higher education tuition assistance, and financial planning services.
Mennel serves local community organizations through charitable giving, volunteering and participation in outreach efforts.The company also participates in Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audits (SMETA) to demonstrate its commitment to labor, environment, health and safety, and business ethics. Mennel selectively partners with businesses who work within its Vendor Code of Conduct.