The fourth in our Energy Management Best Practice series focused on a company that is committed to sustainable practices in all aspects of their business. With a holistic approach, embracing the triple bottom line (economic, environmental and social needs), Beau’s Brewery routinely demonstrates the positive impact a focused strategy can bring in this regard.
Hosted by HFS – Healthcare Food Services in Ottawa, participating Manufacturers were treated to an engaging morning with Beau’s Brewery and Provision Coalition followed by a wonderful overview and plant tour by our Host.
Beau’s Brewery, located in Vankleek Hill (45 minutes southeast of Ottawa), began in 2006 with five employees and today - eight years later - engages a workforce of 150. They have worked hard to accomplish their goals and year over year have recognized the benefits a commitment to sustainable practices can bring. We were very pleased to have Steve Beauchesne an Owner of Beau’s Brewery share his insight on their growth, their challenges, and the future for their organization. A few highlights from his presentation have been captured in the paragraphs following.
Brewing has been a very sustainable product historically speaking. To that end, Beau’s Brewery makes every effort to source locally grown and organically produced products including encouraging farmers to engage in hop production. To date, 20-30% of their hops supply is grown locally and organically produced. In keeping with this course of supply, in 2008 they were certified organic by Pro Cert Organic. Unique to the brewing industry, every beer produced must be individually certified organic. Certification has certainly made sourcing for some of their raw ingredients an interesting pursuit! It also meant building awareness and implementing changes ie. Such as use of acceptable cleaning products. There are over 150 breweries in Ontario (35 in Ottawa) and new breweries are opening up every week – setting oneself apart with sustainable work practices provides an edge.
As with any food and beverage company in today’s environment, Traceability is extremely important. Beau’s made a significant investment in a new ERP system to help in that regard and regularly practice mock recalls. Standard operating procedures help ensure the right processes are followed and high quality product produced.
Interestingly, Beau’s Brewery was the first brewery in Canada to achieve B-Corp status. Known as a “Benefit Corporation”, organizations participating as such are committed to Performance, Accountability, and Transparency. B Corps focus on the importance of business beyond shareholder wealth and concentrate on the opportunities for the environment and the community. With rigid scoring requirements, it is difficult to achieve but it does provide those committed an opportunity to differentiate themselves from “pretenders”, ensures the development of a road map for sustainability, offers continued growth and development through partnership with peers, and enables their sustainability mission to become a permanent legacy. Through the assessment process, a company can virtually tailor their own plan of action. Today there are 1298 B-Corp companies, 125 of which are in the food and beverage industry - seven of those are breweries - three here in Canada alone Beau’s Brewery being the first!
If becoming a B-Corp is of interest, it was suggested that the easiest and quickest way to begin a journey of this nature might be through the adoption of sustainable purchasing practices. Beau’s promotes minority owned and progressive companies, they use paper that is 100% recyclable, and post-recycling items such as labels, marketing, toilet paper, corn based cups etc. They even hired a local woodworker to carve their taps which inevitably led to the growth of his business and the employment of three full time employees!
Community involvement is very important to B-Companies and Beau’s Brewery goes above and beyond in demonstrating their commitment in that regard. Its philanthropy efforts have included donations to over 100 charities each year and it is anticipated that 2015 efforts in this regard will equate to $1 Million. Their annual Oktoberfest celebrations alone results in $100,000 to charity. With 20,000 participants and $300,000 spent in the community at large the economic spinoff is estimated to be $1.8 Million for the Prescott Russell area.
Perhaps one of the more interesting and impactful projects that Beau’s has adopted is “Operation Come Home”. This involves hiring homeless youth over 19 to deliver their products to customers in Ottawa. The program has seen some very hopeful results and so far eight youth are off the streets and now either attending University or participating in full time work. A noble and very worthy endeavour.
It is no wonder that through their concerted efforts to the environment, to their community and to their Team, that Beau’s Brewery continues to grow rapidly inspiring and attracting the best people for positions and receiving up to 150 applications for any job.
They have enjoyed the opportunity to share their story at events, in press and in magazines – are humbled by the awards won – such as the Premier’s Award for Innovation in the Food Industry, appreciative of the grants that have enabled their growth and looking forward to an exciting future!
A few thoughts to consider:
* You need to do the right things for the right reasons
* No one can say what the ROI is for investment in sustainability
* As part of your budgeting process, consider departmental goal setting with sustainability in mind
* Try to develop competitiveness through benchmarking initiatives encouraging participation and leading to an engaged and motivated Team
* Consider weighting moral value vs quality of products
* Look at local inputs and available supply, is there an opportunity to encourage growth and development?
Finally, Steve emphatically stated that one of the most important things a company can do is to get involved in Provision Coalition’s Online Sustainability Portal. Participating in the portal allows a company to benchmark and track all related energy inputs and for them served as a springboard to becoming a B-Corp.!
There is also a really good “Quick Assessment Tool” which is available free from B-Lab (which takes about 20 minutes to complete)
http://www.bcorporation.net Assessment Tool: http://b-lab.force.com/bcorp/AssessmentRegistration
And for those who are interested in learning more about becoming Organic or sourcing Organic – check out Pro Cert Organic – www.pro-cert.org
Joining us from Provision Coalition, the industry's leading voice on sustainability, was Meena Hassanali. Provision Coalition has developed an incredible one-stop online sustainability portal with tools and resources designed to assist manufacturers assess and monitor their sustainability performance and benchmark their progress with others in industry.
The conversation started with the group considering the importance of metrics, measurement and accountability and how the challenge more often than not lies in collecting meaningful and verifiable data. The market is demanding more information and data than ever before, and food manufacturers are getting pressured for "responsible sourcing". We then looked at the triple bottom line - what does it mean from a business perspective? Provision Coalition's stance is it can be equated to balancing economic, environmental and social impacts to core business strategy, culture, and decision making.
Involving our organizations in a journey of sustainability means a focus on economic, environmental needs, and social responsibility. We need to consider building a culture of engagement, enhancing our supply chain partners, and appreciating the positive financial impact that taking a stance of this nature might lend to our organization - in a nutshell, it's the integration of three pillars.
Like any journey from a continuous improvement standpoint, it's a forever proposition. Of the five stages, (Pre-Compliance/Compliance/Beyond Compliance/Clean Production/Integrated Strategy) most companies are comfortable starting from the Compliance/Beyond Compliance Stage in the sustainability continuum.
Sustainability Challenges and Risks:
- Climate change
- Rising material costs
- Energy, water, wastewater, waste
- Customer demand, social accountability
- Responsible sourcing
- Retaining talent, engaged team
- Community involvement, philanthropy
- Data transparency, verification and collection
A global survey recently conducted on Sustainability by McKinsey and Company (2014) demonstrated that international corporate attitudes and actions towards embracing sustainability as a core business strategy are changing - a good thing!
Some of the challenges companies face when looking to improve their sustainability performance include the actual execution of a sustainability plan, how to take part in initiatives, and balancing short term needs against the long-term scope. To assist with integrating sustainability into day to day operations, Provision Coalition has created some amazing tools and resources such as the 'how-to integrate sustainability framework' available on their online portal.
Meena explained that Provision Coalition's Online Sustainability Portal is designed to help food and beverage manufacturers assess, monitor and improve their sustainability performance, offering a quick peek at where you are today and where you can go in the future. It's a great resource for manufacturers looking to begin or expand their focus on sustainability. Global requirements (ie. Walmart, McDonald's) were incorporated into its development in an effort to help indentify industry gaps and opportunities. Tools such as the Self-Assessment Survey allows manufacturers to see how their facility's sustainability performance measures up and compare results to industry benchmarks. The Key Performance Indicator Scorecard allows facilities to use their production data, along with natural gas, electricity, water and waste figures, to generate environmental key performance indicators (KPIs) and track performance targets. And for those working towards an ISO 50001 Environmental Management System, the Portal could also be very useful in guiding your company's progress.
Food in Canada featured the portal in their November/December 2013 issue - "Opening the Door to Sustainability".
Where to start? Here are some preliminary questions to consider if you are considering a Sustainability Journey:
- Do you have a shared vision?
- Do you have the right people in place?
- How are you driving accountability?
- Are you disciplined enough?
- Do you understand the tools available to your business?
One of the biggest challenges we face - regardless of the continuous improvement project itself - is engagement. How do you get people on the floor motivated about achieving goals that align with, in this case, energy management targets and sustainability goals? Companies are seriously exploring how to motivate others in this regard and trying different means in which to seek involvement. At the end of the day, we need to stay focused on what brought us to this point in the first place - "we are doing this because...." - and gain participation and input from that aspect.
Any global food sector company can now log in to the Online Sustainability Portal. There is a Self-Assessment Tool available to help ascertain where a company may be in their sustainability initiatives and to help identify gaps where improvements can be made. The comprehensive survey consists of close to 100 questions and takes about an hour to complete. Also available is a Funding Database that will be very useful to anyone looking at building a business case and exploring the financing opportunities to make it happen.
If you would like to learn more about Provision Coalition, please feel free to contact Meena at firstname.lastname@example.org - she would be delighted to hear from you. Their website and Online Sustainability Portal can be accessed at: www.provisioncoalition.com.
HFS – Healthcare Food Services:
Our Host then provided an excellent overview of their company followed by a plant tour.
HFS – Healthcare Food Services caters to the healthcare industry providing meals that have a home-cooked flavour with no preservatives and all natural products. This is an interesting and very well laid-out facility that manages 440 sku’s with short runs and not a lot of automation. They provide a variety of nutritious well-balanced single meal servings as well as meeting customer needs for bulk requirements. One of the comments from our Host was that in one day, production was such that they could feed a person dinner for lifetime! HFS is HACCP Accredited, HALAL Certified and nut-free.
Quality, taste and dedication are very important to the company and as such they endeavour to look at ways to continuously improve their product and service. One of these ways is through bi-annual benchmarking on items such as the cost of food, satisfaction scores, delivery, etc.
HFS also hosts the “Future of Food in Healthcare Conference” as a professional development opportunity for those in the industry. This is a very worthy endeavour that has grown year over year and is now taking place in Toronto.
Recently, there was an interesting article published in Canadian Packaging profiling HFS and the implementation of new food inspection technology that they adopted through Eagle Product Inspection. To read more about HFS’ endeavours in this regard, please check out the article below:
“Home and Away – Foodservice Operator Uses Eagle Eyes to Ensure Failproof Product Safety”, Andrew Joseph, Canadian Packaging, June 2014, pp. 12-16 – www.canadianpackaging.com
Very, very special thanks to our Host, HFS-Healthcare Food Services, for the warm welcome, excellent overview and plant tour – and to our Presenters - Meena Hassanali from Provision Coalition and Steve Beauchesne from Beau’s Brewery for sharing their Energy Management and Sustainability Journey to date and to all those who participated in this Special EMC Food Sector Event!!
All the best as always!
Bren de Leeuw, Director - EMC Food, Beverage, Bio & Ag Program Canada
Excellence In Manufacturing Consortium - bdeleeuw .org - 519-372-6009
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