* The Environmental Protection Agency is Queensland’s lead agency to promote eco-efficiency and sustainability in the agribusiness sector. Agribusiness industry Meat processing Case study CLEANER PRODUCTION Meat processing industry The way forward through eco-efficiency The company Australian Country Choice (ACC) is one Eco-efficiency outcomes of Australia’s leading integrated agri- an environmental management An eco-efficiency assessment at ACC’s chain businesses and one of system, life-cycle assessment regime, Cannon Hill facility has forecast Queenslands largest privately owned cleaner production methods and potential savings of $1.0 million companies. Their Cannon Hill facility eco-labelling principles. before capital expenditure and has capacity to process 5000 cattle a reduction in: Cleaner production week. • total water use by 37 percent A strategic Cleaner Production ACC was the winner of the 2002 • total coal use 36 percent Implementation Plan was developed Queensland Primary Industries at the Cannon Hill facility to address Environment Award and 2002 • total greenhouse gas emissions by eco-efficiency opportunities in water, Queensland Red Meat Innovation 8027 tonnes (CO2) from reduced energy, wastewater and waste solids Environment Award. energy use management. • wastewater by 36 percent The issues The strategy includes a range of • biosolids by 84 percent. In order to meet growing consumer simple and complex modifications This assessment has the potential to which will be carried out in four-stages demands for ‘clean and green’ demonstrate to other companies the products, ACC were supported by their over 10 years. commercial benefits to be gained by 1 of 2 BP 1416 August 2002 client, Coles Supermarkets, to certify implementing good environmental The first stage of the strategy the on-factory environmental management. identifies opportunities that require management system to ISO 14001 minimal capital expense. standards. Sustainable agriculture Environmental programs are becoming increasingly common in the agribusiness sector, management strategies encouraging producers and ACC have deployed a number of processors to improve current business tools to improve their environmental management practices. environmental performance including Examples include: • fitting efficient spray nozzles to Why adopt eco-efficiency strategies? hoses Identifying eco-efficiency strategies is driven by a number of factors: • reducing the water flow & pressure • anticipated shifts in the regulatory framework of water supply • market access opportunities • maintaining minimum flow rates • risk reduction • eliminating all air leaks through • resource savings - more with less regular inspection and maintenance • cost competitiveness and profitability • using water-efficient shower roses • comparative advantage • recycling treated wastewater in non- • performance standardisation internationally food processing applications • changing consumer expectations • introducing practices that reduce • stakeholder/investor expectations. heat ingress into refrigerated areas. These issues are equally relevant to, and increasingly recognised by industry The second stage of the strategy stakeholders in Queensland, and throughout the world. requires plant alterations involving an Eco-efficiency models can be used as a tool to respond to local and intermediate level of capital international trends and realise the economic benefits of improved expenditure while avoiding major environmental performance. They demonstrate the resource productivity process redesign. gains, value creation opportunities and competitive advantage that can This includes initiatives such as: accrue from responsible environmental management. • replacement of sensor and timer ACC are investigating state of the art ACC has made a commitment to controls on hand wash stations methods and technologies that have extend their EMS to deliver integrated • insulated knife sterilisers the potential to deliver further CO2 farm, feedlot and factory ISO 14001 • recycling refrigeration defrost water reductions, convert organic waste certification. for non-food processing washdown streams and produce biogas for Life cycle assessment (LCA) applications energy generation. Life-cycle assessment is being • installation of motor optimisers Environmental Management System considered for through-chain farm, • replacing refrigeration condensers (EMS) feedlot and factory operations. ‘Down • converting red offal wash to sensor- ACC achieved ISO 14001 certification chain’ logistics and retail could also operation for the Cannon Hill facility in August be incorporated. The aim is to • recovering boiler blowdown heat for 2001. The company’s EMS is an identify and quantify where ACC has preheating boiler feed water. essential tool in the implementation the greatest environmental impact Major innovations in stages three and of eco-efficiency principles and and to develop strategies to offset four will require process redesign to disciplines at the site. The EMS these impacts under the EMS. That is, allow for alternative sources of energy provides a mechanism for ACC to to minimise the ‘environmental and water. Some of the innovative establish objectives and targets, footprint’. redesigns to operating processes recognise environmental measures Eco-labelling include: required, monitor improvements and ACC is currently assessing the assess progress. The EMS covers • rainwater harvesting for non-food benefits of eco-labelling products as a water, energy, waste, emissions, noise processing wash down marketing strategy and as a means to and land management issues. • greater internal water recycling enter new markets. • heat recovery from refrigeration compressors For more information on Agribusiness 2 of 2 BP 1416 August 2002 • adopting solar hot water • anaerobic digestion of wastewater call (07) 3225 1999 and manure to produce biogas visit www.epa.qld.gov.au/sustainable_industries (methane) and to reduce biosolids email email@example.com production from the wastewater treatment system • energy generation from biogas to supplement coal in the existing boiler.