The Northwest Food Processors Association – already a leader in promoting energy efficiency among its members – has launched an initiative to integrate sustainability into decision making and business practices throughout the industry cluster. The initiative, announced in May, follows earlier adoption by industry leaders of a goal to make sustainability a mainstream function throughout the cluster.
To guide the Initiative, NWFPA has appointed an oversight committee that includes representatives of five standing committees for energy, water, greenhouse gas emissions, waste, recycling, workforce, and community involvement. It has also developed a Sustainability Market Transformation Model. The model identifies initiative objectives, outcomes, and supporting tasks and activities.
Activities currently underway include:
- The Go Green Shipper project to explore tools and technologies that expand transportation/logistics opportunities leading to reduced fuel use, greenhouse gas emissions and freight costs. These tools will allow manufacturers to better manage their freight. They will have a greater number of carrier options and will be able to reduce the number of less-than-full loads shipped.
- Integrating NWFPA’s nationally-recognized energy program with the sustainability efforts. NWFPA believes successes in achieving energy savings can help shape efforts in sustainability. Further, all areas of sustainability (water, waste, greenhouse gas emissions, recycling, and workforce) involve the use of energy. For example, because it takes energy to move water, water efficiency and energy efficiency are closely linked.
- Development of training on water efficiency opportunities and on the use of metrics in tracking progress to sustainability targets and goals. Food processors want to reduce the large amounts of water they use and have asked NWFPA to provide instruction on identifying ways to save or use water more efficiently. Sustainability goals and targets are expressed in terms of reducing energy use or water use per pound of product produced by some percent over a specific period of time. NWFPA will help food processors set metrics like kilowatt hours of electricity or gallons of water per pound and use these metrics to measure progress toward sustainability targets.
- Creation of a handbook of sustainability case studies that can provide a wealth of ideas for implementation.
- Collaboration with cluster suppliers to bring services, innovations, and knowledge to food processors. NWFPA is looking to suppliers (e.g., vendors, educational institutions, energy and environmental services providers) to collaborate and co-create with food processors on innovations in equipment and processes. Suppliers are the researchers and developers of processes and equipment. Working in concert we can advance the implementation of new technologies and processes and increase our industry’s competitiveness.
- Planning for the 5th Annual Northwest Industrial Energy Efficiency Summit in January 2013 and for the 3rd Annual NWFPA Sustainability Summit in April 2013.
NWFPA welcomes interest and inquiries. For information call David McGiverin or Pam Barrow at 503-327-2200.