Linden Foods, the red meat processor in Dungannon and part of the Fane Valley Group, reduced water and plastic usage as part of its far-reaching GreenTrack sustainability programme in the last year. The company saved the equivalent of 10 Olympic sized swimming pools of water and three football pitches worth of plastic. 

The company achieved other substantial resource efficiency across its processing operation including:

–       CO2 cut by 174 tonnes through more efficient use of energy

–       80 tonnes of waste reduced through process improvements

–       4.8 tonnes of waste avoided by changes in packaging

–       Equivalent of 2 million A4 sheets of paper saved with ‘backingless labels’

–       12,000 sqm of plastic – equivalent to three football pitches – by changing to a packaging film that also prolonged shelf life.

GreenTrack, launched in April 2013, pulled together the company’s long-standing focus on environmental stewardship with new initiatives in a fully co-ordinated campaign.

The campaign also featured linkups with community groups, suppliers, customers and schools on co-ordinated measures. It has included working with farmers on embedding sustainable practices, a local primary school on farming, and food production, and with staff on fund raising and health promotion.

The commitment of Linden Foods to sustainability was recently rewarded in the Northern Ireland Benchmarking Survey by the ARENA Network in which it was accorded ‘Platinum’ status as one of the top 10 local businesses in the influential survey.

Gerry Maguire, Managing Director of Linden Foods, commenting of GreenTrack’s achievements, said, “We have seen the business benefit through improved community relations, heightened staff and customer awareness, more efficient factory processes. All of these enhance our position as a sustainable and responsible business, one which staff can be proud to work for, that customers can be proud to trade with, and the community can be proud to call a neighbour.

“All of these enhance our position as a sustainable and responsible business. One year on, the projects have encouraged biodiversity, reduced packaging and film use and found savings in two major cost areas – energy and water.

“These achievements over the past year show significant progress on the four key pillars that underpin the overall GreenTrack programme – environment, colleagues and communities, agriculture, and customers.  GreenTrack has formalised our commitment to sustainable practices and ensures that this approach is central to all our strategic decision making.”

Another important aspect of the programme, he added, is a commitment to the community—particularly providing employment opportunities to young people through work experience and placements.

This focus is helping to boost the skills base through apprenticeships, especially through links with the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprises campuses at Loughry, Cookstown and Greenmount, Antrim.

Fane Valley Chief Executive Trevor Lockhart said, “In a challenging year for the beef industry Linden Foods is standing proud with its sustainability programme. It ensures high quality local food production in a sustainable environment.  While huge steps have already been taken by the company in terms of a more sustainable business model. Linden Foods are also working towards even more far-reaching cost savings in energy, waste and CO2. We anticipate further cost-savings being achieved by 2018. “