Ferguson Plarre Bakehouses is a 4th generation, century old family business and we see the environment and sustainable business growth as the primary issue for business and community into the future. We see an opportunity to not only reduce our own environmental footprint but to help create an infectious awareness in our stakeholders about how they too can help improve the world we live in.
Most importantly for us though…it feels good to do the right thing and it’s good for the business as well.
From packaging, to water and energy efficient bakery design, we look for opportunities to reduce our environmental footprint. We also try to encourage awareness of how we can each improve our world. Sustaining generations takes more than quality products and services. It takes personal responsibility, innovation and a willingness to think of new ways to do business.
Our position on global warming
With all of the debate and statistics thrown around in the media, it’s easy to be overwhelmed. At Ferguson Plarre, we’ve simply acknowledged that humankind has most likely had a negative impact on the environment. You don’t need to be a scientist to see this. Having been around for over 100 years, we also have a relatively unique business perspective on the importance of what the future holds for us and our families.
We’ve simply decided that it’s our job to do what we can to ensure our families inherit a world that is in better shape than if we’d done nothing.
What we’ve done
Below is a list of the many environmental initiatives we’ve engaged in over the last 15 years. Some of them make a big difference and some of them make only a small difference. The important thing is they ALL make a difference. Our planet has been damaged a little bit at a time. It will likely be fixed a little bit at a time.
At our main baking facility
- Rain water toilet flushing
- Solar heated hot water for staff amenities
- High efficiency air conditioning and climate control to reduce temperature bleed between baking areas
- All hot water for our cake and pie production is preheated using energy recovered from our fridge motors
- Heat recovered from freshly baked products (using exhaust fans and the heat taken from cooling tunnels) heats the main production area in winter and minimises heat-bleed into refrigerated areas
- Fully integrated SCADA (Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition) energy monitoring system to allow “real time” monitoring of all energy consumption
- Over 100,000 litres of rainwater tanks plumbed for irrigation and truck washing
- Victoria’s first Diesel Hybrid truck launched with Sustainability Victoria
- Wind deflectors fitted to all trucks to reduce drag and the associated fuel costs
- Bulk raw material handling equipment eliminates half of our requirements for land fill
- Over 95% of all waste is channelled back into recycling streams including but not limited to: plastic, tin, wood and food
- Supplier sustainability is heavily considered when running tenders on new ingredient contracts
- We’ve hosted hundreds of bakery tours for students and professionals to help inspire further sustainable thinking in business.
The Ferguson Plarre Forest
In 2007 we started planting the Ferguson Plarre forest with our offset partners Greenfleet. Our forests now include over 30,000 trees and while they’re doing a great job of turning CO2 into oxygen, they’re also helping to support our natural Australian fauna and reducing soil erosion.
Formal recognition of work done
- Banksia Award for excellence in business sustainability
- Overall winner of the Origin Gold Banksia Award for excellence in sustainability
- NAB Agribusiness Award for Environment and Energy Management
- Best Green Business Award at the national My Business Awards
- Induction into the Manufacturing Hall of Fame
- Inclusion as a case study in numerous university books and study programs
- Inclusion in workplace sustainability study programs
Ferguson Plarre’s environmental efforts have also brought attention from the media, other businesses, government and the education sector.
Read some of the Media Articles that have been written about Ferguson Plarre Bakehouses sustainability
We’ve only just begun…
Kermit the frog famously sang “It ain’t easy being green…”. Sometimes this is true but sometimes it is not.
Having built a world-class sustainable baking facility and made significant reductions in our overall environmental impact, our challenge now is to maintain this energy and drive to identify further opportunities to improve.
This extends to ethical ingredient sourcing like free range chicken & eggs and sustainable palm oil as well as being an employer of choice due to the way we treat our people.
Whilst we’re incredibly proud of the initiatives we’ve implemented, there are literally hundreds of other improvements that we’d love to make but have not been able to for purely commercial reasons. This won’t stop us. We just need to think a bit harder.
Our commitment to ourselves is to consider sustainable alternatives for even the smallest of projects, knowing that every little improvement counts. We’re by no means perfect but we’re getting better every day.
Ralph Plarre, Founder and Sustainability Ambassador