At Palsgaard, we have long worked to optimise our production processes so that financial performance, quality and environment go hand in hand. In 2005, for example, we built one of the largest privately owned straw-burning plants in Denmark, enabling the replacement of light fuel oil for heating with straw from our own fields as a renewable energy source.
In 2009, we further converted the primary energy source from heavy fuel oil to natural gas on all boilers – which means significantly lower CO2-emissions. Palsgaard's target for all production entities is CO2-neutrality by 2020. We will achieve this by reducing our energy consumption and neutralising the remaining CO2-emissions by other means (in Denmark, for example, via energy from certified wind turbines, and biogas certificates).
Palsgaard is an increasingly global company, with CSR initiatives suited to each location. For example, our new, high-tech Malaysian plant sets the standard in terms of production, technology, energy consumption and environmental safeguards. And it reduces transport distances to raw material suppliers and our Asian customers.
Eventually, we are working on implementing greener alternative energy sources, helping reach our global target - a zero CO2-footprint for our factories.
In Mexico, we invested in photovoltaic solar panels in 2012, which can generate up to 85 percent of the electricity required for our manufacturing plant. We also prioritise activities to reduce electricity and water consumption, as well as waste water and solid waste. An annual seminar on environmental awareness educates Mexico-based employees, and benefits their families, neighbours and the local community.
We work continuously to increase our raw material utilisation rate and reduce our overall use of resources. This includes optimising the number of product changes in our production planning, and increasing efficiency in our production processes. In 2015, we recorded only a slight decrease in derivative products due to implementing the insourcing of intermediate goods production. While this activity has a long-term positive effect on overall efficiency, we have not yet seen the convincing positive effect on our CO2-performance in 2015.
Palsgaard produces very limited amounts of production waste. We are using a system developed in 2012, which is developed for recording and labelling derivative products, enabling us to work towards a reduction. This also helps us to effectively sort and re-use them.
The raw materials for Palsgaard's products include vegetable oils (such as palm oil), gums (hydrophilic polysaccharides), starches and glycerol.
A key CSR target, aimed at supporting the production of raw materials without causing harm to the environment or society, was reached in 2015: We increased the use ofcertified sustainable palm oil in our products produced at our Danish (and largest) plant to 100 percent. We joined the RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil) in 2008, and in Denmark we hold certification under the RSPO’s SCCS (Supply Chain Certification Standard) for the mass balance and segregation models. Our Malaysian plant holds the RSPO certification for MB level. This involves tightening control over our supply chain, and helps us support the responsible production and use of sustainable and certified palm oil.
Process waste water mainly comes from the cleaning of containers and pipes, and contains remnants of vegetable oil, fat, phosphorus and nitrogen. Our own pre-treatment plant removes the majority of these remnants before release into the municipal water treatment plant. We are working to reduce waste water via cooling water recycling systems, optimised cleaning procedures, the production of larger batches, and automatic closure valves. During 2015 we finished a initiative on changing selected pumps to vacuum pumps using recycled water instead of fresh water. And at our Malaysian plant, 100 percent of our waste water is cleaned beyond the locally required standard.
Palsgaard's out-bound packaging volumes are small, constituting less than 1.5 percent of the overall weight of our products. Even so, we aim to use more sustainably produced packaging materials. For bags and cartons we use FSC-certified materials where possible.
Traditionally, refining cooking oils requires a complex, energy-intensive process that includes heating to remove flavour-disrupting substances. At Palsgaard, a four-year project has applied our knowledge of cooking oil properties to develop a new refinement method. This involves a simpler and gentler process, slashing energy consumption by up to 80 percent, using raw materials more efficiently and reducing trans fatty acids in the final product.