Vegemite, Ferguson Plarre recognised for sustainability achievements

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 27th July 2009

Melbourne cake makers Ferguson Plarre Bakehouses have claimed the most prestigious environmental award in Australia, while iconic Australian spread Vegemite, manufactured by Kraft Foods Australia/New Zealand, took out the inaugural agriculture and food prize.

As Australia’s leading environmental awards, the Banksia Awards recognise outstanding environmental achievements by businesses, government and individuals.

The winners were announced on Friday night, with Kraft’s Vegemite taking home the AFGC 2009 Agriculture & Food “From Paddock to Plate” Banksia Award, and Ferguson Plarre receiving the Origin Gold Award. Fresh food distributor Food Connect took out the coveted People’s Choice Award, while Woolworths was a finalist in the Large Business Sustainability Award.

Speaking at the Banksia Foundation Awards Night, AFGC Chief Executive Kate Carnell congratulated Kraft on its dedication to reducing the environmental impact of the iconic brand.

“Kraft Foods Australia has shown an exceptional commitment to sustainable practices with its hero brand Vegemite,” she said.

Kraft won the prestigious award for its “Giving Vegemite a Sustainable Future” entry, which highlighted a range of innovative re-developments of the Vegemite manufacturing process at its Port Melbourne facility, which included the following projections for the end-of-2009:
– Reduced waste water by more than 65 per cent
– Reduced energy consumption by more than 52 per cent
– Environmental savings of over $1 million.

Kraft Foods spokesman, Simon Talbot, said the organisation recognised that it has only scratched the surface when it comes to improving the sustainability of all of their brands.

“Whilst we are delighted to be recognised for our commitment to sustainable production, we very much recognise that we have only started our environmental journey,” he advised. “Moving forward we look forward to continuing to build on our current sustainability performance and improving the manufacturing process of Vegemite and all Kraft Foods brands.”

Ms Carnell said Australian food and grocery manufacturers continued to explore efficiencies with lower energy use and sustainable packaging options being adopted across the board.

“AFGC is constantly exploring new ways for the food and grocery industry in Australia to better utilise resources – including water recycling and waste – in partnership with the private sector and Governments,” Ms Carnell noted.

Ferguson Plarre received the top award for reducing the carbon footprint of their stores by over 5000 tonnes of CO2 annually as a result of: harnessing the waste heat from their refrigeration systems, redistributing heat recovered from freshly baked products, employing hybrid vehicle technologies and offsetting the remaining emissions via tree planting.

To see the full list of award winners and finalists please click here.