Serendib Flour Mills brings sustainability to the forefront

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By 2017-04-21

Serendib Flour Mills (SFML) is one of the leading flour mills in Sri Lanka and is a joint venture between Al Ghurair Foods (AGF) and Emirates Trading Agency (ETA). The company recently embarked on a long-term sustainability drive to minimize the company's impact on the planet, whilst improving the overall management of water and energy use at its milling facility. Serendib Flour Mills CEO Kevin O'Leary shines a light on the key protocols and measures that are being put in place at SFML to ensure that the company's flour milling operation becomes as lean, efficient and environmentally-friendly as possible.

Carbon footprint reductions and the efficient use of energy: Commenting on the overall objectives of SFML's sustainability initiatives, Kevin O'Leary said: "We are trying to reduce our long-term greenhouse gas emissions and ensure that we use water and energy in the most efficient manner. Whilst a more environmentally-friendly operation enables us to tread lightly on the planet, it also enables us to reduce our operational costs and minimize the unnecessary wastage of important natural resources."
A full 360-degree assessment: SFML recently hired Control Union, an independent international assurance and certification body to conduct a full environmental assessment of the company's operations and milling facility.

Based on the findings of the study, measures are now being put in place to reduce the company's total carbon emissions by 8% in 2017. A variety of smart energy solutions are also being discussed and will be rolled out throughout SFML over the course of the next five years.

A new tanker to silo operation: This month, SFML delivered its first tanker to silo operation to Diana Biscuits and is planning to offer the storage option to other customers as well. Instead of constantly transporting large volumes of flour between the milling facility and customer factories, the tanker stores 20 tonnes of flour at a customer's factory site itself, and eliminates additional transport costs altogether.

Explaining the benefits of using new storage solutions such as the silo, Kevin O'Leary said: "The use of this innovative storing option saves a great deal of fuel and energy, however, it is also more hygienic as the flour has zero human contact and travels directly from SFML to the silo and finally to a customer's factory site itself. The silo uses robust FIFO practises, is more efficient, it reduces unloading times as well as transportation and labour costs – enabling SFML and our customers to reduce costs and reduce the impact on the planet."

Green leadership: Commenting on how SFML is spearheading its sustainability initiatives, Kevin O'Leary said: "We recently appointed an energy management team – a diverse group of professionals from across the organization, who come together on a monthly basis to plan out all activities, analyse our reports and form our energy policies, in consultation with Control Union. The team also engages with an energy expert to share and learn more about best practises and new ideas." He further added: "We also are trying to increase employee awareness on key issues such as water conservation, recycling and the need to save energy, we've deployed a series on internal messages throughout the organization such as regular e-mail reminders and notices, we will also come together more as a team to celebrate key environmental hallmark days. Additionally, we will be investing in conducting ongoing training sessions, to ensure that proper environmental practises become a core part of even day-to-day office activities."

Saving resources at every touch point: Going forward, SFML will also be taking steps to replace key motors in the factory to more energy efficient models where possible.
A comprehensive maintenance plan has been put in place to ensure that no tools and equipment leak or overuse electrical energy. All washrooms, taps and water outlets will also be replaced with equipment modifications such as automated taps. In the future, SFML will also explore the potential of solar energy as part of its long-term plan to use more renewable energy sources to run key of its operation.

Sustainability is a way of life: Commenting on SFML's overall approach to sustainability, Kevin O'Leary concluded: "Sustainability is not just about reducing wastage and pollution, it should be a way of life. It's something that affects our well-being, our society and our business operations, so it's important for us take responsibility for it.
As a manufacturer and responsible corporate citizen, we must take measures to protect our natural environment and minimize our impact on the planet.
Applying a sustainable approach to business will prove pivotal to ensuring our own well-being, and it will secure the longevity of our industries and future generations as well."

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