Making strong environmental commitments

Fonterra has become the first manufacturing company in Victoria to be issued a Corporate Licence from the Environment Protection Authority (EPA).

The Licence represents an amalgamation of seven separate licences covering five manufacturing sites in Victoria, and sets consistent environment performance conditions.

Fonterra Ingredients Australia managing director, Bruce Donnison, said the new Licence would provide Fonterra with both environmental performance improvement and business efficiency opportunities.

“The Licence has two distinct parts – Part Two covers the traditional environmental performance criteria including, among other things, acceptable treated waste discharge levels to land, air and water,” said Donnison.

“Consolidating seven licence agreements into one provides us with certainty and consistency across our sites. This translates to a simplification of managing our environmental performance and sets clear expectations for business practices in Victoria.”

EPA Victoria business development director, Terry A’Hearn, said EPA’s corporate licensing program was designed to address current environmental issues through smarter initiatives and contemporary licensing.

“These licences support business innovation by giving companies flexibility and by encouraging a whole-of-business approach to managing and improvingenvironmental and economic performance,” he said.

According to Donnison, Part One of the Licence represents a changed approach from previous agreements where both the EPA and Fonterra make a very strong and public commitment to working together to improve environmental performance.

“The consultative approach being adopted by the EPA represents a maturing of the partnership with Fonterra and will provide us with access to specialist expertise we may not already have,” said Donnison.

“Although Part One of the License is not enforceable, we take our environmental commitments very seriously.

“We believe that we can continue to make significant improvements to our environmental processes and the Licence demonstrates our commitment to pursing these improvements,” said Donnison.

The Fonterra Cobden site manufactures whole and skim milk powders, and earlier this year commissioned a $6 million milk drier ‘baghouse’ system which performs two important environmental and business efficiency functions:

  1. Reducing the emission of fine milk powder particles into the air, improving public amenity and local air quality, and
  2. Recovering and re-using milk powder plus broadening the on-site manufacturing product mix therefore reducing the need to import additional product from other Fonterra sites.

The latter point has many flow-on benefits including the reduced transport costs plus avoidance of water, energy, chemicals and other resources which would otherwise be expended to produce the equivalent amount of product.

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