By Marie Low
Australia’s biggest biscuit manufacturer, Arnott’s, which makes Tim Tams and other unique Australian products, has a goal of net-zero emissions by 2040, but it’s no easy feat turning most of the country’s biscuits green.
Arnott’s, now owned by the United States company Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR), has announced an eight-year renewable energy deal with the publicly-owned Stanwell Corporation, to power its Virginia facility in Brisbane.
The Virginia deal is for more than 68GW of renewable energy, negating 44,500 tonnes of CO2-e or, as Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk noted at the announcement, the equivalent of taking 15,000 cars off the road.
Late last year, Arnott’s signed an agreement with CleanPeak Energy to transition its Huntingwood facility in Sydney to the delivery of biscuits made by 100 per cent renewable electricity by 2029.
The project is tipped to become one of the country’s biggest behind-the-meter solar and battery installations with 10,000 solar panels on the roof of the 44,000sqm factory and a 15 MWh battery to produce more than 5.25 GWh of energy.
Arnott’s CEO, George Zoghbi, says Arnott’s is now on the path to meeting its progress towards its net zero commitments ahead of target.
Arnott’s laid out its targets in its 2022 Sustainability Report, working towards net-zero emissions in its operations by 2040 and across its value chain by 2050, along with a target of growing and sourcing 100 percent of its key ingredients sustainably by 2035.
“We have a responsibility, across our entire supply chain, from how we source and make our products, to how we connect with the community,” Zoghbi said at the time.
Making biscuits can be an emissions-heavy business.
The National Pollutant Inventory showed a significant rise in Arnott’s carbon monoxide outputs in the decade between the 2020-11 financial year and 2020-21. The output at the Virgina facility grew from 4900kg to 230,000kg.
At Huntingwood, the output increased from 7200kg to 12,000, while at the Marleston site, emissions dropped from 2200kg to 2000kg.
That is not an increase that can be answered with the addition of solar panels.
“Our two biggest emissions outputs are electricity and gas usage,” a spokesperson for Arnott’s told Cosmos.
“Although we have seen increases in usage regarding these two metrics due to production increases, finding alternatives (like our partnership with the Stanwell Corporation) are the biggest drivers of change for us in the current market, as well as finding efficiencies within our processes.”
The Arnott’s spokesperson said rooftop solar systems will generate between 20-27 percent of each site’s electricity usage. Demand is high due to 24-hour baking, sometimes seven days a week.
Arnott’s is also considering introducing electrical vehicles into its fleet which already includes hybrids, and is looking at the transition to mono-material film (a single polymer plastic that is more easily recycled) for its packaging.
“Now that we’ve made significant progress in our emissions space, we’re turning our attention to our supply chain and working with some of our largest suppliers, like Linfox and Allied Pinnacle, to develop better emissions monitoring processes and to identify new opportunities across the logistics and agricultural space,” the spokesperson said.
For Arnott’s, it is the shape of things to come.
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