Reducing waste generation and increasing its recovery with the purpose of reducing the operating costs and mitigating the environmental impact in both the direct operations and the value chain by extending the life cycle of the materials.
Risks and opportunities GRI 103-1
One of Grupo Nutresa’s challenges consists in decreasing waste generation, which is in turn related to the loss of raw materials in the diverse processes, the start of operation of treatment plants that produce sludge whose final disposal is highly complex, and the high long-term investments required. These facts highlight the need to make changes in the thought and planning structures of the people in charge of the processes aimed at ensuring that said practice can be set in motion.
Moreover, the Organization faces stronger restrictions with regard to the final disposal of solid waste. In the case of Colombia, 38% of the landfills have an estimated service life of less than three years. In other countries from the strategic region such as Peru, Mexico and Costa Rica, the situation is very similar.
Additionally, it is necessary to consider the need to extend the life cycles of the products, which is driving several countries where Grupo Nutresa operates to establish stricter regulations in this regard. In Colombia, for instance, a solid waste management policy was implemented by the end of 2016 with the aim of adapting the circular economy principles to the waste management in the country. This policy will be the basis for the definition of regulations that will require the organizations to manage their own waste, not only in their direct operations but also across the entire value chain.
Grupo Nutresa has established two corporate goals in relation to solid waste management: the first one consists in reducing waste generation by 20%, and the second one is focused on ensuring a 90% recovery of the waste generated.
In order to achieve these goals, the Organization will continue to strengthen the environmental culture in its companies, contributing thus to the incorporation of good practices and to the implementation of a circular economy vision that promotes in turn a continuous improvement, the preventive maintenance of equipment, the search for excellence in the operating procedures and the optimization of the inventories of raw materials.
Additionally, Grupo Nutresa will continue to reinforce the comprehensive waste management systems in the industrial, logistics and commercial operations, and it will identify work opportunities with suppliers that help to reduce waste generation in the operation.
Finally, the Organization will build synergies among the businesses that privilege the reuse and the closed cycle of materials in their operations, and it will endeavor to execute new projects focused on a high technological development such as the energy assessment of waste.
Success stories and acknowledgments GRI 103-3
As a case of success, it is worth highlighting the initiative from the Chocolates Business in Peru, which consists in recovering 12.790 kg of laminate material and 12.510 kg of cardboard that were commercialized later for roof manufacturing, preventing these materials from ending up in the landfill. This practice allowed to increase between 4% and 7% the recovery of the waste generated.
The production plant of the Ice Cream Business in Bogotá achieved the reuse of non-recoverable material in the products Paleta Casera Coco and Artesanal Cocada. This innovation allowed to recover 19.200 kg of cream, generating an economic benefit of COP 34 million per year, and eliminating the management and disposal costs for this waste product.
Goal for 2020: 90% waste recovery
Progress achieved in 2016 GRI 103-3
Grupo Nutresa’s solid waste management, which starts in the operating and administrative activities and ends with the final disposal, applies circular economy criteria that allow to close cycles and extend the service life of the materials.
Reduction in the generation of solid waste
The Chocolates Business optimized a package of the Chocolisto brand that exceeded the necessary dimensions and caused a paperboard waste higher than 15%. After an adjustment, the Business achieved a reduction of 21.5 tons of corrugated paper and paperboard per year. Additionally, the Organization achieved a reduction of the hazardous waste through separation at the source and the characterization of the ink cartridges for marking products, reducing this waste by 494 kg per year.
In Colombia, the Ice Cream Business implemented an initiative that is focused on improving the procedure for the recovery of ice cream in the event of an unforeseen stoppage in an ice pop production line. This solution allowed reducing the cream product consumption by 567,72 kg per year. Furthermore, in its production plant in Manizales, the Business implemented a model aimed at optimizing the sludge dehydration process at the waste water treatment plant, which allowed reducing the sludge production by 7,2 m3/year.
Moreover, in the Ice Cream Business in the Dominican Republic, the Chocolates Business in Peru and the Cold Cuts Business in Panama, the Organization reinforced its waste management processes and defined performance and management indicators to implement strategies for the reduction, reuse and recovery of materials before the end of their life cycle.
Materials recovery and reuse alternatives
The waste generation indicator of the operations in Colombia is 24.8 kg/ton, which is duly managed to extend the service life of the materials and reduce the pressure on the landfills.
All Businesses have carried out actions to reduce waste generation in their production cycle. An important challenge in this sense is to achieve their implementation in the operations abroad to widen the scope and guarantee the control over the process.
An outstanding example is the reuse of 6.000 plastic bag units (which were previously taken directly to the final disposal stage) in the Ice Cream Business in the Dominican Republic as a supply for the disposal of other waste from the process. Additionally, the Ice Cream Business in Colombia carried out actions to recover kraft bags for the lab sampling process. Only in 2016, the Business managed to recover 153 kg of this material.
Moreover, the Coffee Business in Colombia, along with the supplier of laminated material, performed actions to recover and return the paperboard cores of the laminated material rolls, being able thus to close the cycle of the material and reduce waste generation. In 2016, the supplier managed to reuse 11.290 kg of paperboard. In addition, this Business reused laminated material generated as a waste from the manufacturing process of waste bins and achieved the recovery of 2.020 kg of said material.
Environmental culture regarding waste management
In 2016, the waste recovery indicator improved for the operations in Colombia, reaching a 90,1% rate. All Businesses implemented multiple strategies to strengthen the environmental culture and improve the separation at the source, the subsequent treatment and the final disposal.
The Pastas Business in Barranquilla implemented a campaign aimed at the employees to raise their awareness about the separation at the source, achieving a reduction of 5.336,9 kg of waste with regard to the previous year.
Involvement in the public agenda on waste management
Grupo Nutresa actively participated through the ANDI (Colombian Industrialists Association) in the diagnostic discussions and consultative processes related to the Solid Waste Management Policy in Colombia, at the same time it worked on getting prepared to comply with said policy and the regulations arising from it. The purpose of the foregoing is to minimize waste generation in the diverse processes of the Businesses, incorporate new treatment opportunities and identify waste valorization alternatives, such as energy generation, recycling and reuse of materials.
6,3% reduction in the total waste generation in 2016.
Management of the waste from the disaster in the Cold Cuts Business in Bogotá
In 2016, a fire occurred in the finished-product warehouse of the Cold Cuts Business in Bogotá, causing massive amounts of waste. In order to reduce the environmental impact, the Organization implemented a disaster response model and a waste evacuation plan to give it a correct disposal and thus avoid the proliferation of odors and pests, as well as the contamination of both water sources and the soil, protecting at the same time the reputation of the brand. Grupo Nutresa adequately treated and finally disposed 86 tons of organic waste and 1.264 more tons of other types of residues.