Environmental sustainability is a huge issue for big businesses around the world with warnings about climate change highlighting the need for a collective effort to reduce our carbon footprint.

Here at Foyle, we’re so committed to reducing our environmental impact that we’ve dedicated a whole division of our company – Foyle Eco – to this important work.

Foyle Food Group’s environmental practices and policy is managed company wide using the ISO 14001 environmental management certification. In addition, Foyle Donegal have recently had their ISO 50001 energy management system recertified, and it is our ambition to expand this system across our other sites. As part of this commitment we have set the ambitious target of reducing our process CO2 emissions by 20% by 2020. In addition, Foyle is committed to Wrap’s ‘Plastic Pact’, which aims to establish a circular economy for plastic in the UK and eliminate single use plastic by 2025.

As the saying goes, you can’t manage what you don’t measure, and therefore Foyle takes a robust approach to measuring environmental inputs across four key areas of our business with a view to identifying potential efficiencies. These include the close monitoring of energy usage and our CO2 per KG ratio; minimizing packaging, especially plastic; reducing the amount of chemicals used in our hygiene processes; and ensuring sustainable farming practices that minimize the environmental demands of our world class beef.

Waste management is also a key focus. From recycling paper in our offices to harvesting rainwater, we are consistently looking for ways to achieve resource efficiency and this includes switching from a linear to a circular waste cycle.

By-products from slaughter lines are sent to our Foyle Proteins rendering plant and processed further into stable, useful materials like grease, tallow and protein meal, which can be used to make everything from biodiesel to soaps and pet food.

Our Campsie plant’s anaerobic digester turns waste from our processing lines into combustible biogas, which is then converted into electricity and used to offset the energy requirements of the facility itself.

Elsewhere, the installation of an electric vehicle charging point at Foyle’s Hilton site in 2017 was a step towards a future when all Foyle fleet vehicles will be powered by renewable electricity.

Finally, by introducing measures such as rainwater harvesting, wastewater treatment and high-tech washdown systems with robust monitoring controls, Foyle reduced its water usage by an incredible 65% in the five years to 2016. Improvements continue to be made – but we are aware that there is still much more to do.