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Planet Stories

Premier keeps the lights on with the launch of its new pilot solar project at Potchefstroom Bakery. As resources become increasingly constrained within South Africa, businesses seek to access “off the grid” utilities to drive continuity. Last year, Premier FMCG launched a pilot project in Potchefstroom where a 250 Kw solar system was installed with 900 panels feeding into 5 x 50 Kw invertors.

With close to half a million of savings per year, and the added benefit of business continuity, Premier FMCG will continue to look for opportunities to reduce its carbon footprint and deliver ongoing optimisation.

One of Premier’s core strategic pillars is to improve sustainability by reducing its carbon footprint. This starts at Head Office, where most of the leadership team sits.

Premier FMCG’s office is a symphony of optimisation with Low-E glass and cavity wall insulation which reduce the resources needed for heating and cooling. The low “Volatile Organic Compounds” used on the walls is safer for the environment and rainwater is harvested to flush toilets.

Almost every detail has been thought through. The building has water saving devices installed in the bathrooms such as dual flushing mechanisms on the toilets and flow restrictor on the taps, and the air cons are centrally controlled to improve energy efficiency. The electrical monitoring equipment and occupancy sensors make sure that only the required amount of power is used. There are even showering and bicycle facilities to promote alternative means of travel.

The vision to “go green” has been inculcated into many aspects of the business including a focus on sustainable packaging and building the solar powered Lords View Warehouse and Potchefstroom bakery. This is where it starts, with plans to invest more into the future.

“Going Green” is becoming more than an ethical choice. It’s also a good business choice that can improve the company’s bottom line.

Premier has taken their green packaging strategy to a new level by focusing on the pillars of REDUCE, RE-USE and RECYCLE. Moving beyond recyclable packaging, Premier has expanded their Lean Six Sigma approach to focus on packaging simplification, while ensuring the product is sufficiently protected.

The results are tangible with a direct impact on profitability. Over the last year, Premier has reduced the polymer in bread bags saving 123 tons of plastic per year. Lil-Lets UK has reduced plastic by 97% by promoting the use of a non-plastic applicator. And while the focus is on reduction of plastic, the aim is to also improve the consumer experience, which is why the tweak on the bulk maize bags not only reduced plastic poly wall thickness by 10 microns but also increased the strength and durability of the bags.

A green strategy is the future. It makes sense from reducing harm, to building brand loyalty and improving ROI. Premier will continue to innovate within packaging and beyond to include solar panels, recycled water and other green principles to drive sustainability.

Premier Mozambique (CIM) takes going green to a whole new level with a reverse osmosis water purification process that transforms ground water into drinking water.

Initially conceived due to the need to pump out ground water to prevent flooding at the silos, the CIM maintenance team, led a project to filter between 5000 to 6000 litres per hour resulting in a 70% decrease in demand from municipal water.

By using the purified water for drinking water and in the milling, pasta and biscuit production processes, CIM has estimated an annual saving which is greater than the initial Capex investment. Now that’s smart and sustainable innovation!

Premier will be expanding its green footprint in 2019 with the launch of a solar powered bakery beta site in Potchefstroom that could pave the way to an eco-friendly business model. With 20% of electricity anticipated to be powered by solar, the Potchefstroom Bakery is projected to save half a million Rand per annum. Building on the centralisation of warehousing and logistics into Lordsview DC in 2018, Premier is intent on building sustainability into its infrastructure as it makes both commercial and ethical sense. Lordsview, based in Klipfontein, is one of two of the greenest warehouses in South Africa and is seen as a flagship site within the South African landscape. On average, more than 70% of the electricity consumed is generated by approximately 2000 solar panels. With a square meterage of 14,700, this energy efficient warehouse powers everything from fork lifts to aircon. With Lordsview in the mix and the Potchefstroom Bakery on the way, Premier is set to future proof its business model and pave the way for generations to come.