Geelong baker toasts the rewards of sustainability
La Madre Bakery expects to achieve annual savings of more than $70,000 after implementing a series of resource efficiency improvements.
La Madre began baking sourdough breads in 2003. It now produces a wide range of artisan breads, pastries and cakes for restaurants, cafes and gourmet food retailers. La Madre has a passionate commitment to ensure that all of its business and baking practices are as sustainable as possible, including reducing carbon emissions.
“As a business we want to accept responsibility for the effects our bakery has on the environment and a key aspect of this is to minimise the adverse impact of the baking activities to promote an environmentally conscious business that our customers, community and shareholders can rely on to have a ‘social and moral conscience” said Tez Kemp, La Madre’s Managing Director.
Understanding resource efficiency
In 2012, La Madre joined 35 other Geelong-based businesses in the GreenLight program, a 12 month materials and resource efficiency program delivered by ECO2Sys in partnership with the Geelong Manufacturing Council and funded through Sustainability Victoria’s Beyond Waste program. GreenLight guided participating businesses to develop best practice strategies to avoid and reduce their operational waste. The GreenLight program encouraged La Madre to undertake low or no cost improvements such as installing plastic door strips in refrigeration areas, leading to energy savings and greater temperature consistency resulting in improved product quality.
Tez Kemp, Managing Director of commercial bakery La Madre, speaks to Smart Money’s John Dee about how his bakery benefited from networking with other businesses within its industry sector and local area, especially with regards to sustainability.
La Madre was also encouraged to investigate opportunities to save materials in its dough cutting operations. In 2014, La Madre successfully applied for $11,500 funding from Sustainability Victoria for a feasibility study focussing on its dough cutting machinery and process. Following the feasibility study, La Madre purchased a new, more efficient dough cutting machine to consistently portion bread dough and new systems software, partly funded by a capital grant of $15,000 from Sustainability Victoria. The software improves efficiency by embedding sales and operations planning into materials purchasing decisions.
La Madre expects a five year return on investment of $300,000 following the resource efficiency measures implemented to date. These savings include:
- $50,000 saved on wastage as a result of demand planning and improved forecasting.
- $15,000 saved on electricity due to its energy intensity dropping by 21%, from 0.34 to 0.26 kilowatts / hr per kg of baked goods.
- Material intensity (flour) has dropped 10%, from 0.42 to 0.38 kg flour per kg baked goods, saving approximately 287,800 kg flour.
La Madre’s resource efficiency actions have also resulted in improvements to the quality of its products, and to food safety processes, and by engaging with staff through this project, La Madre has also seen an improvement in staff culture.
“The project allowed our business to develop a vision of where we want to get to and that is to become Australia’s first zero waste, carbon neutral artisan bakery in Australia. Having started the journey we have been amazed by how simple the benefits of resource efficiency have been realised with very minimal cost associated with the improvements.
“Simple initiatives such as refrigeration door strips have not only reduced our energy costs but also provided us with more control over end product quality. It has also allowed us to accelerate the implementation of other improvements in the business.”
Tez Kemp, Managing Director
Future planned efficiency improvements
La Madre will continue to involve staff from across the business, from production managers to its baking team and support staff, to maximise the way the business uses resources and to explore new ways to reduce and avoid waste in the future.
“La Madre plans to implement an environmental management system (EMS) that will provide the framework to continually monitor and improve our impact on the environment”, said Tez.
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La Madre - Case Study