Sustainability is an important part of any successful business that has an environmental impact. AGRO Merchants is committed to developing and implementing solutions that protect our customers’ temperature-sensitive goods, our employees, and our planet. This includes clean initiatives, recyclable products, and reducing our energy footprint. As an international cold storage operator, we make every effort to act responsibly and ethically, with the goal of minimizing our impact on climate change.
A green energy anaerobic digester was installed at our site in Whitchurch to provide power for the 197,000 pallet spaces of multi-temperature storage. The 2.5 megawatt digester is fed with energy crops and kept at the right temperature to produce biogas. CHP engines then convert the gas into heat and electricity. We work with a co-operative of local farmers who are contracted to grow crop for the digester. The by-product from the digester is used as an organic fertiliser on the farmers’ fields, replacing chemical fertilisers. During the winter months, the digester’s output provides 100% of the energy required by the site and during the warmer summer months it to covers about 70% of the energy needed. Thanks to this project, we were shortlisted for an Innovation Award at the 32nd national Motor Transport Awards and took the top spot in the Environmental & Sustainability category of the 2019 TCS&D Awards.
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We opened a new warehouse in Rotterdam – Maasvlakte in December 2016. The new greenfield was designed according to the latest standards. By using energy-saving and ecologically sound NH3 cooling systems, space-efficient mobile racks and LED lighting, we wanted to build a durable, modern and environmentally friendly store. These along with several other measures for energy management and water saving were implemented to maximize the energy-efficiency of the building.
BREEAM is an internationally recognized assessment method to determine sustainability performance of buildings. We obtained a BREEAM Excellent certification for our site in Maasvlakte, as well as for the expansion of our facility in Westland. To receive a BREEAM Excellent, nine categories of requirements must be fulfilled. These are management, health, energy, transport, water, materials, waste, land use and ecology and pollution.
We launched an Energy Management programme for the company, initially piloted in the North American region. The programme has been designed with energy efficiency and sustainability at the forefront of our thinking. Energy is the 2nd highest cost in our business, therefore we have set ourselves a goal of reducing energy spend in the U.S. region by 15% by the end of 2020. As a key part of the Energy Management programme, we are investing to install LED lighting in all our U.S. facilities in 2018, as well as implementing energy teams in each of our sites that will consist of representatives across the facility, who will be responsible for identifying and implementing energy best practices. In addition, we are committed to investing in our facilities to minimize energy usage through adoption of best practices, state-of-the-art technology and equipment.
We partnered with Axpo Iberia to source clean energy for our cold stores in Portugal. Axpo Iberia manages the largest portfolio of photovoltaic plants in the Iberian Peninsula and supplies electricity from a guaranteed 100% green source. The energy supply was recognised with a Guarantee of Origin (GO) certification, awarded by the Spanish Comisión Nacional de los Mercados y la Competencia (CNMC). GO certificates are a reliable and trustworthy indicator of the origin of electricity from 100% renewable sources, with zero CO2 emissions and radioactive waste. A GO represents one megawatt hour of clean electricity. This initiative helps us significantly reduce our CO2 emissions. We also joined Axpo’s commitment to reforestation in areas most affected by forest fires in Portugal by donating over a thousand trees to Quercus, the national nature conservation association.