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.
Designing for sustainability
At AGRO Merchants, projects are specifically designed to obtain high ratings for sustainability through:
- State-of-the-art efficient buildings and handling
- Storage & packaging processes that preserve product quality to the maximum
- Reducing CO2 emissions & energy saving
- Loss prevention
We embrace innovations like mobile pallet racking systems, LED lighting and solar systems. They allow us to save vast amounts of energy in our warehouses all over the world.
Projects we are proud of:
Robotically Controlled Solar Farm, located in Mullica Hill, NJ
The construction of a state-of-the-art solar farm was completed at AGRO Merchants Mullica Hill in early 2015. There are 10,752 solar panels all rotating via robotics to maximize efficiency and deliver 70% of the electric needs to our warehouses. An advanced dual-axis tracker system produces more power than a conventional system by allowing the panels to track the movement of the sun across the horizon. The solar project provides the cold storage facility with an abundance of clean, renewable electricity using the power of the sun.
Anaerobic Digester in Whitchurch, UK
A green energy anaerobic digester was installed at Grocontinental 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. Grocontinental works 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, Grocontinental was shortlisted for an Innovation Award at the 32nd national Motor Transport Awards.
To read the case study, please click here.
BREEAM Excellent Warehouses in the Netherlands
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.
AGRO Merchants Portugal Operates on 100% Renewable Energy
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.
Energy Management Programme
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.