On 24 August 2022, EcoStock Supplies Ltd, New Zealand (EcoStock) was announced the winner of the 1st Environmental, Social, & Governance (ESG) Excellence Award 2022 at the 8th International Best Practice Competition 2022 with an impressive 6-Star Rating (Outstanding at an International Level) for its environmental, social, and governance conscientiousness of its business operations.

The ESG Excellence Award was organised by four organisations: the Centre for Organisational Excellence Research (COER), Best Practice Improvement Resource (BPIR.com), Global Benchmarking Network (GBN), and QLBS (QuantumLeap).

The Final Round of the Award was evaluated by a panel of eminent international judges (Figure 1) and the session was chaired by Dr Robin Mann, Director, COER, New Zealand and Founder of the International Best Practice Competition.

EcoStock’s Managing Director, Andrew Fisher (Figure 2), was joined by his team to present this case study highlighting the key aspects of EcoStock’s ESG approaches during its 15-year-long inspiring journey.

Figure 1: ESG Excellence Award 2022 – Final Round Q&A Session Chair for the 2022 ESG Award Final: Dr Robin Mann Judging Panel: Keith Phillips (New Zealand), Professor Jan Jonker (Netherlands), and Professor Gabriel Eweje (New Zealand) Presenters from EcoStock Ltd.: Andrew Fisher, Petro Muller, and Abhinav Singh.

 

Figure 2: Andrew Fisher presenting EcoStock Ltd. during the Final of the ESG Excellence Award 2022.

At EcoStock’s core, surplus food is not viewed as waste destined for the landfill, but as a valuable energy and material resource for recycling. EcoStock’s mission is to contribute to global solutions for climate change and support New Zealand’s circular economy.

Organisational Profile

Worldwide, estimates suggest that 8-10% of global greenhouse gas emissions are associated with food that is not consumed (United Nations Environment Programme (2021). Food Waste Index Report 2021, Nairobi). The New Zealand Ministry for the Environment estimates that 9% of New Zealand’s biogenic methane emissions and 4% of the country’s total greenhouse gas emissions are from food and organic waste. More than a third of landfill waste in New Zealand is food. With the EcoStock technology to handle and recycle food waste, EcoStock’s vision and strategy is to dramatically reduce food waste at scale currently going to the 134 consented Class 1 and Class 2 landfills in New Zealand.

EcoStock Supplies Ltd (EcoStock) Managing Director Andrew Fisher is a pioneer for food waste recovery in Aotearoa New Zealand. He established the company 15 years ago with just 2 staff; since then the company has diverted more than 300,000 tonnes of food waste from landfill. Today, EcoStock has 35 full-time employees, anticipated to grow to 95 employees over the next two years.

The EcoStock’s processing plant at Wiri in Auckland, New Zealand, collects and processes commercial and industrial food waste from food manufacturers (including bulk, surplus food products that is not fit for human consumption or is expired, or does not meet the grade) and transforms this nutritious, energy-rich recyclable resource into a high-value and quality stock feed supplement that is sought after by New Zealand farmers (see Figure 3 for EcoStock Circular Business Model). To source its material, EcoStock works with leading global manufacturers such as Goodman Fielder, Nestlé, Griffin’s Foods, Nespresso, Mondelēz International, and PepsiCo and produce exporters such as T&G Global, etc.

Figure 3: EcoStock – Strategy for food-to-feed

Food surplus of various types (vegetables, bakery products, corn chips, confectionary and breakfast cereal) is blended in line with an animal nutritionist’s guidelines to form a consistent, high-quality, high-energy palatable and nutritious stock feed that retains valuable nutrients that benefits ruminant animals. Thus, redirecting food waste from the decomposition in landfill into stockfeed helps lower New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). EcoStock has contractual relationships with over 140 food manufacturers, producers, and suppliers. In 2022, the company operates nationwide with annual sales of over $8 million. The Wiri plant is fully consented to process 70,000 tonnes a year of food waste – offering excellent opportunity for growth given that the current throughput is 40,000 tonnes a year.

Figure 4: EcoStock diversification milestones

EcoStock has evolved into other products and services from its food recovery business (see Figure 4):

  • EcoTrack – EcoTrack is an electronic auditing and reporting tool developed by the EcoStock team to provide companies with sustainability compliance reporting by recording waste data throughout the supply chain right through to retail customers. The real-time data enables over 140 clients to pinpoint supply chain improvements (see Figure 5). It reduces clients’ long-term carbon footprints and sustains improvements. The aim is to shape the client’s capital expenditure over the coming years.
  • WormsRus – An EcoStock division that supports waste minimisation by growing, harvesting, and selling/distributing red tiger worms. It is the largest retail worm farm operation in New Zealand, with the worms recycling about 550 tonnes a year of food waste into highly valuable castings A typical worm farm at one of the 60 schools with which WormRus has built a partnership recycles 20-40 litres of food waste each week turning food waste into compost. EcoStock has enabled worm farming to be brought to schools and helps to educate school children on the importance of recycling and waste management.
  • EcoGas – EcoStock has conducted several meetings and site tours of anaerobic digestion plants in the UK, Europe, the United States, and Australia to bring a new technology design to New Zealand. EcoStock, together with its strategic majority partner Pioneer Energy, is constructing a $36 million Ecogas plant at Reporoa which will use anaerobic digestion technology to produce renewable biogas energy – sustainable power and heat from food waste like meat products, gelatin, and liquids, including from households, dairy factories, and supermarkets. This is Scheduled to open in October 2022. Anaerobic digesters capture greenhouse gases methane and carbon dioxide that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere. Being Zealand’s first anaerobic digestion plant for food waste, one of EcoGas’s ambitious goals is expanding into neighboring Pacific nations. The First Gas Group has committed to using the Ecogas plant’s biogas to supply the equivalent of 9000 homes and businesses.
  • EcoRock – A product under development that will divert up to 12,000 tonnes a year of New Zealand’s hard-to-recycle plastics away from landfill and cleanly engineer them into a light and useful concrete additive for the civil construction industry. These plastics include food packaging that enters the EcoStock plant, wrappers contaminated by food, and waste plastics recovered from wrecked cars, and agriculture products. The plant is designed to process over seven million kilograms of waste plastic per year which will help to fill the current gap in construction material in Auckland.
 

Figure 5: EcoStock – EcoTrack Reporting Standards

 

Approach to Governance

EcoStock has a governance structure comprising three compartments – the Collections Team (from the factory), Processing Team (quality control), and Outwards Team (on the farm). The EcoStock food-to-feed process complies with stringent local government and international laws and biosecurity regulations and animal health controls.

EcoStock’s core vision is to operate a sustainable, scalable business that supports zero food waste to landfill supporting the country’s shift toward renewable energy and net zero greenhouse gas emissions. EcoStock’s strategies and initiatives are in alignment with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (see Table 1 and Figure 6).

Figure 6: EcoStock’s strategies and initiatives in alignment with the UNSDGs

 

EcoStock is accountable to the Auckland Council and the Ministry for the Environment through various Waste Minimisation Innovation funds (e.g., for depacking equipment and for converting fire extinguisher powder into organic fertiliser). EcoGas’s performance is accountable to both the Auckland Council, and the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment (for the Provincial Growth Fund) and collaborative work with local government, Crown entities, and benefactors such as Scion (a Crown Research Institute).

Approach to Environmental Sustainability

EcoStock is part of a coalition of organisations from across the food supply chain, which champions Aotearoa’s progress towards the United Nations’ Sustainability Development Goal Target 12.3: “By 2030, halve per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels and reduce food losses along production and supply chains, including post-harvest losses”. (Reference: Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations).

In 2020, it was estimated that EcoStock’s solutions helped New Zealand businesses prevent at least 50,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases related to food waste over the previous 13 years. Food scraps make up almost half the weight of a kerbside rubbish bin in Auckland. Supporting Auckland Council’s goal of reaching zero waste by 2040, EcoStock will sort and consolidate the city’s kerbside food scrap collections from 2023 at the Ecogas Papakura facility into renewable biogas and other useful products.

EcoStock also diverts non-food materials extracted mainly from the food waste stream – approximately 400 tonnes a year of cardboard and paper; 280 tonnes a year of plastics; and 400 tonnes a year of metals to specialist recyclers.

See Figure 7 for EcoStock data-driven results spanning 10 years with projections till 2025 including the EcoGas plant Anaerobic Digestion Supplies Phase 1 and Phase 2 from 2023.

Figure 7: EcoStock Data-driven Results (AD = Anaerobic Digestion)

Approach to Social Factors

To pursue the EcoStock goal of zero harm, the strategies adopted over the past 15 years for ensuring the health and improving employee safety rely heavily on prevention, regular training (and quizzes), managers modelling healthy and safe behaviour, and continual mechanised sorting and depackaging. These have led to reduced safety risks for the staff, faster throughput, and less site congestion.

EcoStock takes the message of sustainability and zero-waste to landfill into the community – into board rooms, offices, and university lecture rooms – as well as by inviting thousands of community members to the EcoStock plant over the past 15 years. The company has developed sustainability alliances with inspiring organisations such as Sustainable Coastlines and NZ Food Waste Champion. The company also extends its community engagement by funding various local initiatives; for example, since 2017, EcoStock has contributed funding to Venturers and Scouts in the Counties Manukau area (where the Wiri factory is based) to enable members to attend adventure camps and the national Jamboree regardless of their families’ financial circumstances. Some of the contributions from this year 2022 will go towards a funding grant to subsidise nine youth members to attend the 25th World Jamboree in South Korea next year.

EcoStock has made it possible for food manufacturers and others in the food industry to make their businesses more sustainable through economic waste recovery. Humans need food; food waste is inevitable but needs to be minimised across the supply chain. The EcoStock best practice is worth learning from and emulating by other cities and countries at scale for a sustainable planet earth.

You can read the complete details of the EcoStock Ltd. ESG best practice and watch the video of their team presentation on BPIR.com here.

You can also access over 70 best practices presented this year at the 8th International Best Practice Competition 2022 and many other global best practices on BPIR.com. These are an excellent resource to enable you to keep up to date with the latest in your field of expertise and for you to learn from practices in other industries!


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Posted by:BPIR.com
Author:Dr Almas Tazein
Source :Dr Almas Tazein is a Senior Researcher and Consultant – Benchmarking and Business Excellence at the Centre for Organisational Excellence Research, New Zealand. She has contributed numerous articles and Best Practice Reports to BPIR.com Limited. She holds a BHMS medical degree, Postgraduate Diploma in Hospital and Healthcare Management, and certification in Lean Six Sigma Green Belt. She has served as the CEO of a maternity and children’s hospital and as the head of operations of various healthcare organisations. Her fortes are quality improvement, and training and development.
BPIR Category : 15.4.6 Work environment, health, safety, ergonomics
12.4 Implement resource preservation program
15.5.3 Activities to reduce & prevent nuisance/harm
15.5.4 Activities to assist in resource preservation
Latest News Categories: ESG, Latest News
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