Finding answers with Westland Milk Products
Finding answers for sustainability questions
Westland Milk Products (WMP) sells to some of the world’s biggest companies – and they are customers who ask tricky questions about sustainability.
Having the right answers to those questions isn’t just a matter of triple bottom line reporting, or good PR – it is a question of survival. Beyond maintaining their ISO14001 Environmental Management standard, WMP need to show tangible proof that they – and their 430 farmer-shareholders – are up to scratch, environmentally.
3R is helping them meet those demands.
According to Westland’s Environmental Manager Chris Pullen, 3R’s experience in waste diversion and finding innovative uses for the materials, combined with their own ISO14001 accreditation, made them ideal partners.
Meeting international demand
“3R was invaluable at identifying waste that could be recycled and helping us develop FarmEx, a programme that works on the basic philosophy that what happens behind the farm gate impacts on Westland’s ability to sell in a highly competitive marketplace.
“The work with 3R made it far easier to maintain our ISO14001 standard and provide real environmental solutions that satisfy our customers.”
According to Chris, 3R’s work supports the cooperative’s “genuine enthusiasm for environmental sustainability.”
“At the end of the day, it’s about our ability to compete on the world stage. But we’re not just ticking boxes.”
Going beyond the obvious
3R’s Gareth Mentzer has spent hands on time at WMP’s factory looking at processes in the factory, identifying waste that can be diverted from landfill, and making that practice as easy as possible. Gareth sees the company as a catalyst for change.
“Yes, we find outlets for materials that can be recycled, but we also take time to really understand the drivers for our customers.”
For 3R customers – like WMP – their environmental intiatives can’t just be ‘nice to haves’.
“Environmental benefit is critically important to some customers, but also our work must offer real economic benefit, help to meet compliance requirements or provide competitive advantage.”
To this end, part of 3R’s work is in collaborating with customers, a network of recyclers, local government, and other organisations like quality assurance providers.
“It’s in those collaborative relationships where we can deliver true value to our customers,” says Gareth.
Supporting behaviour change
For WMP it wasn’t going to be as simple as tweaking a few operations in their factory– they had to convince their farmers to get on board too.
With 3R, Chris took the message on the road, hosting information events for their farmer shareholders. They needed to understand that the co-operative’s ISO 14001 accreditation was a critical part of their success – without it, they’d be at risk of losing some of their most valuable clients.
They looked at the increasing plastic waste generated on farms and 3R now run events where farmers can drop off hazardous agrichemicals, farm plastics, and oil.
“3R offered our farmers options and initiatives for sustainability, helping the shareholders to do the right thing.”
Protecting brand reputation
The 3R team is also always on the hunt for companies that make products from recycled materials – it’s that proactivity that makes 3R so valuable, says Chris.
“They’re willing to find a fit-for-purpose solution for our recycling. They show a true aptitude there.”
It’s something that had positive impacts on brand perception too, says Chris.
“It wasn’t difficult to see which solid waste came from us – it has our branding all over it. We were caned in the media for it, but not anymore.”
Not just a one-off
To keep on top of the sustainability issue, WMP’s work with 3R is ongoing. They have regular checks, take advantage of any recycling initiatives and stay abreast of new technologies for processing waste materials. With this ongoing help, the co-operative is ready for any audits, and farmer shareholders are kept up to speed with recycling operations.
“3R have always got their ears to the ground, looking for ways we can do better with our recycling. They are a big part of WMP keeping our accreditation.”
“I would recommend 3R – they’re a truly passionate group of people.”
How 3R has helped Westland Milk Products:
- Putting standard operating procedures in place
- Creating documentation around recycling initiatives
- Identifying waste that could be recycled
- Finding companies that can make use of waste
- Reducing waste volumes going to landfill
- Bringing shareholders onside
- Helping maintain ISO accreditation
- Boosting local and international reputation
- Ongoing recycling initiatives