Dairibord invests in solar to reduce carbon footprint

Staff Writer

Zimbabwe’s largest dairy producer, Dairibord Holdings, says investments in a solar power plant for its Chipinge factory are at an advanced stage.

The development highlights the dairy producer’s significant strides toward renewable energy in a move to combat climate change and reduce its environmental impact.

The Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed dairy producer’s solar plant is expected to significantly reduce the company’s reliance on fossil fuels for electricity generation.

The milk processor’s latest investment in renewable energy comes at a time when several companies in the country are turning to solar to cushion incessant power outages that have adversely affected output.

Energy remains a key aspect of Dairibord’s operations for powering machinery and vehicles, provision of lighting among other activities and the firm has previously resorted to diesel-powered generators which have proven costly.

“Investments in a solar plant for the Chipinge factory is now at an advanced stage, while other factories have transparent roofing to allow for use of natural lighting. The group has also increased its acquisition of equipment such as electric forklifts in an effort to reduce energy requirements of products and services,” Dairibord said in its 2023 annual report.

The country experiences abundant sunshine throughout the year, making it prime territory for solar energy solutions.

By embracing renewable energy and energy-saving practices, Dairibord is not only reducing its environmental impact but also setting a standard for sustainable production within Zimbabwe.

Dairibord said it is dedicated to attaining water efficiency objectives. The group said its objective is to produce 1 litre of product using 3 litres of water.

“We assess our progress by comparing the quantity of products manufactured to the overall quantity of water consumed. We acknowledge the direct relationship between water usage and production efficiency, and we strive to enhance our procedures consistently in order to decrease our water consumption and mitigate our environmental footprint,” Dairibord said.

The group said packaging plays a crucial role in enabling the sale, delivery and marketing of its products, as well as protecting, preserving and presenting them.

“Our packaging materials include HDPE, PET, Tetra cartons, PVC and foil. While some of our packaging materials are recyclable and reusable, improper disposal can lead to pollution and waste,” it said.

“Our goal as a company is to increase the use of recyclable packaging materials while preventing or reducing the generation of waste and pollution from our operations. We assess the quantity of waste generated, recycled and disposed of to measure our progress.”

To mitigate its impact, Dairibord said it has implemented processes to promote the recycling of its waste including working with local small businesses to collect and recycle its waste.

“We are affiliated with PETRICOZIM, an industry recycling organisation, to proactively research and develop environmentally safe packaging technology. We have established partnerships with stakeholders such as packaging suppliers, waste collectors and recyclers to ensure that our management process is successful,” Dairibord said.

It added that it works closely with the Environmental Management Agency to stay informed on regulations related to waste management.

By investing in programs that minimise and conserve natural resources, Dairibord said it is committed to reducing its impact on the environment and promoting sustainable practices in the packaging industry.

The group said it conducts emission surveys every quarter to establish the level of emissions generated by the use of coal and diesel as a source of energy.

“The group calculates its carbon footprint by converting its energy consumption into carbon dioxide equivalency using internationally accepted conversion factors. We adopt this method due to the unavailability of nationally adopted conversion factors for Zimbabwe. Emissions licences are then issued by Environmental Management Agency in line with Statutory Instrument 72 of 2009,” Dairibord said.

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