We apply best practices in sustainable development and carry out numerous environmental initiatives, including steps to reduce our greenhouse-gas emissions and reuse our waste materials.
Cooperating for environmental responsibility
When it comes to the environment, Agropur’s business culture reflects our belief that actions speak louder than words. Over the years we have developed the necessary resources and structures to ensure sound environmental management for all operations.
Agropur’s environment committees include members of the Board and management. Their responsibilities include overseeing efforts to ensure Agropur facilities comply with all legal requirements. Committees meet twice a year to maintain the continuity of initiatives and policy directions. Each of our plants has an environment champion.
A dedicated environment team
The Environment Department maintains a regulatory watch and keeps the legal records for Agropur’s major facilities. An annual assessment of all workplaces is also conducted.
Ongoing internal communications educate employees about environmental issues such as environmental management initiatives at plants, reducing paper consumption and computer equipment management.
Agropur has a range of programs designed to reduce our environmental footprint. We constantly measure progress and identify new opportunities through annual water, energy and greenhouse gas (GHG) reports.
Smart water management
Water management is an Agropur priority, because we understand just how vital water is to the entire dairy industry.
Our water management approach includes ongoing sampling to test the quality of both the water we take from the environment (for consumption) and the wastewater we release into the environment.
Agropur’s water management program has the following objectives:
Measure and monitor annual water consumption
Lower water consumption
Reduce the organic load of our wastewater, i.e., enhance the quality of the wastewater discharged.
Education and awareness-raising on water issues have met with an enthusiastic response from teams at our plants. Today, our employees and partners often come to us with ideas on how to improve water management performance.
Lowering GHG emissions
Agropur closely monitors and calculates the GHG emissions generated by our Canadian and US operations.The Cooperative is working to develop a realistic portrait of its GHG emissions to assess their impact on climate change.
A second life for our organic materials
Agropur already has internal processes to treat and reuse the vast majority of our organic waste. Much of it is used to produce powders such as whey protein and milk protein concentrates.
When we cannot repurpose residual materials in-house, we outsource liquid organic waste to be treated and reused for projects such as biogas production. Solid food waste, like cheese by-products, are sent to processors and used to make animal feed.
LEED-Silver certified head office
In 2017 the new Agropur head office in Saint-Hubert, Quebec was certified LEED-Silver. The state-of-the-art facility is the fruit of three years of planning and construction, and is harmoniously integrated into its natural setting. Concrete actions taken to achieve LEED certification:
95% of construction and demolition wastes were diverted from landfill
20% of construction materials contain recycled materials
Parking lots feature charging stations to encourage electric vehicle use
80% of the roof surface is covered with a highly reflective material to reduce the heat-island effect
97% of regularly occupied spaces enjoy views of the great outdoors
First Agropur Environment Summit
In April 2017 environmental leaders from Agropur plants in Canada and the United States got together in the Cooperative’s new head office to discuss our environmental initiatives and share success stories.
In 2016, Agropur carried out an environmental impact study of its packaging. A number of improvements were made as a result of that analysis, including thinner milk pouches for the 4-litre bags.
Agropur provides the City of Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec, with up to 10,000 tonnes of food waste to produce biogas, a renewable natural gas that is used to meet the city’s energy needs and sold to third parties. The Cooperative is proud to be part of a project that delivers environmental, social and economic benefits.