Wyke Farms becomes first UK dairy to earn Carbon Trust triple certification

The UK's largest independent cheese producer and milk processor has become the first British dairy farm to hold a Carbon Trust Standard triple certification for improving environmental performance across carbon emissions, water use and waste.

Wyke Farms in Somerset, which supplies all of the major UK supermarkets, received the world-renowned accreditation for its achievements in taking action on environmental impacts and tackling climate change through its ‘100% Green’ initiative, launched in 2013, which has helped the company save 22 million kg of CO2.

The company’s managing director Rich Clothier said: “To achieve the Carbon Trust triple standard is fantastic recognition for the hard work put in by the team at Wyke and provides further endorsement that we are working across a number of areas to make our business provide a net positive impact.

“I believe that it should be the ambition of all businesses that the natural world and society should be better off with industry than without it”.

‘Forefront of sustainability’

Notable sustainability achievements of Wyke Farms include becoming the UK’s first national cheddar brand to be 100% self-sufficient in green energy, in addition to the launch of a new 100% green £1m water recovery plant near its flagship factory in Bruton, Somerset which effectively closes the loop on the site’s wastewater.

The supplier recently formed a partnership with customer Sainsbury’s, which will see the cheese producer generate green biogas to be used in the supermarket retailer’s UK stores.

Commenting on the triple standard, Carbon Trust certification managing director Darran Messem said: “Wyke Farms has been at the forefront of sustainability in farming and dairy for many years. Becoming the first UK dairy company to achieve the Carbon Trust Standards for carbon, water and waste underlines the company’s commitment to the environment.

“The challenges of the dairy industry have been widely publicised in recent years, but Wyke Farms’ has demonstrated how business performance and environmental management can be combined to create a more sustainable business model.”

Bio-methane energy

Wyke Farms’s certification epitomises a sector that has taken big steps towards sustainability. Last month, one of the UK’s largest cheese creameries, First Milk, announced the completion of a giant on-site anaerobic digestion (AD) plant which is feeding bio-methane to the national gas grid. Commissioned by British on-site treatment solutions provider Clearfleau, the facility will produce more than £3m in cost savings and revenue per annum, and supply up to 25% of the site’s energy requirements.

Despite this positive action among the dairy industry, Wyke farms’s Clothier told edie that sustainability is still seen as something that’s “nice to have rather than essential” for many other big businesses – an assumption which is stifling the UK’s broader transition to a green economy.

At the time, Clothier said: “I talk to people who work in sustainable roles in big PLCs, and their biggest problem is getting the stakeholders to commit the funds because there are always other priorities. I think that’s one of the biggest challenges – leveraging the finance.”

George Ogleby

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