Safeguarding sustainability at Ragus
At Ragus, we know that sustainability is a collaborative project. What are we doing to play our part?
A sign of the times
It is now critical that companies are mindful of their environmental impact. Assessing ways to reduce energy consumption or the usage of single-use plastics is commonplace in industry, as supply chain actors are being forced to examine the impact of their actions on the planet. As a result, clients and consumers are beginning to prioritise working with companies who pursue sustainable goals, with this trend showing no sign of slowing.
At Ragus, sustainability forms one of our 10 pillars of corporate social responsibility (CSR). It is ingrained in our operations and underpins our attempts to limit waste, increase efficiency and reduce our carbon footprint. Not only is this necessary in order to preserve the health of our plant, but it is also, as we see it, simply the right way to operate.
Fine tuning our CSR policy so it is as beneficial and responsive as possible is an ongoing project. In 2012 we opened a brand new and resource efficient plant, equipped with a custom-made production line that maximised efficiency throughout the sugar production process. While this plant remains one of the most technically advanced of its kind, we are always striving to promote operations that have sustainability at their core and developing processes that deliver maximum efficiency.
A sustainable approach from start to finish
In routinely placing procedures such as procurement and packaging under the CSR microscope, we have frequently identified areas for improvement. Outlined below are some examples of our operations that are sustainability-driven:
High standards and shared values with suppliers
We hold all our suppliers and service providers to our own CSR standards and values. In doing so, we have developed a network of suppliers that deliver exploitation-free products reliably and on time. As a mark of our commitment to this approach, we also regularly visit and audit the refineries, mills and plantations operated by these suppliers, with this being the best way to ensure our high standards are consistently shared throughout the sugar supply chain.
Sustainable and resource efficient sugar production
During the design phase of our plant near London, we introduced an advanced closed system in which the evaporation vats are heated by using water instead of steam. This allows for easier and more even vat heating, reduces heat loss and therefore increases efficiency. No sugar is wasted during the manufacturing process. All excess product is processed and utilised during production eliminating the waste stream.
In addition to the closed system, equipment is purchased with resource efficiency and performance as key criteria. This included energy-efficient heat exchangers and boilers, intelligent lighting, more energy efficient jackets on holding tanks and inversion pans. Our onsite weighbridge has enabled us to reduce the carbon footprint of our operations as previously at the old factory, vehicles would have to be weighed elsewhere. This has reduced emissions and saved fuel.
After any sugar product has been produced, it must then be packaged for transportation. To limit the carbon footprint of the product, we encourage our customers to use the reusable pooling system. By using returnable intermediate bulk containers (IBCs) with a protective liner, the tank is kept clean and means that it no longer needs to be reconditioned after each delivery which is common with traditional IBCs. As a result, both water and energy are saved, with the liners also being recycled once used.
To cut down our dependence on natural resources and reduce our environmental impact, we are promoting the use of pooled plastic pallets. These have a lower carbon footprint than that of wooden pallets as they have a much longer life span and can be recycled into a new pallet. In addition, they do not splinter which could pose a foreign body risk and are easily sanitised to remove bacteria and limit growth ready for reuse.
Plans for the future at Ragus
Outlined above are only a handful of examples of the path to a highly sustainable future Ragus is taking. We consistently invest time and money into improving all areas of our business. Sustainability is a continuous and collaborative project and we will continue to play our part in pursuing this goal.