Branston has held the Carbon Trust Standard since 2008. In 2013 Branston was one of the four pathfinder organisations that piloted the methodology for the Carbon Trust Standard for Water.
Branston, one of the UK’s largest buyers, packers and distributors of potatoes, has held the Carbon Trust Standard since 2008, when it became the first food and arable agriculture business to achieve the certification. In 2013 Branston took leadership in its sector once more, becoming one of the four pathfinder organisations that piloted and supported the development of the methodology for the Carbon Trust Standard for Water.
Branston is a major water user, requiring vast quantities to wash the 350,000 tonnes of potatoes that the company handles every year. Having a secure supply of water is critical for the company’s operations. It also comes at a significant cost, so the company has a direct interest in using water as efficiently as possible.
To tackle the challenge of sustainable water management, the team at Branston first went about understanding the true water impact of the business. Starting at its Lincolnshire site, the company worked with the local Environment Agency team to investigate how water was being used, creating a water balance to account for every cubic metre that went in and out of that facility. This information supported the decision to invest in a membrane bioreactor water recycling (MBR) plant.
The MBR had a significant impact, reducing mains water consumption at the site by around 60%, while simultaneously improving the quality of the effluent from the site. Branston was so impressed by the savings made that it quickly followed on with investment into a similar MBR plant at its facility in Somerset.
Investment into this new technology helped Branston to make significant reductions in water use. However, in the agriculture sector weather can often make a big difference to environmental impacts. For example, rainfall patterns affect soil conditions around the time of the potato harvest, which can seriously impact the amount of water required to clean a potato after it is taken out of the ground.
To maximise gains, Branston has therefore matched large investments in water-reduction technology with a continued focus on smaller-scale measures, such as installing rainwater harvesting tanks, water leak detection and setting weekly water consumption targets. This is all part of wider efforts to ensure long term sustainability, not just of the business, but of the wider environment. This is something that the company expects to be of growing importance in coming years, as the impacts of climate increase incidents of water scarcity in the UK.
Water is a central resource for our business operations, and so it is important that we manage it carefully and use it efficiently. The Carbon Trust Standard helps us to effectively manage our water use, alongside carbon emissions and waste, giving us a framework to drive continuous improvement. We are proud of what we have been able to achieve over the past ten years in partnership with the Carbon Trust, and look forward to continuing our work.
Vidyanath Gururajan, Innovations Director, Branston
Vidyanath Gururajan, Innovations Director, Branston, speaks about how Branston first achieved the Carbon Trust Standard for Water: