Climate Action and Renewable EnergyRead More about Climate Action and Renewable Energy
Climate change is a key cause for concern and interest on a global level. Climate change poses various risks to different regions of the world. Common examples are rising temperatures and the associated problems; the increasing frequency of extreme weather events and associated physical damage; agricultural challenges in large parts of the world; significant population migration within and outside of countries; and more.
There is consensus among the global scientific community as to the anthropogenic source of the change – the group of greenhouse gases (CO2, N2O, CH4, HFCs, and others). Since the start of the Industrial Revolution, and the massive ensuing growth in the human population, these gases have been emitted into the atmosphere in unprecedented quantities, and cause physical changes that result in climate change. The largest anthropogenic source of these emissions is the burning of fossil fuels (coal, oil and its products, natural gas, etc.) to generate energy in industrial plants, automobiles, and more.
In the short term, the outbreak of the Corona pandemic in 2020 significantly reduced greenhouse gas emissions as a result on the drastic drop in air travel, a reduction in the use of cars, closure of non-essential factories and offices, decrease of international trade, etc. Yet the expectation is that when the crisis is over, global emissions will return, and will even reach their previous levels. Consequently, and in accordance with the principles of the Paris Agreement (2015), many countries and companies around the world are setting themselves ambitious goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The overriding aim of these efforts is to decarbonize the air so as to enable continued population growth, and to increase the global standard of living without increasing the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and even reducing them.
As a leading manufacturing company, Strauss is also committed to do our part to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to fight against climate change. We are investing significant efforts and resources in energy efficiency initiatives. In 2020, in spite of the challenges of the Corona crisis, we began to gradually transition some of our sites to the use of renewable energy. More details below.
At Strauss, we are working to reduce indirect emissions related to our operations. Part of these efforts are taking place in the supply chain, for example, purchasing local raw materials close to our sites, wherever possible, thereby reducing the emissions associated with their transportation. Other efforts in the supply chain include reducing packaging waste associated with our products and increasing our recycling capabilities.
Shift to Renewable and Alternative Energy
In the past few years, thanks to various technological breakthroughs, renewable energy has become a realistic economic option. Renewable energy infrastructures – solar/photovoltaic, wind energy, hydroelectric, and more – are being set up at an increasing pace around the world. Strauss Group began to assess and implement various options for switching to renewable energy.
In 2020, the Group set an ambitious goal of a 100% shift to renewable energy at its facilities in Israel by 2040. This will result in a 100% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions at Strauss Israel related to energy consumption at permanent facilities (Scope 1) and external electricity consumption (Scope 2). To achieve this goal, the company formulated a multi-year plan to build solar energy infrastructures (PV) at most of its production sites and logistics centers throughout Israel. Initial implementation is planned at several sites in 2021.
At the same time, efforts are being made to use renewable energy in other countries that Strauss operates in around the world. Implementation pioneers in the Group were the Strauss Coffee sites in Eastern Europe:
- The Strauss Coffee factory in Romania built two PV systems at its site in 2019. In 2020, these systems generated a total of 188 MWh, comprising about 11% of the total electricity consumption at the site.
- The Strauss Coffee factory in Serbia built a similar system at the end of 2019. This system generated 23 MWh, 4% of the site’s total energy consumption.
Producing Biogas from Wastewater
Strauss makes a point of taking advantage of opportunities to save on fuel consumption and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including utilizing energy sources generated by the wastewater treatment processes at the sites.
In Israel, there are longstanding projects to generate biogas from wastewater treatment at the Ahihud and Yotvata sites. The gas is used in the sites’ operations. The projects undergo constant inspection and improvement, with the aim of increasing the output of biogas and improving the utilization of the biogas that’s produced. For example, in 2019, and when natural gas was first being used at the Ahihud dairy in Israel, the dairy upgraded its steam boiler to consume three types of gas – biogas, natural gas and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) – as opposed to only biogas/LPG before the upgrade. Depending on the concentration of pollutants in the chimney, the burner controller alters the combination of fuels to ensure optimal energy efficiency. This upgrade resulted in energy savings, and the reduction of various air emissions as demanded of the site in order to meet all regulatory requirements.
Obela in Australia partners with a local factory (SA Water) on shared energy efficiencies. Over the past years, Obela has provided the SA Water factory with sludge from treatment of the Obela factory’s wastewater. This sludge is transferred for anaerobic digestion at the SA Water site, which produces biogas. This biogas is used to generate electricity, and replaces fossil fuels. The combined product saves waste that requires treatment, and reduces greenhouse gas emissions
Comprehensive Energy-saving Solutions
All Strauss sites invest significant resources in identifying and fulfilling energy saving potential.
- In Israel, there is an internal efficiency team, including representatives from all the company’s sites, and headed by the Energy Manager in this geography. Over the past few years, the team identified, recommended and received approval for various investments in reducing gas and fuel consumption, which led to a decrease in Strauss’ carbon footprint.
- In 2020, Strauss Israel’s reduction goal was 2.4% of its energy consumption intensity, in terms of kWh per ton manufactured. As a result of this comprehensive effort and in spite of the challenges brought about by the Corona crisis, the company met this goal and even exceeded it, while reducing consumption intensity by 4% compared to 2019. These efficiency efforts are joined by other endeavors such as upgrading equipment, streamlining internal energy systems, changing lighting methods, shipping, and more.
- As follows are a few examples of implementations at sites around the world:
- In 2020, the Sabra factory in the US was certified as a LEED gold building for its green construction and energy saving. As part of the certification, the factory implemented comprehensive energy saving steps, which reduced over 800 MWh (or about 44%) of the site’s consumption in 2020. These steps focused on the shift to energy-saving LED lights in the vast majority of the lighting in the factory. Additional results of the certification process were a 45% reduction in Sabra’s annual water consumption, and an avoidance of the use of paint and coating materials with the potential to reduce air quality at the site.
- Improving the air compressor system at the Ahihud Dairy, Israel: The air compressor system at the Ahihud Dairy is a main consumer of electricity, comprising 20% of the dairy’s total electricity consumption. The dairy partnered with a startup called EcoPlant to implement innovative technology to control and improve the system and increase its efficiency. This led to a 13% drop in energy consumption at the Ahihud site of about 400 MWh per year. The technology works by individually monitoring the compressors and making dynamic changes to increase efficiency.
- Improving the water cooling systems at the confectionary factory in Nof Hagalil, Israel: There are three water cooling systems at the factory providing different temperatures, according to the requirements of the process. After consulting with all the internal consumers of the cooled water, the streams were redirected to prevent “overcooling” of the water and energy wastage. The current savings on these processes are estimated at 1.2 MWh annually.
- Increased shipping efficiency in Israel: In the effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions connected to the shipping of products, changes were made to this system. The company implemented a solution of adding height to the shipping trucks, to enable loading a larger number of containers and products per delivery. This resulted in a substantial reduction in truck trips, which converts to a saving estimated at about 10,000 liters of diesel fuel, which is the equivalent of about 27 tons of greenhouse gases.
Lifecycle Assessment (LCA) of Existing and Potential Savings in Greenhouse Gases using Strauss Water Products
In 2020, as part of its commitment to reducing its environmental impact, Strauss Water carried out an environmental audit across its entire lifecycle (LCA) for the water bars it supplies to its customers. The assessment was carried out by the ECO-OS company, which is a specialist in this field, and focused on the comparative carbon path of the water bars. This carbon path includes greenhouse gas emissions resulting from the consumption of a liter of drinking water compared to alternative options. The results of this comprehensive project demonstrated that the company’s water bars offer substantial savings (over 70%) on greenhouse gas emissions, compared to mineral water consumption from various types of bottles. The company is currently considering the prospect of an even more significant reduction in carbon emissions related to the various stages of life of the water bars, and options for balancing carbon.
Reduction in Greenhouse Gasses Combined with the Implementation of the Montreal Protocol
The Montreal Protocol, which went into effect in Israel and in other countries in which we operate over the past few years, focuses on a global phase-out of the use of gases such as HCFCs, which deplete the ozone layer, as well as being greenhouse gases with a high climate impact coefficient (Global Warming Potential – GWP). The most widely used of these gases is R22, a long-time commonly used cooling gas. In Israel, Strauss has implemented a multi-year plan to cease the use of R22 and to replace it with more environmentally-friendly solutions. Over the past few years, R22 was replaced at the Ahihud dairy, at the Confectionary factory, at the salads and coffee factories and at other sites. The company plans to complete the process at the rest of its sites as part of its environmental investments in the coming years. In addition to complying with the requirements of the protocol and regulations, this process will result in another dramatic reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
Knowledge Partnership and Leading Processes with External Partners
Out of the understanding that the reduction of greenhouse gases is a global effort, Strauss participates and even leads various forums on the subject. For example, Strauss is one of the founders of the Energy Efficiency Forum in Israel. This forum was established in 2020 and is run by the Afeka College. It deals with enrichment and promoting projects among leading companies in Israel. The Energy Manager in Israel serves as the chairperson of the forum. In 2021, with the anticipated end of the Corona crisis, the forum plans on expanding its activities to frontal meetings and site visits. Further information about Strauss’ participation in environmental and other forums can be found here.