SPC boss Hussein Rifai outlines four-step action plan to slash waste, gas
The head of the first manufacturer in Australia to mandate the Covid-19 jab among its employees is also unveiling a four-step action plan in a bid to slash the company’s waste to zero.
It comes after the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) damning report this week that found within just a decade, global warming could increase temperatures by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius.
SPC chairman Hussein Rifai made headlines last week after he mandated the Covid-19 vaccine for workers, becoming the first Australian company to do so.
He required all 500 staff members of the national fruit manufacturer to be fully vaccinated by the end of November in a bid to “protect the community”.
He then doubled down on the move this week after copping criticism from unions, saying he could personally go to jail unless he created a virus-free workspace.
Mr Rifai now wants the Shepparton-based company’s waste to be completely cut to zero, outlining four major steps SPC is taking towards securing a more sustainable future.
“Going green was top of mind when I first bought the business,” he said.
“My first aim is to reach zero waste and have everything coming out of our factories recycled or used in another way.”
Mr Rifai’s delivered on that front when it came to giving fruit scraps a second lease on life, passing on oils from peach and apricot stones to beauty companies to use in skincare products.
That was one aspect of SPC’s “fruit waste and management” step, which also involved converting fruit scraps into aseptic packaging.
Any fruit unsuitable for stocking was also evaluated for use in paste or juice production.
Mr Rifai said he was also in discussion with US companies on how to reuse energy at the 145,000sq m factory in Shepparton.
He said he had already invested $180,000 in upgraded boiler controls, reducing the company’s total gas consumption by 7.4 per cent since January this year.
IPCC’s report released on Monday was its sixth assessment report since releasing its first one in 1990.
It said carbon dioxide levels were higher than they’ve been for at least two million years.
As a result, warming had accelerated along with devastating impacts of extreme weather around the world.
All up, the world has warmed by just under 1.1C, the report concludes – that‘s compared with the “pre-industrial” baseline, which was treated as the average temperature from 1850 to 1900.
Mr Rifai said the report was “most concerning” and industry leaders all around the world had a “very big role to play” in the next 10 years.
He said SPC was awarded a grant under the Business Recovery Energy Efficiency Fund that the company was investing in an “energy management system” – set to deliver a more than 5 per cent reduction in gas and electricity usage.
It involves new controls of its refrigeration systems, which is set to slash energy consumption by 15 per cent during the out-of-season months between June and November.
Mr Rifai also said SPC was focusing on its water usage and packaging controls, reducing its reliance on plastics.
The IPCC report offered a glimmer of hope that it wasn’t too late to secure a more sustainable future.
World leaders will gather in November at the COP26 climate change conference in Glasgow, Scotland.
Countries are expected to “ratchet up” their pledges to cut greenhouse gas emissions in line with their promise to try to stop warming at 1.5C.
Australia has a 2030 target to cut emissions to 26 per cent below 2005 levels.
“While we have a lot of work to do in 10 years, there’s not necessarily a deadline to this,” Mr Rifai said.
“This is a continuos ongoing goal we are trying to chip away at every day and I encourage everyone to be doing the same – little or big, it all makes a contribution.”
Originally published as SPC boss Hussein Rifai outlines four-step action plan to slash waste, gas
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