Consideration for the environment and sustainability has been very important to Gourmet Garden and this is reflected in the design of the company’s facility built in 2006, which houses the facility, laboratories and offices. The building boasts the biggest of its kind refrigeration plant, which is 50% more energy efficient than a typical refrigeration plant. Rain water is harvested from the roof top, stored in four rain water tanks and used for both the fire protection and within the facility. A 40m green belt surrounding the back of the site, equipped with a walkway and 8,000 native trees, was gifted to the community.
Genuine concern for the environment is also reflected in many decisions on all levels of the company. For example, Gourmet Garden is a partner of ecoBiz, the Queensland Government established program to improve efficient use of resources and waste reduction. In partnership with Maroochydore TAFE, Gourmet Garden enrolled 100% of the factory staff and almost all office staff in Certificate IV in Lean Manufacturing. This resulted in a number of immediate and long term improvements in efficiency and waste reduction. Currently, Gourmet Garden is in the process of establishing another partnership with Sunshine Coast Council in a new program, the Waste Minimisation Strategy.
These initiatives are driven by dedicated management, are being adopted by everyone in the company, creating a caring environment where everyone contributes their ideas.
Gourmet Garden has been a signatory of the National Packaging Covenant (NPC) since 2005. Many changes have been implemented as a result of this association and these are highlighted below.
- Increased product to packaging ratio year on year, over 5 years.
- New single serve packs resulting in a reduction of non-recyclable packaging, with the product to non-recyclable packaging ratio increasing from 13:1 to 23:1.
- Reduction in the percent of waste sent to the landfill, from 88% in 2005 down to 68% in 2010.
- Increased percent of packaging reused internally, from 0% in 2005 to 25% in 2010.
- Purchasing recycled and/or environmentally friendly office products and some distribution packaging.
- Reuse of distribution cartons from the tube supplier resulting in one quarter of all packaging weight entering the supply chain being reused, rather than new.