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Global First: Durkan signs historic Prosperity Agreement with Linden Foods and Linergy

Minister Mark H Durkan and Dungannon based agri-food companies, Linden Foods Ltd and Linergy Ltd, have signed the world’s first Prosperity Agreement.

The agreement will turn environment issues from barriers to business into economic growth opportunities.

The deal is that the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA), while firmly regulating, will work to reduce red tape. In turn the companies invest heavily in the environment. Linden Foods and Linergy are committing significant investment in the environment. In addition to many environmental benefits it will mean them reducing their carbon emissions by a staggering 25%.

The Environment Minister, speaking at Linden Food Headquarters in Dungannon said: "Last year, I outlined my vision for the environment agenda in Northern Ireland: ‘A Better Environment – A Stronger Economy’. My message was clear, long-term economic prosperity and well-being is only possible through the responsible management of the environment."

"I believe the biggest impact will come from the main users of our natural resources, the business community. We need to help businesses to identify opportunities for growth that reduces reliance on finite resources, reuse and reduce waste and to rethink products."

"I told my Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) to regulate firmly but also to be more supportive of progressive businesses which have a good compliance record. This first Prosperity Agreement is a great example, helping these progressive and compliant companies in our critical agri-food sector to reduce environmental impact in ways that boost their competitiveness in their markets."

"There is no shortage of talk about sustainability. There is, however, a shortage of real action. This Prosperity Agreement shows Northern Ireland is different. My environment agency has sat down with two companies and the parties have agreed real actions to bring environment and economic objectives together."

"Under this agreement, NIEA will redirect resources from bureaucratic processes that create no value to actions that support Linden Foods and Linergy improve their environmental performance in their own operations and throughout their supply-chain. I applaud both Linden and Linergy for their vision and real desire to be at the forefront of progressive sustainable business here."

Commenting on the significance of the agreement, Richard Moore Managing Director Linergy, said: "I am excited and reassured by the implementation and signing of the Prosperity Agreement. Joining forces and resources between Linergy and the NIEA paves a new way for us to do business. Together we can identify areas where improvements are possible and agree how to action them, ensuring that we minimise our impact on the environment and lead the way in our industry. If the business is not sustainable it is not viable and therefore this Agreement reinforces the need for compliance, efficiency and ultimately a way to challenge the business."

"Linergy has been proud to lead the industry in many regards since first opened in 2005. We are pleased to be part of the world’s first ‘Prosperity Agreement’, this is a clear demonstration of our commitment to the environment and our desire to continue implementing processes, techniques and technologies which enhance the sustainability of the Agri-food sector and NI plc. Partnership with the NIEA will allow us to have a first-hand role in the evolving relationship between business and the Regulator, a step which will lead to improved environmental outcomes and improved economic performance."

Gerry Maguire Managing Director, Linden Foods said: "Today Linden Foods have taken another huge environmental step forward. The formalisation of a partnership approach with the NIEA reinforces our plan to work diligently to reduce our impact across the business in alignment with our sustainability agenda. The agreement affirms our overall commitment and long-term vision and allows us to grow and educate, adapting new ways to contribute to a more prosperous and healthier way of doing business. We continue to invest time and effort so to ensure that we are a market leader and a responsible business."

Every action in the Prosperity Agreement is voluntary and will improve both environmental outcomes and economic outcomes. Linergy and Linden Foods will continue to meet environmental standards and now also move beyond minimum standards. They have undertaken to:
- reduce their carbon emissions by a staggering 25%,
- reduce their energy and water use and reduce waste;
- working to influence the supply chain to improve both on farm sustainability and finished product logistics; and
- will create a local stakeholder forum where key issues can be discussed in a constructive manner.

Signing the Agreement, Minister Durkan said: "This Prosperity Agreement shows international markets that Northern Ireland is serious about creating a world-class clean, green agri-food sector. Other countries are showing interest in these Agreements. The government in Westminster has talked about red tape reduction since it was elected. It has produced lots of promises and reports. In DOE, we’re not talking about it, we’re getting on with it and doing it. I am confident that more of our companies will see that signing up to a Prosperity Agreement makes sound business sense."

GreenTrack Celebrates 1st Birthday!

Linden Foods, the red meat processor in Dungannon, part of the Fane Valley Group, reduced water usage by the equivalent of 10 Olympic sized swimming pools and three football pitches worth of plastic as part of its far-reaching GreenTrack sustainability programme in the last year.

The company achieved other substantial resource efficiencies across its processing operation which include:

- CO2 cut by 174 tonnes through more efficient use of energy;

- 80 tonnes of waste reduced through process improvements;

- 4.8 tonnes of waste avoided by changes in packaging;

- Equivalent of 2 million A4 sheets of paper saved with ‘backingless labels’; and

- 12,000 sqm of plastic – equivalent to three football pitches – by changing to a packaging film which also prolonged shelf life.

GreenTrack, launched in April 2013, pulled together the company’s long-standing focus on environmental stewardship with new initiatives in a fully co-ordinated campaign.

The campaign also featured linkups with community groups, suppliers, customers and schools on co-ordinated measures. It has included working with farmers on embedding sustainable practices; with a local primary school on farming, and food production; with staff on fund raising and health promotion.

The commitment of Linden Foods to sustainability was recently rewarded in the Northern Ireland Benchmarking Survey by the ARENA Network in which it was accorded ‘Platinum’ status as one of the top 10 local businesses in the influential survey.

Gerry Maguire, Managing Director of Linden Foods, commenting of GreenTrack’s achievements, said: “We have seen the business benefit through improved community relations, heightened staff and customer awareness, more efficient factory processes. All of these enhance our position as a sustainable and responsible business, one which staff can be proud to work for, that customers can be proud to trade with, and the community can be proud to call a neighbour.

“All of these enhance our position as a sustainable and responsible business. One year on, the projects have encouraged biodiversity, reducing packaging and film use as well savings in two major cost areas – energy and water.

“These achievements over the past year show significant progress on the four key pillars that underpin the overall GreenTrack programme - Environment, Colleagues and Communities, Agriculture and Customers. GreenTrack has formalised our commitment to sustainable practices and ensures that this approach is central to all our strategic decision making.”

Another important aspect of the programme, he added, is a commitment to the community particularly in terms offering employment opportunities to young people through work experience and placements.

This focus is helping to boost the skills base through apprenticeships especially through links with the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprises campuses at Loughry, Cookstown and Greenmount, Antrim.

Fane Valley Chief Executive Trevor Lockhart said: “In a challenging year for the beef industry – Linden Foods is standing proud with its sustainability programme – which ensures high quality local food production in a sustainable environment. While huge steps have already been taken by the company in terms of a more sustainable business model Linden Foods are also working towards even more far reaching cost savings in energy, waste and CO2. We anticipate further cost-savings being achieved by 2018. “

Corporate Sustainability Pioneer & Award Winner visits Linden Foods

Recently Linden Foods hosted a visit from the Terry A’Hearn,
Chief Executive of the NI Environment Agency, Dr Paul Tebo
(retired VP of Du Pont) and a number of NIEA officials.
The purpose of the visit was to review the sustainability
programme at Linden Foods, and to consider ways to further
improve and strengthen the relationship between Linden Foods
and the NIEA to lead to bigger and better ‘wins’ for both the
business and the environment.
Mr A’Hearn, had invited Dr Paul Tebo along on the visit to
chair the discussions, and to stimulate debate. Dr Tebo has had
a long and distinguished career as Vice President of DuPont
and developed and implemented Du Ponts global sustainability
campaign. He has been noted internationally as a pioneer
of corporate sustainability, and is credited with delivering
DuPont from ‘foot-dragger’ to one of the most forward thinking
businesses.
The day was a great success – with round table discussions in
the morning, looking at environmental impacts of the food
industry as a whole, and how Linden Foods plays its part in
reducing this footprint, whilst also considering longer term,
aspirational goals.
After the meeting, the visitors were given a tour around the
facilities. They all commented on how impressed they were
with the highly skilled staff, the efficiency of the process, and
quality of the product.
Tebo’s logic is compelling: “The quicker we get to zero waste, the
quicker we’ll have 100 percent product. The quicker we get to zero
downtime, the quicker we’ll be at 100 percent uptime.”
Tery A’hearn was appointed Chief executive of the NIEA in
October 2012, having served in a number of management
and executive roles in the Environmental Protection Agency
in Victoria, Australia. Under his leadership, the NIEA have
changed their Mission Statement to ‘To create prosperity and
well-being through environment and heritage excellence’.
Operations Director, Paul Johnston commented: “We
were very pleased to be able to accommodate the visit, and
the discussions around the wider sustainability agenda. We
firmly believe that through GreenTrack, Linden Foods is making
important strides in the direction of ‘Sustainable Growth”.

Pictured (L-R): Dr Paul Tebo (former VP DuPont), Paul Johnston, Retail Ops Director, Terry A’Hearn
(Chief Executive of the NIEA) Richard Moore, Linden Foods Director

Sustainable Farming = WIN : WIN

On Wednesday 26th March: The Greenhouse Gas
Implementation Partnership released its Phase 1
Report. Speaking at the launch of the report Richard
Moore, Linden Foods Director and Chair of the
GHGIP’s sub-group on red meat said:
“As a society we are faced with the dual challenge of producing
enough food to sustain a burgeoning global population whilst
minimising the carbon footprint of that food. As a meat
exporting area, we have the opportunity to demonstrate to
customers the sustainability of our beef and sheep farming.
Conditions on this island mean that grassland livestock systems
are generally the best means by which we can contribute to
feeding the world. Local farmers have risen to this challenge by
implementing the efficiency measures outlined in this report. In
doing so, they have improved their profitability and reduced the
amount of carbon used to produce food.”
Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill said: “I commend the
Greenhouse Gas Implementation Partnership (GHGIP) on the
publication of this report which outlines the many and varied
efficiency measures being implemented on local farms to reduce
GHG emissions and achieve cost savings. My department will
continue to support the GHGIP as they lead the way towards
establishing the north of Ireland as one of the most efficient and
sustainable places in the world in which to produce food.
“The Partnership has demonstrated that local farmers are
taking active steps to reduce their carbon footprint and I
commend it on its efforts. The GHGIP is a perfect example of
how the agri-food sector can work in successful partnership
with government and environmentalists on important issues of
common interest.”

GreenTrack Sponsors Youth Team

As part of our commitment to 'Our Colleagues & Communities' we have agreed a £500 sponsorship deal with Dungannon U-15s boys rugby team.

Colin Steenson, the team coach, said "we are delighted to receive this sponsorship and to be part of Linden Foods sustainability program.

We wish the lads well for the rest of the Season!


GreenTrack in partnership with Rural Support

Linden Foods, one of the UK’s leading fresh meat processors, is to work with local charity Rural Support, over the next 12 months to continue to raise awareness of the charity’s work among the rural and farming communities across Northern Ireland.
Rural Support offers a listening and signposting service via a helpline for farmers and rural families across Northern Ireland. Callers to the helpline are of all ages and backgrounds who may be struggling to deal with issues such as emotional distress, physical and mental health, and bureaucracy and more. Speaking about the company’s new partnership, Mael Wilford, Environmental Manager, Linden Foods, commented: “The launch of our sustainability programme, GreenTrack earlier this year formalised our commitment to responsible and sustainable business practices.
The rural community and local farmers are a vital link in our supply chain at Linden Foods and through our close working relationship we are aware of the many challenges they face. From today, we will be working with Rural Support to help raise the profile of this valuable organisation and to help raise funds so they can continue to deliver their important work.
”Rural Support's Development Director, Jude McCann commented:"Rural Support is delighted to have the support of Linden Foods. Forging a partnership with an industry leader such as Linden Foods will strengthen our capacity to promote positive mental wellbeing and ensure that farmers and rural dwellers are aware of and can access the services that we offer.”
Linden Foods’ partnership with Rural Support will cover three main areas:
• Driving awareness of Rural Support among key audience by profiling the charity on company’s website, social networking
• Raising funds through a variety of staff events
• Volunteering support:

As Linden Foods’ work with Rural Support gets underway, the company recently donated £1,000 to the charity at a recent staff Christmas dinner along with a couple of hampers.


Pictured: (L TO R) Sam Campbell, Board Director - Jude McCann, Development Director - Niall McCool, Group Communications Manager - Clodagh Crowe, - Rural Support Team & Mael Wilford, Linden Foods Environmental Manager

Festive Spirit of Goodwill

Linden Foods presented ‘Rural Support’ their designated charity for the year with two generous Christmas hampers from the Linden Food Group. The Group consists of Linden Foods, Slaney Foods, Irish Country Meats and Kettyle Irish Foods. Together they form an integrated major fresh meat processing operation.
Also donated was a very generous cheque for £1000 which was raised at the staff Christmas dinner at the Glenavon Hotel, Cookstown.

Pictured at the recent presentation was Glodagh Crowe, Community Relations Manager at Rural Support.

“We are extremely humbled by the generosity shown by Linden Foods. To recieve the hampers alone would have been fantastic not to mention the cheque donation. Our organisation idenitfies and helps the farmers in the rural community that need support. We will endeavour to use our hamper appeal to ease the burden of Christmas for those who need it the most. We are delighted to have this relationship with Linden Foods. The staff and management have been very forthcoming with help and advice and we are all looking forward to 2014.”

GreenTrack Week

We kicked off the week with a visit to Joe McCarragher's farm outside Armagh.

The lucky staff spent the morning helping Joe plant hedgerows and other duties around the farm.

Thanks to Pat Fay, Matthew Steenson, Sharon Montgomery, Gabriel Mullan & Michal Szymborski for taking part...

As a further part of the Week, our Environmental Manager Mael Wilford and Supply Chain Manager Frank Foster visited the local P7 class of Dungannon Primary School. Armed with visual aids Frank spoke to the boys and girls about farming in N. Ireland and the importance of farming, both economically and for future needs. The class found the talk extremely educational and had some good questions for Frank…

See attached picture of Frank addressing the class…. Well done to Frank & Mael for taking the time to go speak with the class

The rest of the week consisted of a healthy eating day, a clothes recycling day, official announcement of the GreenTrack Charity, and a successful litter pick in the local area!


Thanks to everyone for making the week a great success!

Coming Soon: GreenTrack Week!

Monday the 11th November commences our 1st GreenTrack Week.
From Monday to Saturday will be have a series of focused days specific to our sustainability programme…
Our Colleagues & Communities, Our Agriculture, Our Customers and their Customers, Our Environment.

Linden Foods named one of Northern Ireland’s top ‘green’ companies

Linden Foods has been listed as one of the top scoring companies in this year’s NI Environmental Benchmarking Survey conducted by Business in the Community’s ARENA Network, achieving Platinum quintile status.

The Survey, which is supported by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency and Fleet Financial, annually assesses top businesses in Northern Ireland for environmental management, performance and assurance. Bombardier Aerospace came top of the Survey overall.

With almost 300 organisations from 15 different sectors invited to take part, including the top 200 companies and leading public sector organisations, 119 organisation participated this year and the average overall score increased from 71% in 2012 to 77%.

Environment Minister Mark H Durkan commended all participants for their leadership and achievement saying: “In today’s challenging economic climate, smart businesses are increasingly looking to improve their operational and resource efficiency and reap the associated benefits of cost savings and greener credentials. The ARENA Network Survey is undoubtedly a key influencer in supporting organisations to achieve a more sustainable way of doing business. The results are improving year-on-year, highlighting the importance of environmental responsibility for business and the growing need to benchmark their environmental performance.

“I applaud all the participants of this year’s Survey; they are ambassadors for good environmental stewardship who have, and will hopefully continue to, set the standard for responsible business practice.

“Taking responsibility for your environmental impact is not just the right thing to do, it is essential for building a strong and sustainable future. Working together, the public and private sector can make a real difference.”

Chair of ARENA Network, David Gavaghan, added: “Year-on-year, the Survey results give us tangible confidence that environmental measurement is firmly one of the top issues that corporates are managing. 2013 has proven to be a fantastic year with the highest average score recorded since the Survey began in 1998, demonstrating a greater adoption of environmental practice and a better understanding of the Survey. It is very encouraging to see so many businesses seeking to care for our planet, both for this generation and the ones to follow.

“The journey of sustainability is not only the right thing to do, but there are significant benefits, both financial and strategic. It’s important that we engage other organisations to help understand, measure and reduce their impacts; as well as helping them see the advantages of taking part in the ARENA Survey as being a key driver for environmental management.”

The top results (in order of scoring) were achieved by: Bombardier Aerospace, Belfast Harbour, Larne Borough Council, Phoenix Natural Gas, Seagate Technology (Ireland), John Graham (Dromore) Ltd, Linden Foods, BBC NI, Michelin Tyre plc, Moy Park, O’Hare & McGovern, Pritchitts, B/E Aerospace (UK) Ltd, Dunbia (NI), Farrans (Construction) Ltd, H&J Martin Ltd, NACCO Materials Handling Ltd, Newry & Mourne District Council, Queen’s University Belfast, South Eastern Health & Social Care, Compass Group UK & Ireland and Northern Ireland Assembly.

To find out who else participated and how they scored, visit www.arenani.org.uk.

GreenTrack Goes to School

Mael Wilford from Linden Foods and David Thompson, Principal, present pupils of Dungannon Primary School with book tokens following a colouring in competition for P1s, P2s and P3s. The competition was to launch the partnership between the School and GreenTrack, which is Linden Foods Sustainability Programme. The two parties will work together over this new academic year to deliver messages about healthy eating, the environment and world around us.

Linden Foods Launches Sustainability Programme Greentrack

Linden Foods, the Fane Valley red meat processor, has launched GreenTrack, a dedicated sustainability programme which for the first time sets out the companies’ commitment to delivering on responsible and sustainable business practices now and for the future.

“Linden Foods is committed to operating in a responsible and sustainable way in everything it does. We have always known the importance of having in place sustainable farming practices, minimizing waste and ensuring our colleagues are valued and rewarded with a safe and challenging workplace with opportunities to train further and develop. GreenTrack formalises our commitment to sustainable practices and ensures this approach is central to our strategic decision making.”

Gerry Maguire, Managing Director, Linden Foods

GreenTrack highlights some of Linden Foods recent achievements in sustainability and sets ambitious targets under the four key pillars that make up the GreenTrack initiative, namely Environment,Colleagues and Communities, Agriculture and Customers.

In the last year, efforts to drive efficiency at production level have already delivered significant savings. This has included reducing water usage by the equivalent of 10 Olympic sized swimming pools and reducing waste volumes and electricity usage. About 121 tonnes of CO2 has been saved.

GreenTrack also articulates Linden Foods commitment to its Colleagues and Communities which has seen the business provide work experience and placement opportunities to young people across Northern Ireland, with close links in particular with Loughry College and Greenmount College. The Apprenticeship Programme has to date enjoyed great success with one of their employees, Alan Haugh from Portadown, receiving the Recognition Award at the Northern Ireland 2012 Apprentice of the Year Awards.

While huge steps have already been taken by Linden Foods in terms of a more sustainable business model they are also working towards targets such as:

Absolute energy reduction targets
Comprehensive waste reduction targets by 2018
Recruiting additional 40 apprentices across the business in the longer term
Continuation of the E-CO2 project until 2016
Further development and completion of beef process evaluation and meat quality benchmark programme

Linden Foods: Environmental Recognition

Linden Foods have been presented with a plaque in recognition of the high environmental standards achieved with regards to environmental management and performance.

This was the 14th Northern Ireland Environmental Benchmarking Survey, supported by the Department of the Environment and the Northern Ireland Enviornment Agency.

This recognition comes from scoring over 80% in the survey, finishing 37th overall, and first of the Red Meat companies.

The survey takes place annually, and is comprised of the top 250 organisations in Northern Ireland. Linden has improved its score each year, achieving over 80% for the first time in 2012.

This is a culmination of the efforts of all staff, across all departments – the survey considers, Energy Usage, Water and Waste, as well as Management systems and Travel. The Survey provides a benchmark with which to measure improvements relative to those in our sector and in others. We were able to demonstrate year on year improvements, and that we have gone further and faster than the majority of businesses in NI.

Attendees heard from the Environment Minister Alex Atwood, who re-iterated his support of the survey, stating : “I commend all of the participants for their positive contribution to good environmental stewardship and their commitment to reducing environmental impacts and managing resources efficiently”.

Thanks for your help over the past 12 months, and your continued and future assistance!

Merry Christmas!