Environmental stewardship



Significantly reducing our environmental footprint

Tiger Brands recognises that healthy ecosystems form the foundation of a secure food supply, and that social and ecological resilience at a production-level is essential if our food system is to be healthy, just and sustainable. We acknowledge that current methods of food production, through farm and factory, although forming the foundation of our business, threaten the environment and human health.

Not only is South Africa’s public health impacted, but our natural environment is in decline. The agri-food value chain accounts for more GHG-emissions than any other sector. Irrigation accounts for 62% of South Africa’s water-use in an environment where only 50% of wetlands remain and 80% of rivers have compromised quality and flow. One third of all food is wasted and only 16% of plastic waste is recycled, while over eight million tonnes of plastic enter our oceans each year.

While we have driven high levels of productivity, built our business on industrial food production practices, and have been a part of driving the trend towards a more industrialised food system in South Africa, we realise that many of the patterns emergent through industrialisation threaten the natural capital upon which our business depends. Change is required, and we are in a position to participate meaningfully in the collective change effort aligned with our priority SDGs. We have started in this direction through the environmental stewardship pillar of our Sustainable Future strategy.

Our environmental strategy is focused on improving environmental performance in key areas, shown below, and forms the framework for addressing identified priorities in our current organisational and external environment. Our environmental control system covers: policies and procedures, responsibilities and accountabilities for environmental management, reporting, environmental legal compliance, waste, water, energy, pollution, recycling, climate change, continuous improvement and monitoring and performance measurement of systems.

Operational execution of the group environmental strategy developed by the executive committee, and the management of environmental systems, rests with the manufacturing-excellence department. Exposure to sustainability-related risks is assessed at an operational level and the necessary mitigation plans are reviewed on a quarterly basis in the RSC and SETCO, and ultimately reported to the board. At an operational level, the manufacturing units report on environmental indicators, which are collated into an overall scorecard for the purposes of quarterly reporting to the executive committee.

We have seen reductions across all our key environmental metrics this year. The disruption of our operations due to Covid-19 has contributed to these reductions, but our performance nonetheless highlights the positive impact of our Resource Efficiency Cleaner Production (RECP), Energy Management, Industrial Water Efficiency and Zero Waste-to-Landfill programmes. Training is a key part of our drive to continually improve; towards this we have been building the environmental capabilities of our team. Eight employees successfully completed a comprehensive resource-efficiency training programme. The members of our team that have undertaken training to become energy management system experts all passed their exams. And we ran eLearning programmes for facilities management, carbon footprint analysis, water and energy efficiency.

All of our sites that were audited by SGS and SABS this year against ISO 14001, have retained their certification. Due to Covid-19, some of our sites were certified through a remote audit process. Davita, out of the 44 manufacturing units, is our only site which has not delivered the ISO 14001 certification in this fiscal year.

We will significantly reduce our environmental footprint through innovative solutions.

Our key activities to deliver on this commitment, are:

Optimising our energy-use and reducing GHG‑emissions

Since the landmark “Paris Agreement” from the 21st UNFCCC Conference of the Parties (COP) in Paris 2015, climate change has steadily risen to the top, as the chief environmental concern not only for business, but for society as an existential threat to humankind. Over the last two years, the mass protests sparked by 16-year-old Greta Thunberg and disseminated through social media channels, has amplified the climate action agenda and given a voice to generations of youth who will be most affected by the inaction of today’s leaders. These years have also introduced the recommendations of the Taskforce for Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) and seen rising support for this initiative from both companies and an increasingly active body of ESG-concerned investors. The WEF Global Risks Report 2020 places climate-related issues as the top risk facing business and society for likelihood and impact.

It is clear from these contextual patterns that climate change is a significant risk to business, and urgent action is required from companies to lead in spearheading activities to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change. Surprisingly, the break in GHG-emissions reported during the lockdown period has highlighted that significant social change is possible to remarkable effect. Tiger Brands acknowledges that agri-food value chains have a massive climate impact, and that as a large and leading food producer, we are in a position of responsibility to lead on substantive actions. We are committed to significantly reducing our energy use, reducing our GHG-emissions and prioritising the use and development of renewables where possible.

Towards achieving our year-on-year targets of a 7% decrease in energy intensity and a 5% decrease in GHG-emissions, we have implemented energy management system (EnMS) and energy system optimisation (ESO) projects at several of our sites and operations, including at Randfontein Milling, Jacobs Snacks & Treats, Mayonnaise Unit, King Food and Albany Germiston. These systems will help us manage our energy use, reduce costs, aid us in strategic energy planning to improve our energy security, and generally improve our environmental management systems at these sites. We have also appointed external experts to assist us in reducing GHG-emissions at our operations, beyond what we have already achieved through our past and existing initiatives. Through this relationship, several of our operations have initiated resource efficiency cleaner production (RECP) expert programmes, the recommendations of which will help guide us in further reducing our operational GHG-emissions. Inspired by circular economy thinking, we have also targeted the development of energy generation initiatives through the use of renewables and our by-products. This year we have identified Home and Personal Care (HPC) as the trial site for the delivery of a solar project, the Capex for which is under consideration.

Key management interventions this year have included; conducting an internal energy system audit against ISO5001 for our Consumer Home and Personal Care (HPC) Isando site, improving energy demand monitoring at Culinary, and activating an online electricity management system at Snacks & Treats. Energy-efficient installations have included; LED-lighting at Fatti’s & Moni’s, and improved power factor capacitors, compressors and chillers at Snacks-and-Treats. Repairing steam-leaks and air-leaks at our Culinary division, has resulted in GHG-emission reductions of 185 062 and 69 667kg CO2e/yr, respectively.

This year, the company has shown an absolute energy reduction of 5,34% (FY19: 8,5%) and a 5,69% (FY19: 5,0%) decrease in energy intensity (kWh/ton). Our absolute carbon emissions (Scope 1) were down by 4,18% from the previous year (FY19: 6,5%), with a 8,23% reduction in emissions intensity (FY19: 0,215 CO2-e/Ton).

Our emissions calculations include both stationary and mobile combustion, and our figures have been externally verified by Catalyst. The sites which contribute the most to our absolute emissions, include; Culinary Boksburg, King Food, Snacks & Treats and L&AF. Emissions are relatively high at these sites, due to energy intensive production processes that depend on the operation of large boilers (in excess of 10MW).

With the pending carbon tax in South Africa, Tiger Brands has begun using an internal carbon price as a means to track the potential impact of such a tax on our business. If carbon tax had already been implemented, our Scope 1 emissions reported in this period, would have resulted in a carbon tax cost of +R8,9 million with the 60% threshold applied. Due to Covid-19, the carbon tax payment deadline has since been extended to 31 October 2020.

Aligning with the Task Force for Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD)

While working to improve our annual reporting and sustainability disclosure, we have started to look at aligning more closely with the recommendations of the Task Force for Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD). The TCFD takes a different approach to tools like the CDP climate change programme, by aiming to integrate climate-related disclosure within annual financial filings and reports. The intention behind the TCFDs approach is to align climate reporting more closely with a company’s regular reporting practices, towards making it both easier for companies and more digestible (and useful) for investors. The focus is on providing investors with clear, financially relevant and decision-useful information through an internalised mechanism (annual reporting) in which companies are already invested.

At a time when the demands of multiple sustainability reporting frameworks and standards place an excessive burden on companies, and a time when we are looking to concentrate our efforts towards improving our disclosure, we find that aligning with the TCFD approach will help us gain more ground in this arena. We are working on becoming more familiar with the TCFD recommendations, and to communicate our support for the initiative publicly going forward.

Optimising our water consumption

Following the recent water crisis in South Africa and the increased pressure from municipalities in the Western Cape to reduce water consumption, we have since placed extra emphasis on efforts to drive water savings and launched an industrial water efficiency (IWE) programme to improve the performance of our most water-intensive operations. National industrial/commercial water tariffs have increased by 12,2% to 20% this year, with some of our operations in the Western Cape experiencing tariff increases of 38% to 45%. These developments have further motivated us to drive water-use efficiency across our operations.

Towards achieving our target of a 5% reduction in water-use intensity, we have undertaken Industrial Water-Efficiency assessments through the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and installed smart metering systems at our most water-intensive operations. The IWE assessments are to identify, evaluate and recommend the most significant opportunities to conserve water, prevent pollution, and increase productive and efficient water use. Assessments have been finalised at Roodekop Beverages, VAMP Germiston, Boksburg Culinary and S&T Jacobs sites. We are also optimising our water consumption through the evaluation of water reuse opportunities and responsible effluent discharges.

At our Culinary site, we have conducted extensive water mapping, repaired leaks to pumps and cooling towers, and improved hot-water level control in the vegetables section. At our Fatti’s & Moni’s factory, we have installed a system to reclaim and reuse underground water for ablution facilities, and installed a water effluent system to prevent the discharge of suspended solids. At our Candy factory, we have installed dry water vacuum pumps. An effluent plant at our Roodekop site has been installed and tested, while delays have slowed the installation of the effluent treatment plant at our S&T and Jam site. Smart metering has been installed for water and steam systems at our HPC, Mayo, Tomato, S&T, JBF, Albany, L&AF and King Food sites.

This year our absolute water usage was reduced by 8,84% (FY19: 7,2%) and the water intensity (kℓ/ton) was down 5,86% (FY19: 5,4%) from the previous year.

Implementing inclusive circular-economy initiatives

Tiger Brands has begun exploring opportunities to design and implement inclusive circular economy initiatives. A circular approach to designing sustainability initiatives offers the potential to harness synergies and positive outcomes across our strategic initiatives in the pillars of health and nutrition, enhancing livelihoods and environmental stewardship. Currently, our circular-economy focus is on driving waste minimisation, and we see this as a springboard for future initiatives that may capture waste streams and by-products, using them as inputs for innovative new processes or products. These new flows can drive real efficiency gains and open-up new opportunities for value creation internally or externally through expanding the business. National waste management service tariffs have increased by 11% to 13% this year, further incentivising us to drive waste-reduction and circular-economy initiatives.

We have conducted waste-stream mapping and waste-reduction assessments across a number of our operations through our engagement with the resource efficiency cleaner production (RECP) programme. Through the waste stream mapping we have identified and quantified our major waste and effluent streams arising from the production processes and quantified the base volumes and current costs incurred for different waste streams. This year, we implemented zero waste-to-landfill projects in Jam Paarl, L&AF, Culinary Mayonnaise and Jungle. We have improved the structures and management of our waste areas across these sites. At our JBF and Cereals sites, we are now sorting dry-waste and diverting viable waste product for farmers to use as a supplement animal feed. Food pouches formerly landfilled are now being shredded and separated into packaging and composting streams. At our Tastic site, our improvements have resulted in a 74% reduction of waste-to-landfill from the previous year.

Towards achieving our target to commit to a food-waste reduction programme, we have begun working in partnership through the Consumer Goods Council of South Africa (CGCSA). Together with industry peers, and with the support of the World Resource Institute (WRI), we have been working through the CGCSA to set-up a voluntary industry food-waste reduction framework for South Africa. This work is in progress, with a baseline for the programme to be set in 2022. With the support of our CSI department, a consistent part of our food waste minimisation strategy is to make regular donations of near-expiry food to vulnerable communities. This year, we have increased these donations in partnership with Food Forward SA, as part of our community response to Covid-19 (see here).

We have seen an evident decrease in our waste figures this year, driven by our RECP programme and the zero waste-to-landfill initiatives. Our waste intensity (per ton of products produced) improved further from 0,021 in FY19, to 0,018 in FY20.

Towards achieving our target to set-up one by-product beneficiation initiative, we have experienced some challenges, but have kicked-off work with university partners on the use of by-products from oats and maize, as inputs for nutritional products for human consumption. From an inclusivity perspective, we have engaged the National Cleaner Production Centre South Africa (NCPCSA) to help us identify suitable SME partners for industrial symbiosis projects.

Providing innovative packaging solutions

Packaging plays a vital role in delivering products to our consumers in a manner that preserves the integrity of the product, promoting convenience, and protecting health and safety. Along with the spotlight on climate change and water security, there has been rising concern globally and locally around the extensive use of plastic packaging and single-use plastic items. With huge volumes of macro- and micro-plastics entering our waterways and oceans each year, ocean plastics has taken centre-stage, but there is also considerable concern regarding the impact of plastics-use on human health, wildlife, waste-landfill-volumes and GHG-emissions.

In recent years, the cost of raw materials has escalated significantly, with a direct impact on the packaging costs. This has required more efficient and sustainable packaging management. The extraction, location and processing of packaging can also contribute significantly to carbon emissions and the overall environmental impact of a product through its lifecycle. Where possible, for example by light-weighting our packaging, we are able to significantly reduce carbon emissions and costs throughout the manufacturing and transportation value chain.

Tiger Brands supports the strategy of reduce-reuse-recycle when it comes to our packaging principles, and we have begun to prioritise a circular-economy design approach to developing packaging solutions for new products and in the renovation of old. One key challenge we do face, is that recycled material are currently more expensive than virgin materials, so in looking for alternative cheaper alternatives, means we need to source materials from outside South Africa, for example in Uganda, and this can lead to unforeseen challenges arising for our procurement team.

Towards achieving our target to set-up Tiger Brands’ recycling hubs, we are working together with Oxfam to establish a plastics recycling plant in Gauteng for processing recovered PET, from which we can source material. This initiative will enable us to pursue further sustainable packaging goals, and we are currently exploring a funding model for this initiative through our ESD team.

Towards achieving our target to complete a baseline-assessment of our packaging footprint, we are 80% complete, needing to work further with the Design4Earth tool to assist us in correctly calculating our tonnages. We have identified non-recyclable items across all our categories and conducted a packaging sustainability gap-analysis to identify various packaging improvement opportunities. Based on this analysis, we understand where our gaps are and are now developing strategies to close them. To ensure we remain competitive in our market, the design of these strategies are also informed by global packaging trends for convenience, snackification, health and nutrition.

Our development of solutions has made good progress this year, and we will soon be introducing alternative packaging solutions for some of our most popular brands. Our recent packaging initiatives include:

Tiger Brands’ position on responding to the plastics challenge

Tiger Brands has published a position paper outlining the company’s position and commitment to addressing plastic waste. The position paper acknowledges our scale as a key producer of packaged foods in Southern Africa, the large presence of plastic packaging in our value chain and the terrible impact of plastics on the environment, for which we carry shared responsibility. The intent, focus areas, targets and actions described in the position paper are formulated and implemented as part of our group sustainability strategy. As part of our response to the plastics challenge, we have committed to achieving the targets outlined in the SA Plastics Pact, launched on 30 January 2020. The SA Plastic Pact aims to transform the country’s plastic packaging sector by 2025 through achieving targets, such as taking action on problematic or unnecessary plastic packaging through redesign, innovation or alternative delivery models. As a result, we have embraced innovation to respond to the plastic challenge.

Our ambition is for 100% of our packaging to be recyclable by design by 2030.

To achieve this ambition, we commit to the following:

Developing innovative product and offerings

Towards our target to begin to reformulate our products to be more environmentally friendly, we are in-progress, drawing on the findings from our lifecycle assessments (LCAs) to define the scope of work required. We have solutions in the pipeline, but await the evaluation of these solutions by our Brands, in terms of cost and other factors, before we begin implementation.

Leveraging our brand and marketing to inspire positive behaviour change

Driving positive behavioural change has a critical role to play in addressing the challenge of plastics pollution. At its end-of-life phase, plastic is too valuable a resource to be thrown away and should not be landfilled and not littered. In South Africa, where there is a viable market for plastics recycling, we are reviewing how we can most effectively use our marketing and labelling to encourage effective recycling.

As brand owners, we are raising awareness among consumers through effective communication on our labelling. Towards achieving our target to formulate a policy for on-pack information and declarations relating to the environmental impact of our products, we have successfully activated this policy and it now guides our actions. We have adopted an on-pack recycling labelling standard practice, which easily informs consumers of what is recyclable and what is not.

We are also engaging with the government to incentivise plastic waste pickers and waste collectors, as well as educating our employees to sort at source to reduce complexity down the value chain of recycling.

Tiger Brands pledges support to the SA Plastics Pact

Tiger Brands is proud to report on our commitment to the South African Plastics Pact. As a founding member of the initiative, Tiger Brands participated in the launch of the SA Plastics Pact with fellow founding members and industry peers on 30 January 2020. Modelled on the UK Plastics Pact, but tailored to the South African context, the SA Plastics Pact was developed by the World-Wide Fund for Nature (WWF-SA) in partnership with the South African Plastics Recycling Organisation (SAPRO) and the UK’s Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP). South Africa now joins France, UK, Netherlands and Chile in The Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Plastics Pact global network, which foregrounds a shared vision for a New Plastics Economy (https://www.newplasticseconomy.org/).

As a founding member of the SA Plastics Pact, Tiger Brands commits to following the SA Plastics Pact 2025 Roadmap for collective action, with annual public progress reporting against the achievement of agreed 2025 targets.

By 2025, all members commit to: