Nestled in the forest of Northcliffe Western Australia is a small family owned dairy company with a goal that is as big as the giant Karri trees that surround them – to be the global leader in ethical dairy farming. Since Bannister Downs began processing and selling their own milk they have been known for their use of sustainable packaging. Now they plan to do so much more, and this time, over the whole supply chain. We were invited down to the farm by Sue and Mat to help them to achieve their ambitious sustainability goals. You may be wondering where on earth would you start? Our stepwise approach breaks it down into four achievable stages.

Step 1 – Map
After working on the carbon footprint study for Dairy Australia we gained a thorough understanding of every aspect of the dairy supply chain so this part was easy.

Step 2 – Measure
Before diving into a full life cycle assessment study (which includes a wide range of environmental impacts) it often is wise to start by assessing the carbon footprint first. For Sue and Mat, we first calculated their carbon footprint from ‘paddock to dairy parlour’. Once we had a measure on their existing performance we could investigate the next step.

Step 3 – Manage
Over the years Sue and her team developed a list of potential solutions and they were excited to investigate those first. These included the use of solar and even manure power to provide their electricity and hot water. Throughout this exercise one opportunity stood out – a solar system for the Perth depot. To demonstrate the savings this could achieve we conducted a detailed  solar assessment of the site. Our assessment analysed their electricity consumption, calculated how much a solar system could contribute, and determined the financial returns on their investment. We then helped Sue to filter through the quotes she received and within a matter of weeks had a 40kW solar system installed on the roof. This solar system provides almost half of the electricity for the depot and provides a significant financial return at the same time. Sue and Mat’s vision of a vertically integrated dairy company now included generating their own electricity too. This brings us to our last step in the process.

Step 4 – Monitor
To monitor your carbon footprint you would focus on key indicators that were identified through the analysis of the supply chain. For monitoring of the solar system, it literally meant having a live monitoring system installed so that Sue could see how it is performing in real time.

The combined passion, energy, and commitment that Sue and Mat have for sustainability has made them an absolute pleasure to work with. I can’t wait to share with you what we will be doing next! Are you just as passionate as Sue and Mat about the sustainability of your organisation? If so, I’d love discuss how we can help you to achieve your ambitious sustainability goals.