In a world where the challenges of sustainability and food security are increasingly critical, Patrick Stillhart, the CEO of SADAFCO, gives an inside look at how his organisation is playing a pivotal role in addressing these concerns.
From leveraging solar energy to promote eco-friendly operations to pioneering innovations in food production and waste reduction, Stillhart reveals how SADAFCO is aligning with global and national sustainability goals while ensuring the Kingdom’s food security.
What’s the sustainability strategy of Sadafco? Challenges and opportunities? What are your priorities?
The sustainability strategy of SADAFCO has been aligned with the Sustainable Developments Goals (SDGs) laid out by the United Nations, the Saudi Vision 2030 and the National Transformation Plan.
There is a mix of risk and opportunity in the business on account of sustainability aspects. Our strategy is to capitalise on the possibilities offered to us while minimising risk to the greatest extent possible. The solar panel project is an example of our attempt to capitalise on the untapped solar potential in Saudi Arabia. At our factories, we optimise water consumption and reduce freshwater usage by using recycled water in non-fresh water-requiring applications such as boilers, cooling, and so on.
We strive towards adding value to every stakeholder, where consumers always remain central to us. We want to ensure that we continue to create nutritious, sustainable, delicious and appealing products for our consumers. We also want to be certain that we meet the needs of Saudi Arabia’s large young population. Creating healthy habits and sustainable practices must start early.
How is Sadafco contributing to the food security of the Kingdom?
SADAFCO offers breakfast table essentials that are natural parts of the morning for all members of the family. Our organisational philosophy is driven by innovation in products. Constant product innovation is essential not only for the sustainability of business but also to enhance the well-being of society at large. This philosophy translates into a series of new product development initiatives as well as innovations in product and process improvement stages.
We supply more than 300 million liters of milk per year, we currently have one of the largest distribution networks in Saudi Arabia through 20 sales distribution centers that reaches more than 40 cities around the kingdom. We have changed how we operate with the majority of our manufacturing units are based here inside in Saudi Arabia to ensure we remain self-sufficient for a number of food stuff within Saudi Arabia. Local manufacturing now takes priority in most of our initiatives for instance, French fries is our most recent example where in the last 6 months we have sourced that from locally grown potatoes. Our role toward food security system to maintain supply stability of the dairy and essential food items. will always be there with all measures taken to ensure the continuity of supply without interruptions.
Logistics remains a major challenge to reduce carbon footprint. Are you considering any eco-friendly transportation methods being hybrid or electric or?
We started with implementing sustainable initiatives such as Green Box, Smart Electronic Fueling System and Solar Panels. By 2020, it became a company-wide effort to reduce carbon footprint and food wastage and optimise energy and water consumption.
In 2019, the Dammam factory received the GreenBox Contribution Certificate from InfoFort, a testament to the ongoing efforts and achievements in driving sustainable practices. It also means that our new packaging has a much lower impact on climate change
A significant portion of our current efforts is focused on greening our fleets and operations. With our unique locational advantage of the high sunshine all around the year, we have been using solar energy in some of our operations and renewable power sources at our factories and warehouses. Our current initiatives and targets include:
- Identify all possible energy efficiency improvement areas in operations & processes; Implement digital factory program.
- Attempt to reach 100% usage of solar power generated at Jeddah Central Warehouse (JCW) by 2024.
- Developing a robust GHG emission inventory to track the progress of our product’s GHG intensity.
To this end, we have setup a photovoltaic (PV) system at our Riyadh Distribution Centre (RDC) and a rooftop solar project at Jeddah Central Warehouse (JCW). These systems are uniquely designed to operate in our local high dust conditions. We have successfully started up a photovoltaic system capable of supplying up to 40% of Riyad RDC’s daytime energy needs. The project generates 226KW of power, using thin-film photovoltaic modules purchased from First Solar Inc.
Any eco – cooling & On-site renewable energy projects?
We believe that there should be an efficient use of energy and shift towards renewable energy sources as it is essential for combating climate change. We have setup a photovoltaic (PV) system at our Riyadh Distribution Centre (RDC) and a rooftop solar project at Jeddah Central Warehouse (JCW). These systems are uniquely designed to operate in our local high dust conditions. Our aim is to reach 100% usage of solar power generated at Jeddah Central Warehouse (JCW) by 2024.
The region witnesses the world’s highest food waste. How is Sadafco contributing to reducing that?
SADAFCO conducts an annual school program educated more than 1 million children on healthy eating, nutrition, caring for the environment and wastage falls within that. By the end of each annual cycle One million children in primary schools across Saudi Arabia are nutritionally more aware, engaged and interested not only in their own health and wellbeing but also that of the planet’s. The learn about their own nutritional needs and how to meet those in simple child friendly modes. Additionally, our environment focused content educates children on climate change, recycling, how to help protect the environment through engaging activities delivering child friendly edutainment.