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Green Moves at Americold: The Energy Factor

Special for Food Logistics Magazine

Americold, the global leader in temperature controlled warehousing and logistics to the food industry, is proud to once again be named one of the Top Green Providers by Food Logistics Magazine. Recognizing sustainability in the global supply chain, this recognition reaffirms the commitment of Americold to have a positive environmental impact by lowering energy consumption in its warehouse operations, reducing the carbon footprint in its transportation network, and increasing its use of recyclable materials.   

“A major component of our Operational Excellence platform at Americold is rooted in a passion to eliminate waste in all facets of the supply chain.   Sustainability and our commitment to carbon footprint reduction align our core goals of driving efficiencies that benefit our employees, customers, shareholders, and communities around us.” said Keith Goldsmith, Chief Commercial Officer at Americold.  “Our green strategy is focused on exceeding industry standards to help drive a more sustainable and energy-efficient supply chain.”

Green Moves at Americold: The Energy Factor

Americold operates more than 175 facilities worldwide and each and every facility has a commitment to environmental sustainability governed by its corporate sustainability standards.   Initiatives at the Company, in place since 2007, have reduced the consumption of natural resources, eliminated waste, lowered carbon emissions, and most meaningfully, the Company’s reduction of energy consumption by 60 million pounds of CO2.  

To illustrate, one best practice at Americold is the real-time monitoring of energy consumption at its facilities.  In 2011, the Company established a strategic partnership with an industrial energy efficiency consulting firm with the end goal of reducing energy use and related costs in Americold’s cold storage facilities.  Through this partnership, Americold warehouses are not only increasing capacity and efficiencies, but also passing along the benefits of these operational improvements to its customers. 

“The largest impact our Company has on the environment relates to our energy consumption,” said Ted Royals, Manager of Energy at Americold.  “We are taking steps to reduce energy consumption in our warehouses with the goal of an incremental 16 million kilowatt hours (kWh) per year after reducing 36 million KWH already through 2013.   ”At Americold we continue to challenge and rethink energy to make it cleaner, better, and more efficient.”

In addition, Americold is investing in sustainable buildings and practices to save energy and driving environmentally sound design and construction techniques.  The Company’s Gloucester, Massachusetts facility, for example, operates partially on solar power – courtesy of solar panels installed on the roof of the building that allow for less reliance on fossil fuels for daily operation. These solar panels are helping reduce the carbon footprint and the need for fossil fuels by contributing 500,000 kWh per year to its goal replacing it with clean, renewable energy. Other Americold facilities, such as the Salinas, CA location, are powered by a natural gas fuel cell that converts natural gas to clean energy. This fuel cell produces approximately 600,000 kWh of power per year, reducing the carbon footprint at Salinas by 1 million carbon pounds – enough to power 3,600 homes for one year.

What’s more, since 2001, Americold has converted 31 of its facilities to LED (light-emitting diode) lighting. Because LED lighting uses less electricity than more traditional incandescent and fluorescent lighting, Americold has saved an average of 10 million kWh per year, all while providing better lit and more functional workspaces for its employees.  And, in an effort to reduce waste, each Americold facility is responsible for implementing recycling programs to ensure that waste materials are either recycled or properly disposed. 

Sustainability at Every Turn

Americold transports some of the world’s largest brand names, handling everything from raw materials to processed foods to direct store delivery.   By extension, the Company’s sustainable transportation practices help provide nutrition to the world while protecting the environment. As part of its environmental strategy, Americold partners with carriers that are SMARTWAY participants. SMARTWAY is a US Environmental Protection Agency program that aims to accelerate the availability, adoption and market penetration of advanced fuel efficient technologies and operational practices in the freight supply chain, while helping companies save fuel, lower costs and reduce adverse environmental impacts.  

Sustainability measures at Americold don’t stop at warehouse operations and transportation best practices. “To further the positive impact on the environment in the supply chain, we give our customers the option to ‘go green’ by receiving warehouse receipts and other documents electronically,” said Thomas Musgrave, Chief Information Officer at Americold. Through the use of technology and electronic documentation, the Company saves a large amount of paper each year that help improve air quality in its communities.

Further, as part of its technology offerings through i3pl, Enview and other tools, Americold gives its customers the option to maintain a green relationship with their products, allowing customers to control the flow of their products online as well as govern the size, weight, and frequency of their shipments.  In essence, the Americold technology platform encourages customers to ship smarter and greener in an effort to help reduce waste and emissions of greenhouse gases through transportation of goods.

“As part of our green strategy, the Americold team works together to analyze every part of the supply chain – ensuring that our operations serve to make our customers successful and enhance the health of our planet, the health of our people, and the future of the global market.  We are invigorated by the success of our green programs, and thank our customers and partners in the supply chain community who have helped us achieve this honor and more importantly, helped our global community,” said Goldsmith.

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