Our number one priority is to make sure our products get to you safely, tasting great and in a way that causes as little harm to the environment as possible. We also want to behave as a responsible business in general and are constantly looking for new ways to look after our people, our community and those who need our help. Sustainability issues are often complicated and require careful thought and planning so that in trying to fix one issue we don’t make another worse.
The Soreen Bakery has been baking deliciously squidgy loaves for over 80 years, and we’re still constantly learning of new ways to become a better business. We’re on a journey and along the way we’ve had to tweak things to ensure they fit within our high sustainability standards and adopting new advances in sustainable techniques and working. Although we’re not perfect yet, we’re well on the way with our journey to a sustainable future and have made progress in many different areas!
We’ve outlined some of the great improvements made so you can see the efforts carried out behind the scenes, or in our case, The Bakery…
Packaging is one of our top priorities. However, it is also one of the most complex areas to achieve sustainability.
For example, even if a product uses ‘recyclable’ packaging, it may use more energy to manufacture than a ‘non-recyclable’ pack. Recyclability is one of many contributing factors to the overall sustainability of a piece of packaging.
As well as understanding contributors such as energy outputs (for example carbon efficiencies), considerations have to be made as to whether a recyclable material would have an impact on the shelf life of a food product. Many recyclable options reduce the shelf life of products and can therefore contribute to increased food waste.
These are just some of the factors that need to be considered and balanced when looking for the best packaging solution possible.
Whilst some of our packaging can be recycled, currently not all our packaging is outlined as being recyclable. This isn’t because it can’t technically be recycled, but because the majority of councils don’t currently collect it and it therefore can’t be recycled in your normal household recycling waste (to find out where you can recycle your Soreen packaging in your local area click here). Changing this is a key focus, and we are trying to do this in a number of ways, for example we’re:
Currently looking at ways to reduce our use of packaging material whilst trialling alternative packaging solutions.
Working with WRAP (www.wrap.org.uk/) as part of the UK Plastics Pact to lobby for wider recycling by councils.
Working with our suppliers to find a packaging solution that’s fit and safe to contain our products, without increasing food waste.
Until we’ve found a solution that we feel is truly sustainable and balances the many variables involved, we’ve taken the following steps to ensure that the packaging we do use is as environmentally friendly as possible:
Removed the plastic tray from our Lunchbox Loaves and replaced it with a recyclable cardboard tray, reducing the plastic used for Lunchbox Loaves by 30%.
We’re improving the labelling on our packaging to give a clearer indication of what is and is not recyclable via various recycling streams. We’ve become members of the ‘On Pack Recycling Label Scheme’ (OPRL) www.oprl.org.uk and have now included a link to this page on all of our products to help you be more informed about the efforts we’re making to become sustainable.
We’re members of ‘The UK Plastics Pact’. https://www.wrap.org.uk/content/the-uk-plastics-pact
We’ve set a target of using 100% recyclable film to wrap our products by 2025. This is set out in ‘The UK Plastics Pact’.
We’re aiming to reduce the thickness of our plastic film used to wrap our products by 25%.
Through the creation of a documented Environmental Management System (EMS), we have achieved significant reductions in the amount of electricity and gas that we use and generate through our activities at Soreen. In addition to this we have reduced our waste by an average of 59% so far during 2020.
These reductions were achieved through the following initiatives:
A thorough assessment of our impacts and effects on the environment
Implemented process control measures, improved employee awareness and improved waste streams.
Setting of Key Performance Indicators for our environmental impact areas.
Completion of energy audits which comply with the governments Energy Savings Opportunities scheme (ESOS).
Implementation of a utilities monitoring and targeting tool called Carbon Desktop (www.carbondesktop.com/), which tracks our usage and shows us where we can make improvements.
We believe that the health and wellbeing of our employees is key to organisational success and sustainability. We provide the below functions, to promote and maintain the health and wellbeing of all our colleagues.
Cycle 2 Work scheme
Confidential wellbeing room
Skill development and courses for improved career prospects
Mental Health Champions
We’re active members of the community and help out where we can. From donating food to hospitals, to helping fuel school sports days we’re constantly looking to do the right thing for our community. We’ve listed a few of our recent efforts below:
We donate short dated stock to local initiatives that seek to improve the health welfare of the community and ultimately improved peoples' quality of life.
We donate product to ‘The Bread and Butter Thing’ (TBBT) https://breadandbutterthing.org/ - A Manchester based charity that makes life more affordable for people on a low income.
We donate product to ‘FareShare’ https://fareshare.org.uk/ – A nation-wide food donation programme, who work with local charities to feed vulnerable people.
We donate thousands of products each year to sporting and charity events around the country.
We’re delighted to provide products to the NSPCC to keep up the energy of their dedicated Childline and helpline staff and volunteers to help them be here for children.
Here at Soreen we only use Roundtable On Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certified palm oil (https://www.rspo.org/ ). The RSPO has a production standard for palm oil which sets global best practice. This means that the palm oil that we use is traceable back to palm oil plantations who commit to not clearing valuable forests in order to grow their palm oil crop.
At Soreen, we follow the guidance of bodies like the WWF (World Wildlife Fund for Nature) to ensure we’re acting as responsibly as possible. To learn more about what the WWF believe the right practices are concerning palm oil, visit: https://www.wwf.org.uk/updates/8-things-know-about-palm-oil
Our membership of RSPO comes under “Samworth Brothers” (Gibbs Croft). You can find out more about this accreditation by visiting the RSPO website.