Ontario food manufacturers will soon have a new tool available to them when it comes to developing and growing long-term sustainability programs.
The new project, called “Raising the Bar for Sustainability Performance in Ontario’s Food and Beverage Processing Sector,” was announced by the Food and Consumer Products of Canada (FCPC), the Guelph Food Technology Centre (GFTC) and the Ontario Centre for Environmental Technology Advancement (OCETA).
The program will help primarily small and medium-size companies integrate environmentally sustainable business practices into their operations. “The food and beverage sector has long been focused on environmental sustainability and there are already many examples of world-class environmental practices in place,” says Derek Nighbor, senior vice-president of Public Affairs for the FCPC. “This program will be an excellent resource and a real boost to small and mid-sized companies who may not have the resources that have enabled larger food and beverage manufacturers to improve their environmental performance.”
The program will be implemented in three phases over three years. These will include benchmarking sustainable performance of leading global food and beverage companies to develop a “how to” framework guide; pilot testing of the framework and tools developed with Ontario companies; and the transfer of the pilot program platform across the entire industry in Ontario. It’s hoped that the framework developed will not only improve sustainability performance, but will also give companies a competitive edge.
Funding for the first phase of the project comes from the Food and Beverage Industry Innovation Fund by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Advancing Canadian Agriculture and Agri-Food Program, and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs through the Alliance of Ontario Food Processors. Other organizations providing funding support and resources include the Ontario Power Authority through the Conservation Fund, and the City of Toronto, Economic Development, Culture and Tourism Department.