Responsible Product/Service Award: ABP Food Group

ABP is one of one of Northern Ireland’s leading agri-business companies and is part of ABP Food Group. The company specialises in in the processing of beef and lamb and has production facilities located in Newry and Lurgan.

Background

ABP employs 650 people and works with over 5000 farm families across Northern Ireland. The company supplies its products to many of Britain’s leading retailers and food service providers.

ABP is a fully integrated agri-business. This means that its main business function – the processing of beef – is supported by three tangential businesses: a pet foods division, a renewables division and a proteins division. This unique structure ensures that ABP’s products are processed in the most sustainable manner possible with no waste. All the by-products from beef processing are fully utilised across all the other divisions, 100% by-product recovery.

What ABP did

At the Northern Irish sites of Lurgan and Newry, bovine bones are converted into gel-bone chips through ABP’s Proteins Division. These ‘chips’ are used in the pharmaceutical and cosmetic sectors. In the Renewables Division, Olleco takes the waste fats and oils and converts them into bio-fuel while other animal waste is utilised in the ABP Group’s pet food business, C&D Foods.

ABP has long recognised that its own operations only constitute one part of the supply chain. As such, it has ensured its sustainability strategy extends to sustainable production from farm level through to the end consumer. On farms across Northern Ireland, ABP is working in close collaboration with agricultural advisory institutions such as CAFRE, as well as with local farmers with a view to improving technical efficiency within the farm gate and ultimately improving returns through the Northern Ireland Better Beef Programme. This initiative has identified key drivers of on-farm profitability which, if improved upon, can transform the profitability of a farm business. ABP is also working as a member of the Agri-Food Quest Competence Centre (AFQCC) research community and delivering R&D partnership programmes in conjunction with other companies to strengthen the international profile of the Northern Ireland agri-food sector.

In 2017, alongside with Queen’s University, ABP was selected to be part of EIT Food, a pan-European food partnership. The partnership includes collaboration between many of Europe’s leading businesses and research institutions with a view to changing how we produce, deliver, consume and recycle our food. The objective is to create a future-proofed and effective food sector which supports a sustainable, circular bio-economy in Northern Ireland and beyond.

Impacts and Outcomes

  • Since 2008, saved £25 million across all operations with savings of £1.5 million in Northern Ireland. CO2 emissions for ABP in Northern Ireland reduced by 37%
  • 58% less water than 2008, equivalent to the volume of 671 Olympic size swimming pools
  • Improved efficiency in the waste water by 30%, saving £10,000
  • Founding member of the UK Plastics Pact and the Plastics Action Alliance in Ireland.
  • Uses skin-pack packaging on a cardboard base, making it 70% more recyclable.
  • The food waste ABP collects annually from McDonald’s restaurants generates 6,344MW of electricity. By using ABP biodiesel, McDonald’s reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 15,931 tonnes in CO²e during 2017.
  • Blade Farming has had a hugely positive impact across the supply chain and for the environment. The benefits include: Better use of farm resources; Market volatility management; and Attracting young farmers
  • Olleco has achieved the highest level of sustainability accreditation (ISCC –DE) and uses ISO 14064 to ensure that its GHG emission saving consistently bring over 95% savings versus fossil fuels.

For more information, please email seamus.banim@abpfoodgroup.com