Environmental innovation is winning formula for Scottish firms

Farne Salmon is one of the largest smoked salmon facilities in Europe and the largest private employer in the Scottish Borders, with more than 700 staff at its Duns site.
Picture: Farne SalmonPicture: Farne Salmon
Picture: Farne Salmon

The company produces smoked salmon and other luxury convenience foods and supplies customers on the UK high street, Europe and further afield.

Farne aims to be an exemplar in good environmental practice and since 2014, has cut the volume of water needed to make one tonne of product by 40%. Food waste has fallen by about a fifth over the same period as Farne has wasted less and used more of each fish it processes.

“We built recycling yards in 2014 and now separate more than 75% of our waste on site,” adds Angus Forbes, Farne’s Environment and Projects Manager. “This is then sent for recycling. In 2018, we achieved our goal of ‘Zero to Landfill’. Waste is now a source of revenue rather than a cost to the business.”

Looking ahead, Farne has set targets to make all its packaging easily recyclable by 2023, and is signing up to WRAP UK’s ‘Food Waste Reduction Roadmap,’ with the aim of halving on-site food waste by 2030.

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Record number of entries for 2019 VIBES environment awards

Farne won the Large Management category at the 2016 VIBES Awards.

Since they were established in 1999 the VIBES Awards, have recognised more than 150 businesses in Scotland that are taking significant steps to improve or reduce their impact on the environment, typically making significant financial savings in the process.

Another Best of VIBES contender is Emtelle, a leading global manufacturer of blown fibre, cabling and ducted solutions for a range of sectors, including telecommunications and power.

Based in Hawick and Jedburgh in the Scottish Borders, it employs around 250 people in the UK and has supplied many sectors including rail, fibre optic broadband / fibre to the home (rural and urban), highways, power utilities and international communications providers.

“Achieving and going beyond environmental compliance is core to the company, which has a 10-year sustainability plan called PLANET – standing for ‘Plan Emtelle Tomorrow’,” explains Emtelle Health, Safety and Environmental (HSE) Manager John Bathgate.

“This sets out the organisation’s goals in resource and energy efficiency, waste reduction and people development, and has seen the company reduce its carbon footprint per product by 39% since 2012.”

Other sustainability milestones have included reducing waste per product by 3% and increasing recycling rates by 10%. Ink and solvent use have been reduced by 45% and at least 95% of the company’s packaging is recycled or from a sustainable resource.

Emtelle has been a VIBES winner three times, in 2004, 2007 and 2015.

The Best of VIBES winner will be chosen by public vote.