UK based biogas firm GENeco has penned a deal with international consumer good manufacturer, Unilever, which has committed to use biomethane at five of its sites in the UK and Ireland.
GENeco said that the deal will see Unilever’s offices in Leatherhead, Surrey and 100 Victoria Embankment, London, as well as its food and drink factories in Norwich, Trafford Park and Cork, use 10,000 MWh of biomethane for heating, significantly reducing carbon emissions.
The agreement comes one year after Unilever announced its ambition to become carbon positive by 2030, and means that Unilever has become carbon neutral (from an energy perspective) at these five sites.
The biomethane – which is fully traceable and certified – is generated by GENeco’s anaerobic digestion facility in Bristol, which converts inedible food waste and sewage into energy.
According to GENeco the new contract supports the overarching work that Unilever has already undertaken in cutting its greenhouse gas emissions: since the launch of the Sustainable Living Plan in 2010, the global fast moving consumer goods company has cut its manufacturing greenhouse gas footprint by 39% per tonne of production since 2008 – the equivalent of one million tonnes of CO2 per annum.
Sarah Newbitt, VP Supply Chain, Unilever UK & Ireland, said, “One year ago, as world leaders came together for COP21 (the United Nations Climate Change Conference), for the first time Unilever made a time-bound commitment to making our sites carbon positive by 2030. This is a highly ambitious and stretching target which requires us to take small steps and look at all of our sites through a fresh, sustainability lens.
“However, we need to continue to go further and we hope to be able to build on this great foundation and eventually use the waste from our own operations as feed stock to truly support a circular economy,” she continued.
GENeco added that it has been carbon neutral and zero waste to landfill in its operations since 2013. Biomethane generated at its Bristol site is produced from household food and sewage waste; from here it can be injected into the national gas grid to power thousands of local homes, or used as a vehicle fuel.
“This deal marks a significant step change in the decarbonisation of UK industry and we are very pleased to be working with Unilever to help in their aims to become carbon positive,” commented GENeco managing director Mohammed Saddiq.
“We believe that in order for the UK to meet the 2020 targets as defined in the Renewable Energy Directive, there will need to be an increasing role for biomethane in the UK’s heat networks,” he concluded.
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