Energy consumption is one of the main focus areas in our strategy to reduce our impact on climate change. We therefore follow a structured approach in selecting energy efficiency and generation initiatives by keeping track of projects at the various operations, sharing information on efficiency projects, and cross-communicating results and synergies on a Group basis.


The past year has seen a continued focus on electricity measurement, management and implementation of consumption reduction and optimisation projects throughout the Group. Our total electrical energy consumption has decreased by 6,0% year-on-year, mainly due to optimisation of production facilities, including the consolidation of facilities such as distribution centres, farms and production facilities, as well as an increase in co-generation efficiency.

During the financial year, various energy efficiency improvement projects were investigated and/or implemented at most facilities. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Foodcorp – Production consolidation and closure of the Pieman's distribution centre.
  • Rainbow – Variable speed drives on large pumps and fans, additional conversion of LED lights at farms.
  • TSB – Additional renewable electricity from residual biomass.
  • Vector – Energy efficient refrigeration controlled warehouses.

Through co-generation at our sugar mills, 37,7 million kilowatt hours of electricity were exported to the Eskom grid in addition to the 186,1 million kilowatt hours generated and used internally. Electricity produced through co-generation was increased by 10,0% through improved efficiencies and up-time.


Coal use for steam generation at processing plants, poultry farms, feed and sugar mills remains a high focus area and good boiler management practices are in place at every operation. Coal-to-steam conversion, condensate return, make-up water and managed chemical consumption are monitored performance areas. Annual boiler inspections ensure safe and efficient operation of equipment.

At Foodcorp, sunflower husk used at the Randfontein site in 2015 was 20 315 tons versus coal usage of 7 619 tons in the same period. Total coal usage in all the divisions of Foodcorp was 12 148 tons.

Rainbow’s coal consumption has increased from 0,18 ton of coal per ton of chicken produced to 0,19 ton following the switch over of additional poultry houses from LPG heating to coal-fired heating. Training of farm managers on operating procedures of newly-installed heating equipment continues and efficiencies are improving. Alternative, renewable sources of fuel, such as wood chips – a waste product from the forestry industry – are being used as and when available.

During the 2014 financial year, TSB installed additional filter area in the Malelane refinery to filter carbonated melt. The additional filters allow the refinery to operate at improved efficiencies and produce high quality sugar. Operating at a higher solids concentration resulted in better utilisation and this has had significant benefit in reducing the coal demand of the factory by about 3 900 tons per year. The company also installed new clear juice heaters at the Komati mill. Besides throughput benefits, the heating of cane juice prior to evaporation leads to a positive improvement in the factory steam system. This results in the factory being able to operate at higher solids concentration in the syrup and release bagasse to displace coal as boiler fuel. The heaters will save the equivalent of 3 200 tons of coal annually. The full impact of these upgrades was evident in the 2015 results: TSB’s coal consumption reduced by 9,25%.


Consumption of diesel increased during the last financial period by 28,0% due to the inclusion of a full year of TSB’s consumption.

Vector’s consumption decreased by 4,2% and overall litres per ton delivered reduced from 13,5 to 12,4 year-on-year. Improved load efficiencies and increased utilisation of “back legs” were instrumental in the improvement.


Water management, conservation and optimisation have been a focus area for the Group and its divisions for many years. Programmes and technologies such as water committees, team member education, re-use systems, reservoir systems, quality inspections and waste water treatment systems have been employed to minimise the impact on this scarce natural resource. We believe our first priority is to ensure food safety and the wholesomeness of our products, and we understand the critical role that water plays in ensuring cleanliness of facilities. We also recognise the balance between protecting product quality for the sake of the consumer and conserving a natural resource that we share with the communities where we operate.

At Foodcorp, water is one of the key ingredients. Good quality water is needed in large amounts to ensure that quality products are produced. Council infrastructures are very old, which leaves the manufacturing plants vulnerable. Water is analysed annually at all the factories as per SANS 241 standard and precautions are being taken to secure good quality water supply to every factory. Initiatives such as boreholes and holding tanks have been implemented.

Poor water quality and water shortages are significant potential risks to the business. Rainbow has mitigated the risk of water shortages by building additional reservoirs to hold capacity in times of shortage, and is looking at ways of reducing the demand for water in rearing the parent stock, broiler birds and in the slaughtering process. With significant water usage, water effluent needs to be managed and every effort is made to recycle effluent water. Measuring wastage enables early detection of system defects that can be rectified to minimise potential losses and impact on the environment.

TSB continues to participate in water use management and is actively involved in various catchment-wide initiatives. The intent is to ensure all water use is effectively measured and consequently managed. The mills remain water positive and there is active involvement in Irrigation Boards and Catchment/River Management Forums to ensure water use throughout the catchment is effectively managed for farming operations and all downstream water users. The Inkomati Catchment Management Agency and Department of Water Affairs have been approached to assist and formalise all water related agreements and licensing with scheduled quarterly site inspections and meetings.


The Group analyses all types of waste material generated. Options for possible re-use and disposal are assessed to ensure that waste is used or disposed of in the most environmentally friendly way.

RCL FOODS ensures that waste generated is carefully managed in its operations and at licensed waste disposal facilities in accordance with legislative requirements. The waste management hierarchy is applied to ensure that waste generated in its operations is disposed of with the least possible environmental impact. Rainbow uses the following recycled products from other suppliers in its processes:

  • wood shavings as bedding for the chicken houses;
  • recycled paper in the outer carton packaging of the finished product; and
  • recycled plastic in the manufacture of plastic catching crates.

Foodcorp uses residual sunflower husks and other biomass to co-fuel boilers and reduce carbon emissions from fossil fuel as well as waste to landfill. Some 20 315 tons of sunflower husk were used to replace coal at the Randfontein site in the current year.

TSB operates two licensed landfill sites for hazardous and general waste respectively. Annual independent compliance audits raised no major findings. There are numerous recycling initiatives at all sites and operations and volumes have been recorded at the Malelane mill recycling station. The objective for the current financial year is for all recycling initiatives to be identified and measurement improved to allow setting of targets to assess continual improvement in the reduction of waste generated and to increase the percentage of waste recycled. Focus areas in the year ahead will include the continuation of formalising composting areas at the mills and also the identification of all potential recyclable material. Accurate measurement of recycled waste will allow for the effective management of waste streams resulting in the extended lifespan of landfills with associated cost savings and a reduction of the overall carbon footprint. A highlight of the current reporting period was the reduction in recyclables due to improved management of packaging material and associated wastage.


Packaging preserves, protects, contains, transports, informs consumers and sells the Group’s products. Reducing the pre- and post-consumer impact of packaging materials is a responsibility the Group takes very seriously. We have added the recycling codes and statements such as “care for our environment” and “dispose of packaging responsibly” to all packaging material. We have also challenged our strategic packaging suppliers to assist with finding ways of implementing the 4Rs (Reduce, Re-use, Recycle, Recover) in all packaging materials used.

We strive to develop “fit-for-purpose” packaging that preserves the products we produce. Only 8,0% of resources used to make a product can be allocated to product packaging. We therefore understand the importance of protecting products through improved packaging quality. Care is taken during the packaging development process, to maximise the use of recycled or recyclable substrates and avoid unnecessary waste-to-landfill.

Greater visibility of data has allowed us to apportion specific accountability towards achieving reduction targets with the following results this year:

reduced pallet-wrap consumption:
  the introduction of Lock n' Pop, a water-based, palletstabilising adhesive at our Hammarsdale further processing plant, will result in a 2,1 ton reduction in LDPE plastic material consumed per annum. This translates into 12,6 tons CO2e less GWP and 1,5 tons of material deferred from landfill sites per annum
  the roll-out of Lock n' Pop to the rest of our plants, will have the potential of reducing pallet-wrap consumed by and extra 12,6 tons with 75,7 tons less CO2e emitted and 8,8 tons material deferred from landfill per annum
reduced product waste due to lower Individually Quick Frozen (“IQF”) bag damages:
  with continued focus, Rainbow has been able to again reduce year-on-year the impact that IQF product returns have on the environment
reduced consumption of non-recyclable laminate materials
  through supplier innovation in our polony casing materials, Rainbow was able to reduce material thickness and enjoy quality as well as financial and environmental benefits. This equates to a 6,3 ton reduction in laminate consumption, a 19,9 ton reduction in GWP and the deferral of 52,0 tons of material from landfill per annum.


We are proud to have additional projects in final feasibility stages. Should they be adopted for implementation, the Group will enjoy further reductions in carbon emissions into the atmosphere and deferral of waste from landfill.

These additional impacts will be through:

further innovation in the use of laminate materials in our further processing plants;
innovations in our plastic overwrap on tray products:
  137 tons PVC overwrap removed
  426 tons CO2e avoided
  137 tons deferred from landfill as lightweight PVC not recycled.
more efficient transfer of raw materials between internal facilities:
  272 tons corrugate removed
  282 tons CO2e eliminated
  158 tons corrugated carton-board deferred from landfill.

In the spirit of South Africa’s Waste Hierarchy, Rainbow has found an avenue to recycle write-off packaging into waste bags that are used for non-food-related waste collection in its factories.

At TSB, packaging plants at Malelane and Pongola mills have been certified by FSSC 22000:2010, a complete certification scheme for food manufacturers based on ISO 22000 and ISO T/S 2002-1:2009. This required a dedicated effort from the teams involved and is a major milestone in TSB’s efforts to meet the expectations of its customers and provide a superior, sustainable product. In compliance with legislation, contact details are reflected on all sugar packaging which affords the customer/consumer the opportunity to report any product-related or service complaints.


We recognise our responsibilities in terms of the Air Quality Act, No 39 of 2004, 
and as such ensure that our coal-fired boilers and boiler stacks and other related equipment are well maintained and routinely inspected.

An Environmental Air Quality management procedure is in place at all Group companies. The objective of this procedure is to protect the environment by providing reasonable measures for the protection and enhancement of the quality of air, the prevention of air pollution and ecological degradation, and to enhance the quality of ambient air for the sake of securing an environment that is not harmful to the health and wellbeing of people.

Additional management process controls within Rainbow’s rendering plants ensure:

  • capacities of all cookers and driers are not exceeded;
  • alternative disposal of raw material is available through registered waste companies;
  • cooking recipes are balanced to prevent odours;
  • routine scheduled maintenance is carried out for the effective running of all equipment; and
  • specialist consultants are used to investigate possible further improvements in rendering of processing waste material.

While there is currently no legislation governing vehicle emissions, the Group - and especially Vector - is conscious of this impact on the environment. As a result, all vehicles are maintained and replaced on a regular basis to minimise both emissions and diesel fuel wastage.