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Saputo's energy efficient cohort culture

Workers in a Saputo plant
Participating in our Industrial Cohort program is one way Saputo's B.C. facilities are seeing positive results as it works towards its environmental goals.

How the Industrial Cohort program is helping a global dairy business

For several years, the BC Hydro Industrial Cohort program has brought together groups of up to 12 customers from all kinds of different businesses to work with energy experts. Working with the energy experts facilitating the Cohort program, they follow a 24-month curriculum with about a dozen industry peers, investigating, identifying and implementing changes to their facilities.

At the end of the program, cohorts have usually identified meaningful operational changes, identified future projects, and have developed an energy model that allows them to continuously track their performance.

Saputo, one of the top ten dairy processors in the world and a leading cheese manufacturer and fluid milk and cream processor in Canada is just one organization seeing great success with the Industrial Cohort program. A team from their Abbotsford facility recently completed Cohort 5 – and a team from their Port Coquitlam, B.C. facility will soon be joining Cohort 7.

Saputo produces cheese, fluid milk, extended shelf-life milk and cream products, cultured products, and dairy ingredients. They employ approximately 18,600 people globally, including 5,800 people, in 18 manufacturing plants and 19 distribution centres in Canada.

B.C. is home to two of Saputo's manufacturing plants – in Abbotsford and most recently, Port Coquitlam, where they opened a new state-of-the-art fluid milk and dairy alternative beverage facility in August 2021.

Saputo's environmental pledges

Saputo has set some aggressive environmental goals for 2025, pledging to reduce CO2 by 20% of their FY20 baseline and reduce energy intensity by 10% of their FY20 baseline.

Saputo has allocated a $50 million three-year investment which will result in more than 65 projects across their network, including heat recovery systems, steam accumulators, and updated boiler controls.

In 2023, they're planning an additional 19 energy and carbon saving projects, expected to create additional estimated savings of 188,000 GJ and 10,000 tonnes of CO2e.

A positive domino effect

Complementing these plans, Saputo is always looking for more ways to increase their energy efficiency, which is why a team from their Abbotsford facility joined Cohort 5 of BC Hydro's program. The outputs have had quite an effect as Lucio De Martinis, Director, Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability, explains: "Our Abbotsford plant conducted an energy assessment and a plant-wide audit, which generated recommendations such as heat recovery initiatives, LED, and compressed air upgrades."

"Participating in BC Hydro's Industrial Cohort program has helped us in our journey towards energy efficiency, by creating a sort of positive domino effect, growing awareness among our employees, turning strategy into action and contributing towards our pledges. The support of BC Hydro was instrumental in driving this movement," says Lucio. "The goal for Cohort 7 is to replicate the success story of Abbotsford at our Port Coquitlam plant."

Curious about joining the next Cohort?

So what advice would Lucio offer any businesses considering signing up for the next Cohort? "Join, join, join!"

If your business is interested in participating, you'll be pleased to know that the cost of the cohort program is free, while commitment involves at least two members of your team attending around 40 hours (roughly 6-8) of offsite workshops spread over 24 months, along with projects to pursue at your facility.

Want to know more?

To find out more about the BC Hydro Industrial Cohort program, contact your Key Account Manager or Regional Energy Manager, or call 604 522 4713 in the Lower Mainland or 1 866 522 4713 elsewhere in B.C.