Minor Weir and Willis LTD

Case Study

Minor Weir and Willis LTD

Journey to Net-Zero and Sustainability in the Agricultural Sector

Client Summary

Minor Weir and Willis Ltd (MWW) is a long-established, family-owned fresh produce business. The company operate throughout the fresh produce supply chain as growers, packers and importers through some very long-established partnerships and joint ventures. The business is a supplier to major retailers, the food service sector and the food manufacturing sector throughout Europe. The group has operated for more than 20 years in Spain, Holland and Germany, with newer operations in developing countries established in the last 5 years.Sourcing over one hundred products from more than 40 countries and working closely with British growers to offer local produce when in season. The MWW group incorporates associate produce companies in the UK, Spain, Holland and Germany. These include growers, wholesale and catering suppliers and marketing companies, through which they can supply produce across Europe.

The company handle everything from exotic mangoes, pineapples and passion fruit to British-grown apples and pears. A lot of what is sourced is grown in tropical and sub-tropical countries in South America, Africa and Asia. There is a dedicated ripening team, who look after the produce throughout the ripening process, from field to shelf. Mango, avocado, papaya, kiwifruit – in fact, anything that needs that extra little bit of attention to ensure it gets to the supermarket shelf in perfect condition for the consumer.

The large salad range includes tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers supplied from growers in the UK and imported from countries including as Spain, Holland and Israel. Exotic vegetables are sourced from Africa, Asia, South America and Europe. Imported products include mange tout, baby corn, sweet potato, chillies and ginger. The facilities are backed by a dedicated distribution fleet wholly owned by the group.

 

The start of MWW’s decarbonisation journey

In 2014, MWW relocated the Perry Barr, Birmingham operation to the new Altitude site. This site incorporated the best available techniques and best practices on Low Carbon technologies to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions at the new headquarters offices and packing facility.

By 2020, carbon emissions from electricity, gas and water had reduced by 83% (equivalent to 2,800 tonnes of CO2e on 2014 levels. 2020 has been taken as the base year for setting future targets.

Installing solar panels was seen as an excellent way to lower the business’ carbon footprint. It is a natural, renewable source which produces little or no emissions when it is converted to electricity. 685 kWp of solar panels were installed at the UK head office in 2019, which generated savings in grid usage and carbon emissions. Installing a further 500 kWp array at the head office/main pack house in 2023 took the site's investment in solar generation to over £1,000,000. As a result of the significant investment in process optimisation and installation of renewable technologies, the company have made a significant reduction in CO2e emissions per unit of production when compared to 2019.

In recent years the business has also become a ‘zero-waste-to-landfill’ site; believing that great food should not end up in the waste bin, the company introduced a number of initiatives designed to repurpose surplus food specifically. For example, partnering with FareShare to send surplus fresh produce to local community groups and charities. In the last year, the company have redistributed more than 376 tonnes of surplus produce, which is equivalent to almost 900,000 meals for the people who need it most.

Utilising this surplus also has a benefit for the environment, with FareShare calculating that by redistributing this surplus, MWW has saved 602 tonnes of CO2e and 564 million litres of water from going to waste. Any surplus produce which cannot be used in this way provides fuel of a different kind as it is sent to an Anaerobic Digestion (AD) plant where it is converted into biogas – a clean, net zero carbon source of energy.

 

New System and Rationale

In 2023, MWW, a leading industrial player in the UK, embarked on a significant endeavour to comprehensively gather emissions data across their operations, covering Scopes 1, 2, and 3. Pro Enviro, a prominent environmental consultancy firm, was enlisted to support this initiative. Their primary objective was to ensure accurate and thorough data collection, crucial for MWW's commitment to setting Science Based Target Initiative (SBTi) short-term and net-zero targets.

MWW faced several challenges in this ambitious endeavour. Firstly, the complexity of emissions tracking across diverse operational sites posed a significant logistical challenge. Additionally, ensuring data accuracy and completeness demanded meticulous attention to detail and expertise in emission quantification methodologies. Moreover, aligning emission reduction efforts with SBTi standards required a nuanced understanding of sustainable practices and target-setting frameworks.

Pro Enviro, as the delivery partner to BCIC’s Business Energy Advice Service (BEAS) and the Shared Prosperity Fund (SPF) programmes, played a pivotal role in overcoming these challenges. Leveraging our expertise in environmental engineering and data management, we collaborated closely with MWW's teams to streamline the data collection process. Through meticulous auditing and analysis, we ensured that emissions from all activities across MWW's UK-based sites were accurately captured and accounted for. This comprehensive approach laid the foundation for setting robust SBTi targets.

MWW's commitment to emission reduction and sustainability was further underscored by their active involvement in the Black Country Industrial Cluster (BCIC), where they held a prominent position on the board of directors. This strategic partnership facilitated knowledge exchange and collaboration among industrial peers, driving collective action towards decarbonisation goals. MWW's proactive engagement within the BCIC not only catalysed their own organisational decarbonisation efforts but also inspired other entities within the Black Country to emulate their example.

As a result of Pro Enviro's support and MWW's proactive stance, tangible progress was made in advancing emission reduction initiatives. By getting ready to set ambitious FLAG (Forest, Land, and Agriculture) targets, MWW demonstrates a commitment to holistic carbon mitigation strategies, encompassing both internal operations and external supply chains. Furthermore, their participation in the BCIC exemplified industry leadership in driving regional decarbonisation agendas, positioning MWW as a trailblazer in sustainable industrial practices.

The collaboration between MWW and Pro Enviro exemplifies the power of strategic partnerships in driving meaningful environmental impact. Through meticulous data management, proactive engagement, and industry leadership, MWW not only enhanced their own sustainability profile but also catalysed broader industry-wide efforts towards carbon neutrality. This case study serves as a testament to the pivotal role of consultancy expertise and collaborative ecosystems in realising ambitious emission reduction goals.

 

Current Carbon Emissions Footprint

Our overall emissions have shown as increasing but this is due to the expansion of our business as our normalised emissions indicates that even with the expansion we are showing a stable carbon emission per kg of produce.

Client Details

Minor Weir and Willis LTD

Contact Name: Parveen Mehta

Position: Operations Director

Email: Parveen.Mehta@mww.co.uk

Telephone: +441212894000

Address: Altitude, 206 Deykin Avenue, Witton, Birmingham, B6 7BH


Black Country Industrial Cluster

Contact Name: Matthew Rhodes

Position: Director

Email: matthew.rhodes@camirus.co.uk

Telephone: 07939 218245

Address:


Pro Enviro Ltd

Delivery Partner for BCINC

Contact Name: Nersi Salehi

Position: Managing Director

Email: Nersi.salehi@proenviro.co.uk

Telephone: +44 1788 538150

Address: 8 Davy Court, Central Park, Rugby, CV23 0UZ