Tate & Lyle


Tate & Lyle believes that companies must take steps to manage their impact on the natural environment. As a consequence, we are committed to conducting our business in a manner that is sensitive to the environmental needs of the communities within which we operate. We aim to achieve this by upholding defined environmental standards in all of our operations, and we actively encourage our business partners to demonstrate similar levels of commitment.


All our locations fully integrate environmental management into their operational systems and procedures. The Board reviews environmental performance and the policy annually. Managing our impacts to produce a more positive result is good for the environment and also brings economic benefits to Tate & Lyle. When reviewing our environmental footprint, it has always been Tate & Lyle’s policy to focus particularly on those impacts which have most effect on the environment and over which we have direct control. Our three most significant environmental impacts are, in order of magnitude, energy use, water use and non-hazardous solid waste production.

Energy use is by far our most significant impact, and we therefore give it the highest priority. Our particular focus in 2008 was to minimise unit energy consumption during start-up and expansion activities across the Group, and the successful implementation of a wide range of environment-related capital expenditure projects in many of our plants.

Environmental policy and mission statement

Tate & Lyle’s environmental policy applies to all parts of the Group. A copy of the policy can be found on our website, The principles of the policy are summarised in an environmental mission statement which covers the following points:

  • as a minimum, we comply with all applicable laws and regulations, and we exceed local requirements or legislation where commercially feasible;
  • we make continuous efforts to prevent pollution and improve environmental performance throughout all our activities;
  • we seek to minimise our use of energy, materials and natural resources;
  • we strive to develop renewable sources for energy and materials used in our processes;
  • we assess environmental risks associated with existing and new activities (or when decommissioning facilities), and establish controls to ensure that any risks remain at an acceptable level;
  • we develop renewable products for our customers to help them reduce their impact on the natural environment;
  • we encourage all employees to respect and have concern for the environment through procedures and training; and
  • we have clearly defined and communicated procedures as part of our management systems for achieving these commitments.

Calendar year 2008 results

We focus our measurement and our improvement efforts on the areas that have most environmental and financial impact. Compared with 2007 results:

  • Energy consumption remained the same
  • Water consumption increased by 3.7%
  • Non-hazardous solid waste production increased by 62%

Group energy index

Group energy index

The smaller the index, the better the performance

Group water index

Group water index

The smaller the index, the better the performance

Group non-hazardous solid waste index

Group non-hazardous solid waste index

The smaller the index, the better the performance

Our energy consumption in 2008 remained the same and, therefore, we did not meet our target of a per unit 3% reduction. Increased energy usage in our Americas and European ingredients businesses due to construction and expansion activities was offset by better performances in our Sugars and Sucralose plants.

Both the Group water and non-hazardous solid waste production indices increased during the year. Improvements to both these indices are important targets for 2009, not only because of the environmental impacts, but also because improvements offer cost savings. Every 1% improvement in our energy index would save an estimated £2.3 million. An equivalent improvement in the water index would save £120,000 and, in the non-hazardous solid waste index, £14,000. These savings are per annum at 2008 input prices.

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Carbon footprint

In 2007, with the help of environmental consultancy URS, we developed a carbon footprint model to measure the impact of our operations on the environment. We began by measuring the carbon footprint of our UK cane sugar refining business from sugar cane field to supermarket shelf. This is known as secondary carbon footprint data, as it measures indirect as well as direct emissions from the entire lifecycle of a product or service.

We then rolled out a model to measure the primary carbon footprint of our large sites across all our business divisions. A primary carbon footprint measures the carbon associated with production at a specific site, covering emissions generated through the combustion of fossil fuels and transport. The primary footprint is the most applicable measure for a business-to-business company, since the ingredients produced are then used in a wide range of other goods.

Carbon footprint1

Tonnes of CO2 per tonne of production

Carbon footprint

1 The primary carbon footprint of Tate & Lyle’s large sites

Primary carbon footprint

Tate & Lyle’s primary carbon footprint in the 2008 calendar year across all its large sites was 0.33 tonnes of CO2 per tonne of production. This represents a 15% reduction from 0.39 tonnes in the 2007 calendar year.

Because this is a relatively new area of analysis, it is difficult at this stage to benchmark our performance against others. However, we expect that, by calculating our carbon footprint, we will be much better able to manage our overall impact on the environment as well as using it to benchmark our own performance year on year.

Secondary footprint – cane sugar

Raw cane sugar milling is almost carbon neutral. Cane grows in the field, waste fibre from the cane powers the factory and the cane regrows each year, usually up to five times without the need for replanting. It is then transported to our European refineries by ship. Our current secondary carbon footprint is around 0.43 tonnes of CO2 per one tonne of sugar produced, which means that the carbon footprint of a bag of sugar made from cane sugar is currently about half that of beet sugar. The carbon footprint of cane sugar produced at our London refinery will be reduced by more than 20% when our new biomass boiler comes on stream in 2009.

Investing in renewable energy sources

Reducing energy consumption gets more difficult each year as we produce more value added products, which typically use more energy than producing our traditional products. Energy is a particular concern for us, because not only is it a big contributor to our overall carbon footprint, but it is one of the most significant costs in our business.

To help reduce energy costs and to improve our environmental performance, we have developed proprietary technology to use renewable energy sources (biomass) in our plants. In 2009, our new £20 million biomass boiler at our London refinery will come on stream. This boiler will supply 70% of the refinery’s energy requirements. Similar technology will be used at our new corn wet mill at Fort Dodge, Iowa, when it is completed and opened.

FDF’s Five-fold Environmental Ambition

In 2008, as part of the UK Food and Drink Federation’s (FDF) Five-fold Environmental Ambition, Tate & Lyle signed up to two major environmental initiatives. In January 2008, Tate & Lyle was one of 20 leading food and drink companies to agree to a UK industry-wide commitment to improve water efficiency and reduce water use. This agreement was jointly developed by the FDF and resource efficiency experts Envirowise. Then, in July 2008, Tate & Lyle was one of 40 companies to sign up to the FDF’s environmental ‘Checklist and Clause for Greener Food Transport’ which encourages companies to achieve fewer and friendlier food miles.

Violation, abatement and compliance orders

The vast majority of our operations completed 2008 without incident. Where Tate & Lyle inadvertently contravened regulations, largely to do with emission levels, we reacted immediately to correct the problems.

Managing environmental impacts

Managing environmental impacts is very important at Tate & Lyle. Environmental risks are included in the Group-wide risk management process, and are reviewed and assessed regularly. For more information, see the ‘External environment and risk management’ section and the ‘Corporate Governance’ section.

Measuring data

We collect detailed data and report results from each operating unit quarterly, using a comprehensive system that has been validated by our Internal Audit function. We then normalise the data to reflect the amount of product manufactured. This protects the commercial sensitivities of the data while allowing us to report publicly on our progress, and make comparisons between years. The results are then aggregated to create a single set of indices for the Group, adjusted to take account of acquisitions and disposals.

Management systems

Every operating unit has an environmental management system. Each unit is required to assess its environmental impact and develop an improvement plan based on identified areas of priority, focus and opportunity, in line with the Group’s overall environmental management strategy. Capital projects are assessed for their environmental impact, and we investigate whether there are more environmentally sound ways of achieving our aims.

Each operating unit has incident, emergency and contingency plans. These are regularly updated to meet new conditions and requirements. We have crisis management procedures to provide an effective response in case of incident or emergency, including escalation to the Group Crisis Management Team when appropriate.


Employees receive regular training on managing environmental impacts and changes in legislation, so that they are always aware of relevant issues. Many operating units have environmental management committees that meet regularly to discuss progress.

Customers and suppliers

We work closely with our customers to ensure our systems meet their requirements. We brief all contractors on key environmental issues to make sure that we and they are managing our environmental impact effectively.


Reducing per unit energy consumption and carbon emissions will continue to be our major environmental challenges in the year ahead. By continuing to invest in reducing consumption per unit, exploring alternative energy sources and technology, and encouraging a culture of concern for environmental issues at all our plants, we aim both to control costs and improve our impact on the environment.

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Reducing road miles

Reducing road miles

Our target is to reduce road miles in the UK by 2.1 million miles by the end of 2009, as part of the UK Food and Drink Federation’s aim to reduce the impact of food transport by 20% by 2012. A significant user of road transport, we have already moved bulk sugar distribution between our London refinery and Glasgow from road to rail freight, saving over 1.6 million road miles per year.