A staff member removes a tray of freshly-baked loaves out of an oven at Company Bakery's existing site in Devon Place, Edinburgh - Company Bakery

Source: Company Bakery

A staff member removes a tray of loaves from an oven at Company Bakery’s existing site in Devon Place, Edinburgh

Edinburgh-based Company Bakery is aiming to slash its carbon footprint by two thirds as it expands into a larger site in nearby Musselburgh.

Seeking an energy-saving expert to help further its sustainability credentials, the sourdough specialist turned to Scottish Government-funded programme Business Energy Scotland (BES). A BES consultant then presented the firm with a bumper report showing how it could cut carbon emissions by 66%.

The management team at Company Bakery is now introducing a number of the report’s recommendations before the new 6,000 sq ft site goes live – it will revisit other suggestions once established in its new home, located in the Eskmills office community in East Lothian. 

“Five or six years ago, we were a start-up and we have just grown and grown,” commented co-owner and director Duncan Findlater. “Given the increase in energy prices and how much our consumption is going to go up in bigger premises, we wanted to know how we could become more sustainable.” 

“Sustainability is at the heart of what we do, but being green isn’t easy”

Company Bakery, which has 150 wholesale customers and also makes deliveries in Edinburgh direct to personal customers, has already invested in the recommended energy-efficient ovens with the support of a Scottish Government interest-free SME loan with cashback.

The business has one electric van with another on its way, while bigger and more efficient mixers are also on the shopping list and will be in place before commercial operations begin in Musselburgh. 

“Sustainability is at the heart of what we do, but being green isn’t easy,” noted Findlater. “Without the help of Business Energy Scotland, we would have made some of the changes but it would have taken us three or four years. Business Energy Scotland has supercharged the transformation. 

The director also said he would regularly refer to the BES report to ensure the bakery stays on track in its energy efficiency journey.  

BES programme director Douglas Harding said: “We’re really pleased to have helped the Company Bakery team with their move, and to have helped them make such a great carbon saving. This energy efficiency will also mean lower costs in the long run.

“The efforts of all the businesses supported by Business Energy Scotland not only help them save energy but also help Scotland to play its part in tackling climate change and achieve its net-zero targets,” Harding added.

UK Government-backed scheme Made Smarter released a guide last year to help SMEs, including bakery suppliers, achieve decarbonisation through digitalisation.

Some large-scale bakery manufacturers, meanwhile, have unveiled plans to reduce carbon emissions including Compleat Food Group, which had its net zero targets validated by Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). Délifrance intends to submit its decarbonisation roadmap to the SBTi, and Baker & Baker and Bakkavor have outlined 2040 as the year to achieve net zero.

Electric vehicle fleets are slowly but steadily gaining speed among bakeries, with Warburtons adding new trucks and vans, Bettys switching out diesel delivery vans, and Wenzel’s completing a transition to EVs for its area managers.