While FSMA requirements, staffing issues, increased productivity and constantly evolving consumer demands may be top of mind for many people reading this column, sustainability remains one of the top 10 trends affecting plant operations, according to Food Engineering’s most recent State of Food Manufacturing report. This November, Food Engineering will honor one North American plant that best exemplifies innovation in sustainable manufacturing with its Sustainable Plant of the Year Award.

Any new food or beverage plant or major sustainable plant project that became fully operational in calendar year 2013 is eligible to compete. Plants must produce processed food and/or beverage products designed for human consumption to participate in this competition. However, they do not need to be certified by LEED or any other organization.

Entries will be judged according to the following criteria:

  • Sustainable building, design and site innovations
  • Energy usage, recovery and reuse
  • Water usage, reuse and treatment
  • Sustainable process optimization
  • Sustainable packaging initiatives
  • Sustainable innovation in equipment and technology usage
  • Sustainable warehouse, transportation and supply chain management
  • Employee safety, comfort and health initiatives
  • Community impact
  • Corporate sustainability mission statement implementation.

Entries are due June 3, 2014. All plants entered in the competition must be available for an editorial staff visit by June 15, 2014 to be part of Food Engineering’s November issue. Please do not submit any plant that will not be available by this date.

A detailed narrative, a maximum of 10 pages long, plus images in support of the entry are required. The entry should document the ways in which the plant excels with reference to the stated judging criteria.

 For more information about preparing your entry, please contact me or visit http://www.foodengineeringmag.com/spoy. Use this link to view complete entry requirements, download entry forms and read articles about past Sustainable Plant of the Year winners such as Frito-Lay, Sierra Nevada Brewing and Plumrose USA