Mulgowie wins Woolworths sustainability award

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Woolworths has recognised a major supplier for its practices of no-till farming, carbon credits and cutting plastic usage

A series of environmental initiatives has seen Mulgowie Farming Company named Sustainable Supplier of the Year by supermarket giant Woolworths.

The Queensland-based Mulgowie beat other companies from every industry that supplies to Woolworths, not just fresh produce, to claim the honour.

Founded more than 75 years ago, Mulgowie started as a small family farming venture and has grown to now include more than 5,000 hectares across Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.

Sweet corn, green beans and broccoli are the company’s main products, along with pumpkin and some other vegetables.

Mulgowie North Queensland farm manager John West inspecting a healthy green bean crop grown using no-till sustainable farming practices

Three of Mulgowie’s environmental initiatives were highlighted by Woolworths in naming the company as its sustainable supplier of the year.

These were for "being the first vegetable farmer in Australia to generate carbon credits to GHG ISO 14064 standard".

Mulgowie says it captures 213kg of greenhouse gasses for every tonne of vegetables produced, while its controlled traffic farming, cover cropping and minimum tillage keep its production certifiably‘ net carbon negative’ at the farm gate.

The second area highlighted was for removing 50 tonnes of plastic in 2019 and 2020 from its supply chain.

This occurred by converting Woolworths Beanettes from trays to a bagged product and by adopting a shallower tray for sweetcorn.

Mulgowie has plans to remove 35 megatonnes of plastic out of circulation and eliminate 5.5 million paper labels in 2022.

Woolworths also highlighted Mulgowie adopting ‘no-till’ farming practices in its soil health strategy.

Mulgowie says it prevent its soil from being compacted and grows cover crops to keep the soil alive year-round with living roots, boosting soil and vegetable nutrition while reducing fuel use.

Mulgowie CEO Melanie Chambers says the Woolworths’ award, which came with the extra recognition of also being named the supermarket’s fruit and vegetable supplier of the year, was a proud achievement.

"To be recognised ahead of thousands of Australian and multinational companies is a phenomenal achievement that we are very proud of," she says.

"This is a massive win for our whole team and recognition of the great efforts the Mulgowie team go to while sustainably delivering consistent supply of quality, fresh and nutritious vegetables."

It follows Mulgowie being one of just seven companies to win a multi-million dollar federal government Modern Manufacturing Initiative grant, from more than 250 applicants.

Mulgowie won $5.1 million from the government, which will be invested into improve the company’s processing capability and capacity to therefore increase supply for both Australian and overseas customers.

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