Every little bit helps! As part of our drive towards sustainability, and environmental awareness, we are always on the lookout for ways the baking industry can have a positive impact on our planet.

South Bakels’ latest innovation has been the adoption of Unbleached Recyclable Cartons. These are made from natural fibres and do not use bleaching agents, so there are no toxic chemicals used during production.

This means we can meet part of our social responsibility goals, and increase sustainability by placing less strain on natural resources. And because the cartons are recyclable, there’s far less use of landfill and incineration of waste which further reduces carbon emissions.


Sustainability in business isn’t only good for our environment. It’s also good for the business itself.  We’ve taken a closer look at how improving sustainability helps businesses – and how it can have a positive impact on the bakery industry.

  • Sustainability reduces business costs.
    It’s true. “Greening” your business does require an initial investment, but, over time, you’ll save money by prioritising sustainability. Studies show that businesses who integrated sustainable practices improved operational efficiency and cut costs. Converting to solar energy pays off in the long run. Despite an initial investment, the average business will save tens of thousands of rands in years in costs, as well as gaining a reliable power source, a solution that is vital in South Africa.
  • Going green improves a business’s reputation
    In the world of social media, negative news stories as well as positive successes spread like wildfire, especially through local communities. This can have a huge impact on sales, as an increasing environmentally aware public votes with their feet to support like-minded businesses, and boycott the ones that don’t appear to care.
  • Environmental awareness increases competitive advantage
    Studies show that companies with sustainability baked into their strategy perform better than those that don’t. It’s so noticeable in fact that these companies see an 18% higher ROI because they’re managing and planning better for climate change.
  • Taking better care of our planet increases bottom line.
    You can earn more money and boost your bottom line by making your business more sustainable. Reduced costs of doing business, innovative strategies, and enhanced reputation, can each increase the amount of money businesses can earn.
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So, how does this impact the bakery industry?

How can bakeries use sustainable practices to improve business, both in an ethical way and in increasing bottom lines?

  • Source everything in a sustainable way
    Investing in new equipment, fitting out your workspace, or improving packaging options, like we did with the introduction of recyclable and unbleached cartons, are perfect opportunities to place recycled and re-purposed materials at the core of it all. You can also invest in energy-efficient appliances. This will help you cut down on your power bills as well as create an environmentally-friendly bakery. Great strides have been made in energy efficiency in many appliances essential to the bakery industry, including CFL bulbs and LED lights, spot air conditioners, and even motion sensor lights for bathrooms.
  • Make use of local and organic ingredients
    Go local! Source free-range eggs, organic butter, milk and flour from as near as possible, instead of having produce delivered from vast distances. This reduces your company’s carbon footprint and encourages the growth of local businesses.
  • Reduce your packaging waste
    A plastic-free bakery is the ultimate sustainability goal. This may seem an impossible task, and, yes, it certainly is daunting. So, work with packaging suppliers to reduce the use of single use plastics, and cut down on the amount of ingredient packaging you use.

    It’s also good business to switch to eco-friendly disposables. If you run your bakery as a cafe as well, offer your customers paper or metal straws. Encourage customers to bring their own reusable cups. These are small changes, but they amount to something much larger, especially including the goodwill you’ll build up with a loyal customer base.

  • Cut down on your water usage
    Food service establishments are one of the largest consumers of water. So, it’s up to us to rise to the challenge of conserving this precious element, and taking every step possible not to waste it.

    There are plenty of ways to minimise water usage. Use low flow spray valves when cleaning your baking utensils. Incorporate water-saving sinks and toilets into restrooms. Embrace water-efficient practices, like saving sink water for rinsing and turning the tap off while you soap up your hands. Like we said, every little helps!

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  • Donate or repurpose your unsold products
    Freshness is key to the bakery industry. Besides planning your production runs to be as accurate as possible (which is good for the environment too), donate any unsold food to charities, nursing homes, and health care centres rather than throwing it away. The positive press you can receive for this will have an impact on the way your customers see you, and you’ll know that you’re doing something positive in giving back! You can also repurpose your leftovers to save you from throwing them away. Turn unsold bread into toasties, craft extra croissants into delicious puddings, or chop up your surplus loaves into crunchy croutons. People, and businesses everywhere, are placing more and more emphasis on protecting our planet – and leaving it in a better condition for the generations yet to come. Bakeries are in a great position to join this cause too. So, where you can make adjustments that will help our oceans, rivers, skies and forests, no matter how small, make them.

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