Factory Sustainability

Bega Group operates over seven manufacturing sites in Australia.  Five sites are in Victoria and two sites are located in Bega, New South Wales.  All facilities operate environmental programs that monitor sustainable environmental performance.  These programs cover Energy, Carbon, Water, Air, Resource Management, Waste, Soil Management, Noise and Odour.

Bega facilities operate under licence granted by the New South Wales and Victorian Environmental Protection Agencies.  The site environment management systems vary in focus, it is based on each facility’s most significant environmental risk and sustainability concerns.

The Bega Group monitors and reports on key performance indicators relating to energy and water consumption, carbon, quantity & quality of wastewater as well as solid waste and recycling.  Sites with factory water reuse programs also monitor the environmental impact of reuse water on the irrigation areas.

Protect and Comply

Bega participates in a number of government, industry and self-regulated programs that maintain and improves our environmental performance.  The programs direct our management of natural resources, energy consumption, water, wastewater, solid waste and packaging.

Bega is committed to preventing harm to the environment and is continuously improving environmental performance.  Our environment team works co-operatively with local environmental and community organisations to re-vegetate and rehabilitate areas close to our manufacturing sites.

Bega provides performance reports on the regulatory programs to the government and the public. Environmental reports are available on the “Publications” page and on the relevant government websites.

EPA License

Our EPA licence governs site emissions to minimize harm to the environment or impact on the community. The EPA licence for all sites can be viewed here. The Coburg site in Victoria is not an EPA licenced site but has a Trade Waste Agreement with Yarra Valley Water. The Trade Waste Agreement governs waste water emissions for the site.

National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting

The National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting (NGER) scheme was introduced by the Federal Government in 2007 and reports data related to greenhouse gas emissions, energy consumption and energy production across the business.  The scheme is administered by the Clean Energy Regulator and provides the basis for determining Australia’s carbon footprint for policy making and assessing the liability of companies under the carbon pricing mechanism.

Bega has participated in the NGER scheme since 2009-10 and closely monitors and reports its total energy consumption and its scope 1 and 2 emissions.

Protecting the Environment

Bega is involved in rehabilitating local river and wetland areas as part of ongoing commitment to protecting the environment.

Working in conjunction with the Southern Rivers Catchment Management Authority and the local Landcare group, Bega planted 16,000 trees in a 20 hectare area along the banks of the Bega river and in the surrounding wetlands.  Biodiversity has increased and a large variety of amphibians, reptiles and birds can be found in the area including wedge tailed eagles.

Bega participated in the creation of a green corridor to commemorate the Anzac legacy in line with national efforts to recognize the 100 year anniversary of the Gallipoli landing.  The project rehabilitated river side vegetation and also raises community awareness and connection with the local river environment.

Environment Monitoring and Emergency Response

EPA NSW requires reporting of environmental impact on land, air and water for EPA licenced sites in NSW.  Monitoring results for sites in Bega are published monthly on the Bega website.

In the event of a major incident, Bega will manage any risks to the community and the local environment according to the Emergency Response process.  In NSW, the authorities and community will be notified in line with the procedure below.

Emergency Response Community Notification Procedure Ridge Street
Emergency Response Community Notification Procedure Lagoon Street
Emergency Response Notifying Authorities Procedure
Bega’s NSW Environment Monitoring reports

Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation

The Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) is a not for profit organisation leading the development of a circular economy for packaging in Australia, with a vision for a packaging value chain that collaborates to keep packaging materials out of landfill and retains the maximum value of the materials, energy and labour within the local economy.  Using a Collective Impact Framework, the shared responsibility model promotes the concept of circular packaging design, working to improve collection and recycling systems and education, and expanding markets for used packaging. 

As an APCO Brand Owner and signatory to the Australian Packaging Covenant, Bega Group is committed to contributing to the national targets and to reducing the environmental impact of all of its packaging and products.

Bega’s latest APCO action plan and report can be found here.

National Pollutant Inventory

The National Pollutant Inventory (NPI) is a government program that aims to maintain and improve our environment by monitoring and reporting emissions from industrial sites.  Additionally, it aims to minimise environmental impacts associated with hazardous waste and improve the sustainable use of resources.  Bega contributes to the program by monitoring and reporting emissions.

For more information on the National Pollutant inventory click here.

Measuring Performance

Measuring and reviewing our performance against licence limits and appropriate sustainable performance criteria is an important part of our environment management program.  Environment performance is assessed from our monitoring programs for impact on air, water and soil.  Bega also engages the local community for feedback in some areas.

Performance indicators are measured and reported internally across the group through the sustainable resources platform.  Some indicators measure absolute resource consumption, other indicators measure resource intensity in relation to product output.

Performance Indicators

Bega seeks to improve performance and sustainability of the Bega Group by applying environmental, social and economic consideration in its decision making and balancing these with the needs of shareholders and community.

A comprehensive set of sustainability indicators has been developed to review and assess the sustainability of operations across the group. A sustainability report will use these indicators to share our targets and progress with investors, customers, suppliers, shareholders and the community.

Monitoring Results

Bega collects samples from air, water, wastewater and land monitoring programs, then analyses them to assess environmental performance.  This is an important part of our environment management program and drives continuous improvement and innovation in our sustainability projects.

Results from New South Wales environmental monitoring programs are publicly available and published on the Bega website on a monthly basis.  To access these reports click here.

Results from Victorian environmental monitoring programs are reported directly to the Environment protection Authority.

Air Emissions

Air emissions originate from powder drying, steam generation, electricity consumption and vehicle use.  Air emissions include exhaust gases from powder driers and boilers as well as odour.  Emissions are monitored and reported as required by the Environment Protection Authority licences.

In the Bega facility steam is generated from a boiler using wood waste fuel.  Wood waste provides a lower environmental and carbon footprint for cheese production than petroleum gas which is burnt in the back up boiler.


Bega is committed to preventing noise impact on neighbours close to our manufacturing sites.

Bega regularly monitors its noise emissions at various locations around its production areas and at our closest neighbours to ensure that noise levels do not exceed environmental regulations.  Noise emissions are reported to the Environment Protection Authority.

In areas where an immediate engineering solution is not possible a noise management plan is developed.


Bega reuses factory water for pasture irrigation at the Bega and Strathmerton sites.  Factory reuse water contains nutrients that replace fertilisers used for pasture growth.  The constituents of the waste water break down when stored for long periods and may cause unpleasant odours.

The environment team is committed to ensuring that solutions are in place to prevent the risk of odour impacting the community.  The Bega community is consulted and advised of odour management activities through community newsletters and surveys.

The Environment Protection Authority is closely involved in the odour management strategy developed for the Bega wet weather storage dam.

Energy & Carbon

Energy and carbon management is critical to Bega plan to remain a sustainable business, as energy consumption is a major contributor to the cost of manufacture and the carbon footprint of products.  Bega’s Energy and Carbon Management Strategy is focused on continuously striving to delivery products that are less energy intensice through innovation and efficiency improvements.

Bega’s Energy and Carbon Strategy focuses on;

  • Mitigating cost and risks associated with energy supplies
  • Minimising the energy and carbon intensity of operations
  • Driving continuous improvement in energy costs by enhancing business systems and practices for energy management
Energy Savings

Bega has implemented a variety of energy saving schemes across the Group that covers areas such as; compressed air, heating, refrigeration, lighting and steam systems.

Some of the projects implemented have been with the assistance of State or Federal Government funding and have also improved internal knowledge systems via training in addition to the primary energy saving benefits.

Energy Use

Bega has improved its overall production efficiency and energy efficiency by focusing on overall equipment effectiveness.

Bega’s energy and carbon management strategy provides further improvements through its use of Key Performance Indicators such as energy use per tonne of product.  Bega is committed to reducing its energy intensity.

Energy Sourcing

Most of the world’s energy comes from fossil fuels such as coal, gas, oil or from nuclear power.  Increasingly countries are developing renewable energy sources.

Bega presently sources approximately 20% of its total energy from non-fossil fuel sources in the form of wood waste and is dedicated to increasing the percentage as part of its energy and carbon management strategy.

Carbon Emissions

Bega monitors carbon emissions and manages environmental and business risks through its Energy and Carbon Management Strategy.

Approximately two thirds of Bega’s carbon emissions come from electricity and a third from gas.  Sites producing powder products use more energy and generate more emissions than other sites. Bega has participated in life cycle assessment analysis and is aware of the carbon footprint of its cheese products.

Global Warming

Greenhouse gases are released into the atmosphere when fossil fuels are burnt.  They act like a greenhouse and trap the sun’s heat, causing rising air and water temperatures known as ‘global warming’.

Different greenhouse gases are converted into their equivalent amounts of carbon dioxide (a common greenhouse gas) and called ‘carbon emissions’.

Global warming affects the earth’s climate system causing changes to sea levels, rain fall, severity of storms and droughts and is called ‘climate change’.


Bega recognises that process water and wastewater management is critical to developing a sustainable business. Bega collaborates on industry research projects to minimize water use and conserve this critical resource.

Sourcing Water

Bega mainly sources water from the local municipalities in the regions where it operates.  This allows the business to easily access consistent good quality water treated to the appropriate standard to comply with Food Safety regulations.

In the Bega Valley, the factory continues to source water from high-quality treated bore-water.  Water samples are collected daily and assessed in accordance with stringent guidelines by a NATA (National Associated of Testing Authorities) certified laboratory.

Wastewater Management

Wastewater from Bega sites are used for irrigation directly from our factories or through municipality treatment systems.

Factory water from Bega and Strathmerton facilities are directly irrigated while wastewater from Coburg and Tatura are treated by the municipalities before reuse for irrigation.

Storage Dam

A 120 megalitre Wet Weather Storage Dam (WWSD) is located on Bega’s Factory Water Reuse site in Bega and allows operation during rain or flood events.  Factory water is stored for subsequent reuse when irrigation areas require moisture and is a critical part of the businesses risk management strategy.  The WWSD enabled Bega to develop new techniques for wastewater and odour management that may lead to changed practices in the dairy industry.  Land and wetlands are rehabilitated in partnership with “Landcare” and the catchment management association.

Trade Waste

Bega’s Victorian sites have Trade Waste agreements with Goulburn Valley Water and Yarra Valley Water.  Refer to their websites for information on objectives for treating and reusing or disposal of waste water in an environmentally responsible and sustainable way.

Trade waste is minimised at all sites by recovery and recycling programs.  Fat is removed and recycled to industrial products where possible.

Chemicals Management

Bega uses chemicals for cleaning and sanitising dairy processing equipment and production areas.  They are collected in the waste water and carefully assessed for environmental impacts as part of an extensive nutrient management program that underpins the factory water reuse irrigation program.

Chemical suppliers assist Bega Cheese to optimise chemical usage, avoid wastage and meet reporting requirements under the National Pollutant Inventory program.

Using Resources Wisely

o guarantee the future of sustainable dairy manufacturing, Bega must carefully manage its use of local resources.  Numerous resource management programs have been implemented that monitor, assess and improve use of local resources.  These influence our waste management initiatives and the effect of our production on our local region.

We are moving towards an integrated sustainable framework with other local industries and use all wastewater at some sites for irrigation of agricultural pastures, decreasing the use of fertilisers in the region and improving regional sustainability.

Reducing Landfill

A core activity in sustainable manufacturing is reducing production of waste and particularly waste sent to landfill.

Bega accomplishes waste reduction by reducing our raw material use, maximizing our production efficiency, improving and developing new recycling and reuse initiatives. Bega is actively pursuing waste to energy systems and industrial ecology opportunities.

Recycling Initiatives

Bega is proud of its recycling program which collects and recycles or reuses number of alternate wastes including pallet, batteries and e-waste.  In addition to this all cardboard, plastics, drums, metal, glass, aluminum, cartridges and paper are recycled.

We monitor and audit our performance regularly and are committed to minimising waste to landfill, maximising reuse and recycling and moving towards a minimal waste production method.

Nutrient Management

Bega provides beneficial nutrients for pasture growth at sites where factory water is reused by irrigation.  An extensive nutrient management program monitors ground moisture level, irrigation needs, nutrient distribution, soil health and ground water to assess overall environmental impact and improve nutrient management.

A nutrient management and groundwater report is prepared annually for sites that directly irrigate wastewater.  The report is presented to farmers in the program and the EPA.

Visit some of our iconic brands