18 May Latest from the Co-Op: Progress, New COVID-19 Measures
So far, we have had no cases of COVID-19 within any of our businesses, and we continue to ensure that every precaution is taken to ensure the safety of our farmers and our staff. Social distancing, hand-washing, sanitising, and temperature checking have all become part of our day-to-day way of working. In the last week we have also introduced contact tracing in the case of a positive diagnosis so that we would be able to quickly identify any other employees who may be infected. Any staff who have concerns of symptoms are advised to stay at home, contact their doctor and get tested. Employees that can do their job remotely are encouraged to do so, and this allows less opportunity for infection within the business and a better chance of keeping everyone safe.
Nationally, good progress is being made to control the spread of the disease and while this is encouraging, the big challenge will come for our business when the lockdown is lifted, so the next four to five weeks are key.
Milk collection has been growing over the last five weeks, from running 2% up six weeks ago we are now seeing increases of 6%, 7% and 7.25% in the last three weeks. At the factory level we are coping with these increases comfortably and with the exception of some delays three weeks ago due to doing a tower wash, all has gone well. Commissioning of the new plant is on plan and the work on our effluent plant upgrade is ahead of schedule.
Following a recent assessment of the Company’s Energy Management System, Arrabawn Ingredients Nenagh have received ISO 50001:2018 certification.
ISO 50001 is the international standard for Energy Management Systems. The standard aims to help organizations continually reduce their energy use, and therefore their energy costs and their greenhouse gas emissions.
The liquid plant in Kilconnell has also had a clean bill of health over the last number of weeks and despite the loss of a substantial number of customers in the catering sector, volumes have held up because of increased demand in the retail sector.
Our stores continue to remain open and all precautions are being taken to ensure the safety of our customers and employees.
In the last four weeks we have convened two meetings with the Board online using Microsoft Teams. The first meeting was the regular board meeting and the second meeting was a board update in consideration of the current situation.
The Representative Committee meeting was also convened and held over the same medium. We would like to thank everyone for their efforts and time.
Markets are still in a difficult place due to the demise of the food service sector which is roughly 20% of global demand. In particular, butter and powder prices have dropped substantially from last year’s level. In the last week the market has stabilised and it looks like intervention will not be required for skim milk powder. A recovery in consumer demand is necessary and moderate increases in milk production are very important for price recovery.
Edward Carr Conor Ryan
Chairman Chief Executive