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Business leaders visit Cumbria Chamber Patron Leo Group

Business leaders visit Leo Group

Our Power 40 networking group met recently for a tour of animal by-product specialist, Leo Group’s Omega Proteins site in Penrith.

Our Power 40 group comprises business leaders from 40 of the county’s most influential businesses. The group met recently for a tour of animal by-product specialist, Leo Group’s Omega Proteins site in Penrith.

Acquired by Leo Group in 2002, Omega Proteins operates a Category 3 animal by-product processing plant. Category 3 material refers to parts of animals that have been passed fit for human consumption in a slaughterhouse but have no market for consumption in the UK.

At Omega Proteins this material is rendered into oils and meals which are used in everyday products including sustainable aviation fuel, pet food, aquaculture, oleochemicals and pharmaceuticals.

The morning started with a presentation from Leo Group owner Danny Sawrij, joined by his son Leo Sawrij and other members of the team. The presentation told the story of Leo Group which grew from a small family business in the 1970s into a multinational corporation with a workforce of over 1,000 across sites in the UK, Europe and South Africa, with exports worldwide.

The group then donned hard hats and overalls for the tour which gave attendees an up-close look at the whole rendering process as well as the various green technologies in place at the site. These included the water treatment plant and reed beds which recycle all of the facility’s wastewater and rainwater meaning that the site no longer relies on mains water. As well as the multi-fuel thermal oxidiser, which runs on biomass fuel to reduce CO2 in line with the company’s sustainability ethos. It also offers the potential to generate electricity from surplus steam using a simple steam turbine. The electricity can then be reused in the plant’s production processes, reducing the onsite electricity requirements.

The thermal oxidiser is one of three odour abatement techniques used at the site. It treats the vapour extracted from the process equipment at over 850 degrees and recovers the heat to create steam used back in the process.  A chemical scrubber and biofilters containing microorganisms are also employed. They are used to clean the less odorous room air.

The tour finished with a look around the new meal loading buildings which, once completed, will allow finished product to be loaded onto trailers in an enclosed space. This will further reduce odour from the site and improve conditions for workers.

The group then reconvened in the main office for a Q&A session with Danny which covered future plans for the business, current challenges, as well as Leo Group’s corporate and social responsibility work contributing to local causes including Penrith AFC, the Winter Droving and investment into the Newton Rigg campus.

After the tour, the group then met at the nearby Clickham Inn for a networking lunch. Before lunch was served, attendees heard a presentation from Amy Bray, founder and director of Penrith-based charity, Another Way, which run a number of projects helping people live in a more environmentally-friendly way.

Cumbria Chamber Marketing Manager, Joe Sanders said:

“We’d like to thank our Patrons Leo Group for sponsoring this Power 40 event and being such great hosts to our members. It was inspiring to hear about their work setting best practices for the industry, supporting local causes, and their dedication to sustainability. It’s no surprise they were able to bag the Planet Saver Award in the regional heats of the Chamber Business Awards last year!”

Cumbria Chamber MD, Suzanne Caldwell said:

“Our thanks to Leo Group for sponsoring the recent Power 40 event. This is one of the many Chamber initiatives which Leo Group have been involved in since they joined last year as a Patron, cementing themselves as a key player in the business community.  We look forward to developing the relationship further.”

Leo Group owner Danny Sawrij said:

“Omega Proteins was delighted to host the first Power 40 event this year. It was truly a pleasure for us to offer an insight into our Penrith operation which is crucial to the agriculture and meat industry in the UK, and to share details about the continuous investment and improvement taking place on site. We extend our gratitude to all participants for their keen interest, engaging discussions over lunch, and the positive and encouraging feedback received. Looking ahead, we are excited about fostering our collaboration with the Chamber as Chamber Patron.”

Business leaders visit Leo Group
Business leaders visit Leo Group


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