Cleaner Production

Case Studies Shwee Shwian Food Co., Thailand

Cleaner Production at a Medium-sized Ginger Factory

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Source: Dr. Suporn Koottatep, Chiang Mai University, and Dr. Wanpen Wirojanagud, Khon Kaen University



Environmental and Economic Results Achieved

  • Washing water: reduced by 20%

  • Electricity consumption: reduced by 7.8%

  • Operating cost: reduced by 55%

  • Investment in the awareness and inventive programs: US$ 4,835

  • Savings for the year 2000: US$ 76,522

  • Return on investment (ROI) for the year 2000: 1,483%




Chairman, Green Productivity Group. Dept of Environmental Engineering

Chiang Mai University, Thailand

About the Company

A cleaner production program was implemented in the Shwee Shwian Food Co., a medium-sized ginger factory in northern Thailand. The factory produces preserved ginger for export. Ginger was taken fresh from farms and washed by machine.

The Problem To Be Solved

The major problem at the factory was that raw ginger has a high soil content, which required large amounts of washing water and therefore generated high volumes of waste water. It was estimated that about 12% of the weight of the raw ginger was actually soil coating the outside of the ginger.

The Solution: Greening the Supply Chain

It was concluded that a supply chain greening program should be introduced to reduce soil content and thereby decrease the amount of water used for washing.

The Implementation

The company set new specifications for incoming raw ginger that required a lower soil content. However, convincing the suppliers to deliver raw ginger with less soil content was not simple. The factory divided the suppliers into three groups:

  1. those who were neither given any awareness nor incentive programs,

  2. those who were given a series of awareness programs, and

  3. those who were offered with an incentive program.

The Results

The results showed that the incentive program linked to benefits gained by the company through better control of ginger quality led to better results than the awareness programs. The farmers could benefit from improving the quality of their ginger, lower their operating costs, and improve their productivity as well.