Environmentally Conscious Approach
As awareness of the alarming changes to our natural environment is heightening – we remain committed to our award winning eco initiatives at our distillery, based in the South western coastal town of Albany. Utilising water recycling and renewable energy in our processes, Mt Romance Australia is the largest Sandalwood oil distillery in the southern hemisphere and the responsibility and impact we have on the environment is not taken lightly. We specialise in Australian Sandalwood (Santalum spicatum) and have an ongoing commitment to preserving this ancient botanical by only sourcing sustainably harvested wood for distillation.
The Water Treatment Plant
By 2009, Sandalwood oil production had expanded rapidly at Mt Romance. We use a steam distillation method for our Sandalwood, which requires water to cool the 14 steam distillation units. When operating at maximum capacity in those times, we were using up to 80,000 litres of water daily.
Following significant industry relevant research and investigation, in 2010 Mt Romance installed a water treatment plant to recycle the thousands of litres of water used. The water treatment plant consists of seven tanks with various stages to treat, clean and filter the old water from the distillery. To monitor and control the quality of this operators perform routine checks every 3 hours to record pH levels and other critical information.
Since 2010 – our facility has recycled 43 million litres of water
Through advanced treatment processes and investment into plant upgrades, we now recycle all waste water produced during steam distillation and other factory processes. This is then re-purposed for use in the cooling system. In 2017, we also installed a rainwater tank which collects 300,000 litres from the facility's roof tops. We draw from this daily for use in the cooling cycle to ensure there is always room for the collection of more from the rainy Albany weather conditions! Additionally, an onsite bore water system is also in daily use for the same function. This is all in an effort to minimise the consumption of Western Australia's precious drinking water source.
Utilising Renewable Energy
At Mount Romance our Sandalwood oil is produced using renewable energy. By using waste wood from local plantations in the Albany region, we are able to power a biomass boiler. This computer controlled unit optimises combustion to limit smoke and generate maximum energy with minimum waste and the resultant heat produced by the unit is used to generate steam for distillation. Each year this saves us approximately 65% emissions from fossil fuel sources and millions of dollars as compared to fossil-fuelled powered steam generation. The potash created by this process is sold for use in soil-rebalancing mulch.
Organic-Certification of a Sustainable Resource
Harvests of Australian Sandalwood are highly regulated by the Sandalwood Act, and are managed by the WA Department of Parks and Wildlife which sets the quotas based on sustainability assessments. The WA Government's Forest Products Commission manages and harvests the resource in accordance with ISO14001 (Environment), Australian Forestry Standard (AFS) and Program for the Endorsement of Forestry Certiﬁcation (PEFC). Under the management plan, systematic replanting is undertaken and part of this supply chain is certiﬁed as organic, and is audited annually as part of the Australian Certiﬁed Organic (ACO) process.
As an Australian Organic-Certified processor, with a supply contract with the Western Australian Forest Products Commission, Mt Romance produces the world’s only organic-certified pure Australian Sandalwood oil.
Electric Car Charging
Being sustainable is not only about engaging in environmental and social initiatives as a company, it's about supporting and promoting these values at a community level. In 2016 we installed an electric car charging facility at our Mount Romance distillation facility. As well as providing an important charging point for tourists and locals, this helps to draw traﬃc to Mount Romance's retail and tourism facility.
We look forward to expanding on these environmentally friendly initiatives with a further conscious approach to our retail product packaging in the near future.