Fair and environmentally friendly purchasing
We talk to all our suppliers about sustainability initiatives. One condition for delivery is signature of our suppliers code, which includes requirements in terms of human rights, animal welfare and the environment. Sustainability has been part of our supplier assessment system since 2016. Sustainability (and the requirements in the suppliers code) are also topics in the associated audits. From 2018 on, we will also assess the level of sustainability of our investment plans. Finally, we examine how we can improve the sustainability of purchases that carry (major) environmental and social risks.
Sustainable palm oil
Since late 2014, we buy only sustainable palm oil (Roundtable on Certified Sustainable Mass Balance Palm Oil, RSPO). This means that palm oil producers in Indonesia and Malaysia are tested against criteria such as preventing deforestation, low pesticide use and good working conditions. We incorporate palm oil into our fat filled milk powders. We replace milk fat with vegetable fat, retaining the nutritional value. In 2017, our production site in Scharsterbrug was certified for the use of RSPO palm oil, meaning that our customers can now include the claim RSPO-certified palm oil on their packaging.
Responsible soy lecithin
Soy lecithin, which we incorporate into some of our products, ensures that our milk powder dissolves quickly in water. Since late 2015 we have been using ProTerra certified 100% responsible soy lecithin. This means that the soy beans are cultivated in accordance with sustainability criteria - in our case in Brazil. Those criteria include the protection of workers, small farmers and vulnerable areas.
Our main packaging materials are tin, plastic and paper. In 2018, we will launch multidisciplinary improvement teams tasked with identifying how we can make our packaging more environmentally friendly. An example: reducing the amount of paper in our bags while retaining quality. The teams consist of employees from different sites and departments, such as production, purchasing, sales and quality.
Less CO2 emissions from milk transport
Our MMC transporters drive some 2.5 million km per year to take our dairy farmers' milk to our factories. We try to do this with as little fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions as possible. With smart journey planning, for example. What also helps is that our transporters have purchased more energy-efficient trucks. Almost all vehicles comply with the stricter Euro 5 and Euro 6 standards. In 2017, the MMC CO2 emissions were more than 11% lower per kilogram of milk in comparison with 2013. In 2016 this was 8% lower. We are therefore on track for achieving our goal: reduction of 20% between 2013 and 2020.
Our other transport
In 2017, 91% of the container transport organised by Vreugdenhil was by ship from the factory in Gorinchem to the ports of Rotterdam and Antwerp (comparable to 2016). In Scharsterbrug, 76% of the container transport organised by Vreugdenhil to seaports was by ship in 2017 (also comparable to 2016).
Prior to 2012 containers were transported from Gorinchem exclusively by road, resulting in higher CO2 emissions. Partly as a result of this, CO2 emissions per tonne of product were 13.2% lower in 2017 than in the reference year 2011. Our goal is 20% lower CO2 emissions per tonne of product in 2020 in relation to 2011. We expect to be able to achieve this goal by further growth of container transport by ship. In 2018, we will investigate whether we can transport the majority of containers from our Barneveld site by ship as well.