Environmentally friendly factories and offices


In our long-range strategy Marathon '22 we set out our ambition for renewable energy: Vreugdenhil wants to realise climate-neutral production by 2029. This is a major challenge, but taking the lead gives us a competitive edge and helps us reduce our environmental impact. In 2017, we studied which measures would be feasible over the next few years. We performed desk research and talked to some forty experts in companies, knowledge institutes and NGOs. We then had calculations done for the most promising measures to see how they would impact our company. In conclusion, in the next few years we will focus strongly on energy savings at our own sites, in the chain and in the region. The infographic below presents all our measures and the percentage each measure contributes to climate-neutral production.

In 2018, we drew up a plan of action for every site to realise energy savings. Every site focuses on its own top 5 measures, whereby collaboration with external partners and the sector has been designated as a key success factor. These plans will be executed over the next five years, and in 2019 the target is to save 5% of energy per tonne of product in comparison with 2018. In addition, we will explore alternative renewable energy sources such as hydrogen and wind energy from wind parks in the North Sea.



‘Vreugdenhil has the ambitious goal of being climate-neutral in 2029. Energy management is to be a fundamental part of this. Consultancy SAM will help Vreugdenhil set up energy management on the production sites. We will do this by recording energy performance and joining with the employees to see how we can improve the policy and procedures. We are expecting to see results as early as 2019. For example, we have installed meters that give us detailed insight into energy consumption, we want to change some process parameters and try to minimise zero consumption. Zero consumption is the energy a system uses when it is not running. The next step is ensuring that we optimise systems management, so that we can also achieve energy benefits there.’ Stefan Walta, consultancy SAM.

Stefan Walta, SAM BV


Lower energy consumption

In 2018, our energy consumption per tonne of product remained more or less the same. We used 19.5%* less energy per tonne than in 2005. So we just missed our target of 21.4% for 2018. This was due in particular to the fact that the energy-saving measures in the new factory in Gorinchem were not realised as a result of suboptimal conditions. We note that as at year-end 2018 major expectations were realised that will translate into better scores in 2019. While the ambitions for 2019 are challenging, we believe they can be realised. Our ambition for 2019 is 24.5% lower energy use per tonne compared to 2005.

Energy consumption per tonne of product in comparison with 2005:

2015: -12.1%
2016: -16%
2017: -20.1%
2018: -19.5%

In Gorinchem, we consumed 3% less energy per tonne of product in 2018 than in 2005. This decrease was lower than in 2017 (8%) due to the fact that optimally setting up our new energy-efficient factory in Gorinchem took more time than expected.

In Scharsterbrug, we used 46% less energy per tonne of product in 2018 in comparison with 2005. The year before, this was 43%. This good result was realised through higher efficiency and continuous improvement of the production process and using energy-efficient systems.

* The following conversion factors were used for 2018:
1 kWh of electricity = 3.6 MJ and 1
m3 gas = 31.65 MJ

Water consumption

Our water consumption in 2018 was 4.3 m3 per tonne of product; virtually identical to the year before (4.4 m3 in 2017). The water and energy figures apply to the Gorinchem and Scharsterbrug sites, which together account for 99% of our energy and water consumption.

Green electricity

In 2018, again 100% of our electricity was green. 26% came from eleven wind turbines owned by seven of our dairy farmers through the purchase of their Guarantees of Origin (GOs). This was the same share as in 2017. It was our ambition in 2018 to not only buy wind GOs, but also solar panel GOs that exceed the diary farmer's electricity consumption. This did not happen due to insufficient interest from dairy farmers. The remaining green electricity in 2018 came from European wind energy certificates. We generate a small part of our green electricity ourselves. The solar panels on our new sustainable office in Nijkerk (five stars BREEAM), for example, generate roughly a quarter of the office's electricity consumption. We intend in the near future to install more solar panels at our sites.

Sustainable head office in Nijkerk

Our office is one of the most sustainable office buildings in the Netherlands: environmentally friendly and with a pleasant work environment. The office has the five-star BREEAM New Construction certificate, the highest sustainability level of this quality mark. Sustainable measures are insulation, thermal storage, solar panels, charging points for electric vehicles, use of rainwater for toilets, ergonomic office furnishings manufactured in the Netherlands, and natural ventilation. In 2018, energy consumption was optimised further, with the aim of consuming the least amount of gas possible over the next few years.