Environmental Efficiency

The sustainable use of natural resources and the fight against climate change constitute the main sustainability issues facing the dairy industry. Given the growing scarcity of water, optimizing water usage and improving the quality of the Group's discharges pose major challenges for Bel in pursuing its activities.

Environmental policy

With a view to efficiency, Bel has set ambitious targets for reducing the water and energy footprint of its sites, while progressively deploying continuous improvement processes to lower the sites’ other environmental impacts. The Wasabel (Water Saving at Bel) and Esabel (Energy Saving at Bel) programs enable all Group sites to track usage and prepare action plans to curb consumption. Further, dedicated training and best-practice sharing sessions are held at the sites to amplify the Group’s drive for improvement.

Sustainable water usage

Bel regularly reduces the amount of water required for its production needs and employs high-performance technology to treat the water it uses. In 2017, Bel continued to curb average water consumption per metric ton of cheese produced. Programs put into place cut water usage per metric ton produced by 38% from 2008 to 2017.

Further, to avoid accidental discharges into natural environments, the Group uses dedicated facilities to protect the path of the water and river-water drainage points adjacent to the sites. Bel ensures that the temperature and the amount of organic matter in the water discharged by the sites comply with all regulations in force, to limit the negative impact on natural environments.

Most of the wastewater is treated internally at the sites. When treated by a third party, Bel pre-treats the water. Most of the sludge from the Group’s water treatment plants is recycled via the appropriate treatment channel. Some of the sludge enriched with fertilizing elements is spread on farmland.

Energy footprint

To diminish its dependence on fossile fuels and to progressively lower its greenhouse gas emissions, Bel makes curbing its energy usage a priority. Using the reduced consumption rate as its base, the Group also reviews opportunities for using renewable energy sources. These efforts are always conducted in step with the local challenges faced by the sites, such as the availability of renewable energy sources, the technical feasibility and the economic impact.

For its supply chain, Bel optimizes the steps for transporting its raw materials and finished goods to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as well as to curb other nuisances like road traffic and noise. The strategic locations of its sites and its supply chain flow plans help reduce the distances travelled upstream, notably for liquid milk transport, as well as downstream, with plants located closed to markets.

Bel works with supply chain service providers in all countries to optimize truck and container fill rates, streamline transport flows and delivery frequency and examine alternatives to road transport that produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions.