Fighting climate change

At Bel, we consider the fight against climate change to be a priority. In 2003, we joined the United Nations Global Compact, thus initiating a process of progress, most notably for the preservation of the environment.

Today, we aim to reduce our carbon footprint by 27.5% per ton of products produced between 2017 and 2030, across our entire value chain, a goal approved by the Science-Based Targets Initiative and in line with the Paris Agreement.

To achieve this ambitious goal, we have devised a list of commitments to reduce our environmental and ecosystem footprint, from farm to fork.

This means taking action at our own industrial sites (with the aim of making our plants carbon neutral by 2025), but also working with our entire ecosystem to minimize the environmental impact of activities ranging from the production of raw materials to the end-of-life of products, including their transport and distribution.

Working with our partner farmers

The production of dairy raw materials accounts for almost 70% of the Group’s carbon emissions. Working with our 2,500 partner farmers around the world is therefore a priority for us.

Within the framework of our global “Sustainable Dairy Upstream” charter, built in partnership with the WWF, we encourage producers to limit the environmental impact of their activities: promotion of grazing, use of locally produced feed, development of carbon audits on farms, anawareness of water resource management, pilot projects in agroforestry, etc.

Developping a complementary plant-Based offer

In a context where the world population continues to grow and will likely reach more than 9 billion people by 2050, we are also aware of the need to diversify and balance animal and plant food sources while preserving our planet’s resources, as recommended by the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report.

Therefore, our Group has chosen to go beyond its historical territory of cheese by acquiring MOM, a specialist in fruit compotes, in 2016, and then by announcing its development in the plant-based sector in 2019.

We aim to be present in 3 complementary areas – dairy, fruit and plant-based food – with the mission of offering “healthier and more responsible food for all.” This diversification of our offer will allow us to reduce our carbon footprint, and also to respond to the changing needs and tastes of consumers who, in many countries, are increasingly moving towards a flexitarian diet (which consists of rebalancing one’s consumption by increasing plant-based products without excluding animal-based ones).

In 2020 we launched a 100% vegetable-based version of Boursin in the United States and The Laughing Cow Blends, with combinations of vegetables, legumes and cheese.

 

In 2021, we  launched Nurishh, a new brand with a 100% plant-based offer.

Acting on our production sites and transport

On our own industrial sites, we have set ambitious targets for reducing energy consumption, while developing the use of renewable energy sources. We also seek to reduce the footprint of our activities on water resources by reducing water consumption at our production sites and by ensuring the quality of discharges into the natural environment.

We reduced our carbon emissions per ton of product produced by 60% between 2008 and 2020.

The upstream and downstream transport of raw materials and finished products is the second largest contributor to our carbon footprint, accounting for 13%. It is therefore a strategic issue to which we pay particular attention. We are working closely with our partners.

STEF is our number one partner in Europe. Expectedly, we gathered around the table to identify action plans to reduce our impact. We’ve identified many areas of progress, from pallet optimization to the way we drive our trucks.

Acting on our packaging

Because our impact does not stop at the manufacturing stage, we continue our efforts right up to the end of the products’ life, after consumption. We seek to reduce the impact of packaging from the design stage through to waste management and contribute to the development of sorting and recycling solutions. Our target for 2025 is to have 100% of our packaging be recyclable and/or biodegradable.

Almost 2/3 of our packaging is already made of paper or cardboard.
Concerned about the fight against deforestation, we use either paper and cardboard materials made from recycled fibers or, when virgin, fibers from sustainably managed forests.

96% of paper/cardboard packaging incorporates recycled fibres or fibres certified from sustainably-managed forests.

Fighting against food waste

We are also committed to fighting against food waste, which is a major issue in reducing the sector’s carbon footprint, as a third of the food produced in the world is wasted.

In several countries (France, Portugal, UK, Spain) we work with our partner Too Good To Go to raise consumers’ awareness of the minimum durability date and to prevent products that are still good from being thrown away.

To go further...

  • Reducing by 27.5% our carbon emissions per ton of product produced between 2017 and 2030 across our value chain (target validated in 2019 by Science Based Target)
  • Contributing to the carbon neutrality of Bel factories in 2025
  • Guaranteeing our raw materials are certified “Zero deforestation” in 2025
  • Making sure over 50% of energy from renewable sources at our production sites by 2025
  • Reducing our water consumption per ton of product by 80% in our plants between 2008 and 2025
  • Making sure 100% of paper/cardboard packaging is from recycled sources or certified from sustainably-managed forests.