Promoting sustainable agriculture

Soil erosion, water stress and the carbon impact of livestock farming are all challenges for the agricultural sector. Agriculture accounts for nearly a quarter of global carbon emissions. That said, it is essential to ensure that food resources are available in sufficient quality and quantity to feed more than 9 billion people by 2050.

While agriculture is often presented as the problem, we at Bel are convinced that it can be the solution. The future of the world’s food supply depends on our ability to move towards innovative, sustainable and regenerative agriculture, with farmers and producers.

Our priorities: to act for a sustainable dairy industry, to stay mobilized for animal welfare and to ensure our raw materials come from responsible sources.

Working towards a sustainable dairy industry

To prepare our cheeses, we collect nearly two billion liters of milk each year, from 2,500 partner producers, in 11 dairy basins around the world. To ensure the long-term viability of our industry, we must build lasting relationships with Bel’s partner farmers.

Together with WWF France, our partner since 2012, we have established a “Sustainable Dairy Upstream” charter: a global and concrete approach that covers the Group’s entire dairy supply chain, and which makes it possible to clearly define areas of progress for animal rearing practices, to reduce the environmental footprint of dairy production and to develop innovative societal models for our partner farmers.

At the end of the first three years of agreements with APBO (Association des Producteurs de lait Bel Ouest), Bel paid approximately 11% more for milk than the conventional market average. This agreement gives visibility to farmers and aims to support them in implementing sustainable practices: access to pasture for cows (minimum 150 days/year), 100% GMO-free animal feed, a carbon footprint reducation in 50% of farms in France by 2020…

 

Another example of the group’s commitment to sustainable agriculture is the launch of a pilot project in the United States for regenerative agriculture.

Ensuring animal welfare

A sustainable dairy sector also requires respect for animal welfare. We have developed a specific charter with the experts of the CIWF (Compassion in World Farming) association, in hopes of certifying all our producers’ farms for animal welfare by 2025.
This charter includes 5 categories of commitments: freedom of movement, living conditions, care and monitoring of the herd’s good health, calf welfare and end of life of the animals.

For many years we have been promoting access to pasture for cows, which is beneficial to both the animal and the preservation of biodiversity.

In 2020, 90% of milk came from cows with access to pasture in traditional pastoral areas.

Committing to responsible sourcing of our raw materials

Some of our products include plant-based materials (fats, proteins). For these products, just as with milk, we aim for the same high level of commitment, whether in terms of nutritional quality, or responsible sourcing, particularly in the fight against deforestation.

In 2020, 94.5% of palm oil came from RSPO certified and segregated chains.

Given our presence in the healthy fruit snacking market with the MOM Group, we are committed to offering the best fruit has to offer and promoting sustainable farming methods.

100% of fresh apples in France come from orchards labelled “Vergers Écoresponsables”.

In the United States, 22% of the supply of fresh apples is organic.

 

To go further...

  • 100% of milk from cows fed without GMOs by 2025
  • 100% of milk from cows with access to pasture in traditional pastoral areas
  • 100% of farms certified for animal welfare by a third party in 202