Sustainability underpins VanDrie Group’s Policy

Sustainability is one of the five pillars of the VanDrie Group strategy. Read our blog to find out what steps are being taken throughout the chain to increase sustainability even more!


10 October is Sustainability Day. But to us, each day is Sustainability Day, for sustainability is one of the five pillars of our strategy and forms the basis of all VanDrie Group policy. We are fully aware of the challenges we face to further increase the sustainability of our chain. What are we doing to address this? Find out in this blog!

Several Routes to Paris

The Paris Climate Conference in 2015 led to a climate agreement that was signed by 174 countries. The agreement set limits on the emission of greenhouse gases in order to counteract global warming. In the meantime, the agreement has engendered change at a national level in many countries. The challenge to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases affects our companies, too.

The activities of our chain create an impact, such as the use of resources, waste and CO2 emissions. However, we endeavour to minimise the size our ecological footprint as much as possible. It is how we will remain future-proof in the long term and play a pivotal role in a sustainable and resilient food chain. We are pursuing several routes to achieve the objectives we have set ourselves.

Increasing Energy Efficiency in Production

We do everything we can in our companies to conserve energy. One of those things is requiring our subsidiaries to be ISO 14001 certified. ISO 14001 is a series of international standards that specifies the requirements of an environmental management system. It is used to develop environmental policy appropriate to the organisation and to guarantee its implementation.

By complying with ISO 14001 standards, the VanDrie Group is not only taking steps in the field of energy reduction, but also noise pollution, odour, waste reduction and water consumption and pollution. All Dutch feed companies of the VanDrie Group now comply with this certification. The objective is for Dutch meat processing companies to follow suit in 2020.

Sustainable Raw Materials Purchasing

When purchasing raw materials for animal feed, the VanDrie Group pays close attention to sustainability requirements. We have been making our raw material flows more sustainable for many years. As a result, our work is largely circular, with our feed companies playing a pivotal role. Approximately 80% of our calf milk consists of residual waste flows such as whey, skimmed milk powder and permeate (residual waste flows from the dairy and cheese industries).

In addition, by-products make up a significant proportion of the muesli that calves eat. Approximately 30% of these products come from residual waste flows from arable farming (grain processing and oilseeds) and the food industry.

We monitor the composition of our feeds closely and make conscious choices for efficiency and sustainable raw materials. Our research and development department carries the torch in this respect.  We strongly believe in the power of innovation in the continuous development of efficient, healthy and sustainable calf feeds.

Solid Stall Systems

We also see opportunities for our veal farms; there’s much to be gained in terms of sustainability on farms. Take ‘low-emission stall systems’, for instance. A transition in stall systems needs to ensure that emissions of ammonia, methane, odour and particulate matter are reduced at source through changes in the collection, storage and further processing of manure.

Although accelerated modernisation of stalls is a very heavy burden on veal farmers from a business point of view, it is great from an ecological perspective. It is estimated that the new stall systems can achieve a minimum 60% reduction in emissions in calf husbandry compared to 2019. We’re embarking upon this major transition in close cooperation with our stakeholders.

Partnerships to Achieve Goals

We are working hard in each link of our chain to reduce impact. We combat waste through the improved creation of value from residual waste flows, we reduce energy consumption, we decrease our transport kilometres and lower farm emissions. And the results are encouraging. Veal-sector emissions account for 3% of all Dutch livestock farming’s greenhouse gas emissions. Between 1990 and 2016, the veal footprint was reduced 50% from 14.1 kg CO2-eq/kg carcass weight in 1990 to 7.1 kg CO2-eq/kg carcass weight in 2016. We will continue working to achieve even better results. And with that, sustainability will remain solidly at the base of VanDrie Group policy, today and into the future!

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