Major steps made in energy reduction
We are aware of our substantial impact on the environment and the responsibility we have to keep this to an absolute minimum. The public and our stakeholders also demand this more frequently. Reducing energy consumption (gas and electricity) is one of the key environmental focus areas that Van Geloven is actively and demonstrably concentrating on to reduce our impact on the environment and increase our company’s returns.
ISO 14001 certification
Van Geloven’s industrial plants in Maastricht and Mol in Belgium are ISO 14001 certified. Although our staff at our plants in Tilburg and Helmond work in accordance with ISO 14001 certification principles, they have not yet been officially certified. We do not aspire to this certificate for the time being because this would only increase our administrative burden in respect of our present working system.
Considerable progress in the LTA
In 2001, Van Geloven was one of the first to join the long-term agreement (LTA) for energy efficiency in the meat sector at what is now the Netherlands Enterprise Agency. LTA3 took effect in 2012 and our Tilburg, Helmond and Maastricht locations have been participating in this ever since. Our location in Mol is not a participant because this only applies to Dutch companies. The LTA commitment means that snack manufacturers endeavour to achieve an annual energy reduction of 2% in gas and electricity per ton produced. Compared to the LTA in 2001, the challenge to increase profits currently lies in the processes in particular, because we have already made considerable progress in many fields. For this reason, we are looking for options to generate sustainable energy ourselves and cooperating closely with relevant government bodies and other parties - such as our suppliers - to examine potential forms of collaboration in the supply chain. Van Geloven is also examining new forms of technology to find out whether this could contribute to our sustainability objectives. And of course, we are also on the lookout for other options for using (more) sustainable energy. With respect to electricity, Van Geloven has consciously decided to purchase grey energy only. Using green energy costs extra money that we would rather use for investments in reducing our energy consumption.
3% gas reduction already achieved
Generally speaking, we have noticed that Van Geloven uses a relatively large amount of energy. For example, our high gas consumption is due to the fact that Van Geloven pasteurises all its products. This requires a great deal of heat which is primarily obtained from gas. We have already achieved a 3% reduction in the amount of gas used per ton of production volume between 2009 and 2013. We did this in part by heating water using residual heat released from the gases in the steam boilers and thermal oil systems. Since the gas is mainly used in the steam boilers and thermal oil systems to cook and pasteurise our products, there are not very many options available for further improvement. The fluctuations in our gas consumption are mainly caused by the weather.
Almost 10% reduction in electricity
Our high electricity consumption is due to the number of machines used to manufacture the products. Moreover, most of our snacks are delivered at a temperature of minus 18 degrees Celsius. The cooling process from pasteurisation temperature to this ultimate temperature uses a lot of electricity. Together with frozen storage of raw materials and end products, this accounts for more than 50% of our electricity consumption. Incidentally, a reduction of almost 10% in our electricity consumption per ton of production volume was achieved between 2009 and 2013, despite the intrinsically high electricity consumption. We were able to do this by improving freezer control and installing more frequency inverters. We observed an increase in electricity consumption in the 2013-2015 period. This was due to an increase in co-packing activities that use additional energy and human energy that was replaced by electrical energy as a result of further automation. In 2016, the gas and electricity consumption fell slightly relative to 2015. In Mol, an IQF freezer was put into use in 2016, which represents a transition from Freon as a coolant to NH3, which led to a reduction in total energy consumption. In Maastricht, the lighting was replaced, leading to energy savings of 0.423 TJ. At this location, energy savings of 1.329 TJ were achieved through the fermentation of wet sludge from waste water.
Van Geloven also calculates its CO2 footprint (scope 1 and 2) on the basis of the gas, electricity and fuel oil we use. Compared to preceding years, we observed an increase in CO2 emissions for the first time in 2014. This was caused by the increase in our electricity consumption. In 2015, the CO2 emissions continued to increase slightly, and stayed at this level in 2016. The calculation for 2016 was made on the basis of a provisional emission factor. We will update this as soon as the emission factor for 2016 is known.