We are continuously working to minimize the environmental impacts of our products. Through our commitment to responsible sourcing, packaging, manufacturing and transportation of our products, we have continued to achieve growth in our business while creating a more positive global impact. Our goals, such as helping to achieve zero net deforestation and reaching 100% sustainably sourced seafood, are prime examples of strategies that benefit the environment while ensuring future supply security for our private brand products.
When we analyze products’ environmental impact, we consider every stage of the value chain. We look at impacts on waste (from production, packaging, retail and consumption), greenhouse gas emissions, water, biodiversity and land use. As we move toward our 2020 ambition, we aim to lessen those impacts across all our private brand product ranges. In 2012, we started to involve private brand suppliers in the analysis process. We will continue to work with them to identify product improvements that address the environmental impacts we have targeted.
Some of our private brand ranges are already dedicated to meeting the highest standards in environmental performance. These include “Eco” and “Bio” in Belgium, “Terra Leaf” and “Bio” in Greece, “Bio” in Bulgaria, Indonesia, Serbia and Romania, and “Nature’s Place” in the U.S. These clearly defined product ranges carry a distinct label or brand based on specific environmental standards (such as certified organic, or the EU eco-label).
EUR 174 million, or 3% of our sales from private brand products with a sustainable label*
*Sustainable labels based on both environmental and social criteria
Key global commodities rely heavily on new plantations in the tropics, which are often created by cutting down high conservation value rainforest to produce palm oil, soy or timber for pulp and paper. These actions contribute to climate change, creating 20% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. They also destroy important habitats. Delhaize Group’s objective is to discontinue sourcing products and ingredients from regions that are being deforested and to form industry partnerships that build broader transparency and sustainability within the supply chain. Our deforestation objective is linked to The Consumer Goods Forum’s (CGF) board resolution on deforestation, and we are aligned with the retailers and manufacturers working with the CGF to stop sourcing products that are linked to deforestation.
The Consumer Goods Forum Board Resolution on Deforestation
“As the Board of The Consumer Goods Forum we pledge to mobilise resources within our respective businesses to help achieve zero net deforestation by 2020.
We will achieve this both by individual company initiatives and by working collectively in partnership with governments and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs). Together we will develop specific, time bound and cost effective action plans for the different challenges in sourcing commodities like palm oil, soya, beef, paper and board in a sustainable fashion. We will also work with other stakeholders - NGOs, Development Banks, Governments, etc. - to create funding mechanisms and other practical schemes that will incentivise and assist forested countries to conserve their natural assets and enable them to achieve the goal of zero net deforestation, whilst at the same time meeting their goals for economic development.”
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This year, our primary achievement in moving toward zero net deforestation was to increase transparency in our sourcing of palm oil. This allows us to see which of our products include palm oil and where the oil is coming from. So far, Delhaize Belgium has evaluated more than 80% of its private brand food products, documenting usage of palm oil and assessing its sustainability. Delhaize Belgium looked for opportunities to replace palm oil with sunflower oil or rapeseed oil. When substitution is not possible, and when the quality of the product demands the use of palm oil, Delhaize Belgium requires suppliers to use certified sustainable palm oil. Read more about Delhaize Belgium’s work in our case study, “In Pursuit of Sustainable Palm Oil.”Case Study
We have also built strategic partnerships with suppliers and industry stakeholders in order to access critical supply chain information. In 2012, Delhaize Group joined the Roundtable for Responsible Soy (RTRS), an international collaboration dedicated to developing and certifying sustainable soy. Through our support of RTRS and our work with private brand suppliers to understand soy in our supply chain, we aim to increase use of sustainable soy in our supply chain.
In 2012, we began analyzing our sourcing of other commodities, such as paper, that are linked to global deforestation through a new partnership with The Forest Trust (TFT). We started the partnership with a focus on Indonesia, which has been significantly impacted by deforestation. The first step was mapping the supply chain for palm oil and paper products that may have links to deforestation. As we move toward our 2020 objective of zero net deforestation, we will continue mapping our supply chain and adopting sourcing policies and practices that ensure our private brand products do not contribute to global deforestation.
Demand for seafood continues to grow in all markets, but many global fisheries and aquaculture operations are not managed sustainably. We want all the seafood we sell to be sustainably sourced and are committed to using sourcing policies that support healthy, sustainable fisheries for generations to come. As a result, we have articulated a Delhaize Group Vision for Sustainable Seafood: Working together with our suppliers, customers and expert organizations we are committed to ensuring that seafood is harvested at levels that maintain their availability for both present and future generations.
Both Delhaize America and Delhaize Belgium have developed sustainable seafood policies to guide their work in this area. We are proud to report that both operating companies achieved sustainable seafood milestones in 2012—one of our most significant sustainable sourcing successes. Effective March 31, 2012, all fresh, frozen and canned seafood products sold in Delhaize America stores have been assessed against Delhaize America’s sustainable seafood policy (Food Lion, Hannaford, Sweetbay) and are fully traceable to their wild fishery or farm of origin.
And from the end of 2012 onward, Delhaize Belgium stores only offer sustainably caught fresh fish. Delhaize Belgium also aspires to sustainably source all of its frozen and canned fish, in accordance with its sustainable seafood policy (Delhaize Belgique, Delhaize België). As of November 2012, 80% of frozen fish was already sustainably sourced. In 2013, Delhaize Belgium aims to reach 100% sustainable frozen fish. Read more about these operating companies’ achievements in sustainable seafood in our case study, “Two Sound Approaches to Sustainable Seafood”.Case Study
Delhaize America: all fresh, frozen and canned seafood products are assessed against the company's Sustainable Seafood Policy (and are fully traceable to their wild fishery or farm of origin)
Delhaize Belgium: 100% of fresh seafood products are sustainably sourced, as defined by the company's Sustainable Seafood Policy
Includes both private brands and national brands products
Our operating companies in Southeast Europe and Indonesia are at the beginning of their journeys toward sustainable seafood. For example, Mega Image in Romania aims to improve its ability to trace seafood ingredients and encourage the adoption of sustainable fishing practices. In 2012, it took an important step forward, surveying its private label fish suppliers to evaluate sourcing throughout the supply chain.
Collaborations with scientific partners, including the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership, Stichting De Noordzee and the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, have been critical in our efforts to develop sustainable seafood harvest protocols.