Welcome to our more sustainable world
Eggs with respect for chicks
Better welfare for our chickens
Our sea farm
Freezer containers with liquid ice
The passion of our cattle farmers
Green electricity at DATS 24
Space for organic pigs
Reuse of materials
Kangourou goes greener
New water treatment plant
Energy Agriculture Mobility
raised for meat
Learning on the job
Partnership with Food Banks
Our reusable water bottle
Working together towards good
Living together Working together
working conditions Living together
Nutritional improvements and
Published by: Jo Willemyns, nv Colruyt Group Services S.A., Edingensesteenweg 196, B-1500 Halle. Tel: +32 (0)2 363 55 45 On the cover: Cattle farmer Kristof Planckaert sets great store by animal welfare. Read more on p. 23.
Doing business sustainably ... Colruyt Group is a business in which more than 30.000 employees set to work creating added value sustainably every day. For more than fifty years, sustainability has run through all of our activities as a common thread. In the early years of the business, it was for reasons of economy, to improve our chances of survival. Nowadays, we take it much further, because a business isn’t just about the figures. In everything we do, we look at the effect on people and the environment. Our ambitions are far-reaching: we want to be a reference point for sustainable entrepreneurship in Belgium. We do business with focus and respect for our planet and its inhabitants, human and animal. Accordingly, we want to offer our customers the opportunity to consume more consciously. More than that, I’m convinced that by constantly taking the initiative we help inspire others. Because only together can we take care of our planet and secure our future. We put many people and resources into realising our ambitions. So, I’m proud of what we’ve achieved over the years, while realising that sustainable entrepreneurship never ends. Many of the solutions remain to be discovered and built. That’s why we constantly invest in meaningful initiatives - large and small - and do our very best to make a positive difference together day after day. Our more than 150 sustainability projects, encompassing every part of the company, are the finest proof of this. You’ll find a small selection of them in this publication. I would like to thank all colleagues and partners for helping build our more sustainable world. Thanks too to our customers for their support and feedback.
Jef Colruyt CEO Colruyt Group
... to consume more consciously Only together can you make a difference. At Colruyt Group we’re fully aware of this. That’s why we encourage all of our partners throughout the supply chain to help tackle our sustainability challenges. From producer to consumer. You can tell this from the offer in our stores. We’re committed to reusable, recyclable and compostable packaging. Less added sugar, salt and fat boost the nutritional values of many of our own brand products. And we’re forming more and more partnerships with local farmers. Through ‘Step by step’, we inspire our customers to make sustainable choices. Products, services and initiatives with strong ambitions and a demonstrable impact on the environment, society, animal welfare or health – four themes that are close to both our hearts – are given an identifiable icon. We inform and inspire our customers with tangible proof, showing that even everyday choices can really make a difference. In this way, we want to meet our customers‘ requirements with respect and readiness to serve. And lend them a hand to consume more sustainably, step by step. Because our future is in our own hands.
Marc Hofman COO Retail
Step by step towards a better environment Care for the environment is deeply rooted in Colruyt Group’s DNA. From the very start, we have sought out and invested in big and small initiatives that have a positive impact on our living environment. Because, as a retailer, we realise we have an impact on the environment and climate. And we’re working to reduce this impact, step by step. Our basic principles? We avoid CO2 emissions, reduce our emissions in general and constantly seek solutions with the least impact on the climate. For this reason, we are firmly committed to projects that make our refrigeration and heating, mobility and energy consumption and production more sustainable. We also use raw materials sparingly, throughout the supply chain. In every project, we try to minimise our water footprint and pay attention to the consequences for biodiversity. Because we also realise that we have only one earth. The strong focus on this pillar and the seven associated programmes is clear. This not only illustrates the importance we attach to a better environment, but also points to the confidence and positive vision with which we at Colruyt Group look forward to the future of our planet.
Thank you, Aurore. Thanks to you and your team, we can give customers reliable information to make environmentally aware choices.
PROGRAMME all environment programmes
The Eco-Score helps customers make more environmentally conscious choices The footprint of your shopping trolley “Before your food reaches your plate, it’s produced, processed, packaged, transported, chilled ... That takes lots of energy and raw materials. So, the impact of our food on the environment shouldn’t be underestimated. The good news? We can make a difference by consuming in a more environmentally conscious way. To encourage this and make it easier, in March 2021 we became the first Belgian retailer to launch the Eco-Score: a guide that shows the environmental impact of food products.”
A complex method ... “The calculation of the Eco-Score covers the whole path a food product takes: from raw material and production to waste disposal. At each step in this cycle, various factors are analysed, such as energy consumption and air pollution. A specific product can also earn extra plus or minus points based on factors such as the sustainability labels awarded, the origin of the ingredients and the recyclability of the
packaging. Depending on the final score, the product is assigned a letter and colour code from A (green, low ecological impact) to E (red, high impact).”
… for simpler choices “Our colleagues at SmartWithFood calculate the Eco-Score of many of our own brand food products and make this available in the Xtra, MyColruyt and SmartWithFood apps and on the websites of Bio-Planet and Colruyt. Last summer, we also tested displaying it on some packaging. On Boni mayonnaise, for example. The guide shows you at a glance which products are recommended and which ones you should limit to minimise your impact on the environment. So you can easily compare and shop quickly in an environmentally friendly way. The EcoScore is first and foremost a means of informing consumers and raising awareness. If, as a result, they decide to make more sustainable purchases, that’s even better!” Aurore Brunson – Product Sustainability Centre of Excellence (Eco-Score)
• This year we will make the Eco-Score available for more products from both our own and national brands via our online tools. We are also adding the guide to the Collect&Go website and app. • By the end of 2022, we want to add the Eco-Score to the packaging of all Boni food products. • Based on life cycle analyses, we will assess the ecological impact of our own brand products and then work with our suppliers to reduce it. Want to know more? Go to eco-score.be
PROGRAMME raw materials
Smarter packaging “Good product packaging is important: it protects, allows food to be kept for longer and often conveys important information. At Colruyt Group, we systematically improve the sustainability of our range, including the packaging. Our ambition is far-reaching. We consider all aspects of sustainability: use of raw materials, recycling, food waste, transport …” “For fresh products, we focus most on extending shelf life. This is because the environmental impact of food waste tends to be much greater than that of the packaging. For example, according to research by our R&D&I department, Boni chicory now stays fresh up to twice as long thanks to the new packaging with microperforations. For products with a longer shelf life, we try to reduce the environmental impact of the packaging itself via ecodesign. Leaving out, reducing and reusing packaging, using sustainable materials and focusing on recycling also ensure a lower environmental impact.” Nelle Thyssen – Product Sustainability Centre of Excellence (Sustainable packaging)
• By 2025 we want all of our household packaging to be reusable, recyclable, compostable or biodegradable. • By 2023 we want to make all plastic beverage packaging to consist of at least 25% of recycled plastic (rPET). By 2025 we will increase this to 50%.
The first sea farm in the North Sea “We Belgians eat around 30.000 tonnes of mussels every year. All imported! Because none are currently cultivated in our North Sea. That’s not easy: our sea is extremely rough with very strong currents. Despite this we’re taking up the challenge of building a sea farm that’s fully adapted to this. The goal? To have the first Belgian mussels in our stores by 2023!” “The results of our initial environmental study were positive. In view of this, we believe that the facility will give a boost to biodiversity in and around the sea farm. It can act as a haven and breeding ground for fish and other marine life, so that populations increase and biodiversity improves. Another advantage? Mussels feed exclusively on natural nutrients from the sea, filtering the water in the process. And they store CO2 in their shells. Incidentally, oceans and seas form one of the largest CO2 buffers on earth.” “What’s more, we’re making eco-friendly choices. For example, we make maximum use of materials that are recycled or produced in Belgium. And we opt for line farming technology in which the mussels grow on longlines floating in the sea. An approach with a lower impact on the seabed and therefore on marine life.” Jonas Goeteyn – Project manager sea farm
Freezer containers with liquid ice “Every day we transport frozen products to more than 400 stores in Belgium and Luxembourg. We use 2.300 liquid ice freezer containers for this, related to our liquid ice containers for fresh products. Both types of refrigerated containers are developed by us and use liquid ice.” “Liquid ice is like slushies. It’s a frozen but liquid mixture of water and an additive – for our freezer containers, this is salt. This cold slurry is sprayed onto the sides of the container. The container is filled with products and then sets off for the store. On returning to the distribution centre, the goo is cooled again. Not a drop is wasted.” “Our freezer containers with liquid ice have at least 73% less impact on climate change than traditional CO2 refrigerated containers. And thanks to the greater loading volume, trucks have to make fewer journeys. We also make our liquid ice using green electricity. Another way to avoid CO2 emissions.”
By the end of 2022, all CO2 freezer containers for Colruyt Lowest Prices, BioPlanet and OKay will be replaced by liquid ice containers. This contributes to our general CO2 target: by the end of 2030, we want to reduce our direct greenhouse gas emissions by 40% compared with the base year of 2008, in comparison to revenue.
Peter De Bonte – Project engineer Technics & Real Estate
100% green, Belgian electricity from DATS 24
“At Colruyt Group, we’ve gradually been phasing in self-produced green electricity to cover our own energy consumption for several years. We also supply this electricity to major companies. This spring, we took the next big step: as well as being an energy supplier, DATS 24 also became active on the retail energy market with natural gas and 100% green electricity for households in Flanders and Wallonia. Everyone who signs up for green electricity ensures that demand for fossil fuels and nuclear energy falls. Customers can choose where their green electricity comes from: Parkwind’s offshore wind turbines off the Belgian coast, the wind turbine on the Dassenveld site in Halle or our partner Vanheede’s cogeneration plant in Quévy. By letting them choose for themselves from which Belgian source they get their electricity, we make the sustainability aspect highly tangible. Customers pay the same low price for each source.” “To highlight this new step, DATS 24 published its first book: ‘Een huis boordevol energie’. This book whose title means ‘A house full of energy’ is packed with tips to help you tackle your home energy consumption more effectively. Because using energy more efficiently also reduces CO2 emissions.” Ludo Debecker – Marketeer Energy DATS 24 9
Green hydrogen: sustainable fuel PROGRAMME agriculture
New supply chain for Belgian organic bread “Growing bread wheat, especially organic bread wheat, is financially uncertain for Belgian crop farmers. That’s why you won’t find much 100% Belgian organic bread on the shelves. For this reason, Colruyt Group set up a new Belgian supply chain for organic bread wheat this year, with eight partners: five organic crop farmers, a miller, a bakery and organic supermarket Bio-Planet. Altogether, the crop farmers sowed twelve hectares of bread wheat and we hope to be able to harvest around 55 tonnes of organic wheat this year, depending on the weather of course. From the autumn, the bread will be available at Bio-Planet.” Saskia De Block – Department manager Agriculture & Fishery “In organic farming, crop rotation is extremely important. Cereal cultivation is essential as a rest crop for the farmer and the soil and gives the opportunity to invest in a follow-up crop that’s good for carbon storage, erosion control and nitrogen management. I deliberately choose products with added value, such as bread wheat. But a local market and the right price are also decisive factors. That guarantee exists since all partners enter into a sustainable supply chain commitment. And that facilitates and justifies the step to breadmaking cereals for me as an organic farmer.” Guy Depraetere – Organic farmer (photo)
“In addition to our CNG offer and our electric charging points, we strongly believe in the potential of green hydrogen as a sustainable fuel. Hydrogen is a 100% renewable, clean fuel that only emits water vapour. For several years now we’ve led the way by producing our own green hydrogen on our Dassenveld site in Halle, using energy from our wind turbines. Since 2018, customers have also been able to fill their cars with hydrogen at our DATS 24 filling station there. We want to expand this service: by the end of this year we want to offer hydrogen via five DATS 24 filling stations in Belgium.” “The development of a network of public hydrogen filling stations is just one example of our belief in this green fuel. We’re rolling out 75 hydrogen-powered forklift trucks at our Dassenveld distribution centre. And through various European partnerships, we’re testing green hydrogen not just for cars, but for heavy trucks too.” Jonas Cautaerts – Head of Innovation & Business Development DATS 24 Via our energy holding company Virya Energy and in partnership with Fluxys, we are also helping build Hyoffwind, the first industrial power-to-gas installation for green hydrogen. This is scheduled to go into operation in 2023. Large-scale production will make green hydrogen more affordable.
A new lease of life for our materials “To prevent waste, we try to reuse or recycle building materials and furnishings where possible. They’re regularly repurposed. But they often have to be cleaned or freshened up first. For example, old chairs are sanded down and repainted. This summer, we provided around 130 ‘new’ chairs for the canteen at the distribution centre in Londerzeel alone. We also do up shelves. Last year, that cost 202.772 euros. That’s a lot of money, but it would have cost us more than twice as much to buy new ones. We’ve now tested click walls in three stores too. We want to use more and more of them because they can perfectly be reused. Another initiative that’s not just good for the environment but for our wallet too. From the second time you use them, they more or less pay for themselves.” Jurgen Vandenneucker – Head of Carpentry department
PROGRAMME raw materials
Our group has signed up to the Green Deal Circular Construction and the Green Deal Circular Procurement, initiatives of the Flemish government among others to make our economy completely circular by 2050 and reuse all waste as a raw material. We are committed to launching new projects and participating in the learning network.
PROGRAMME raw materials
Kangourou makes school collection more sustainable “School supplies from Kangourou, Dreamland’s private label, have been a top performer for years thanks to the hip designs, top quality and budget-friendly prices. Now it has an added advantage: sustainability. Last year, in partnership with the Product Sustainability and Quality departments, we began using recycled materials for our primary school collection, which makes up around 60% of our offer.” “The outer fabric of the satchels, rucksacks, swimming bags and pencil cases is made from recycled PET bottles. In the coming months, we’ll finetune production, improving the sustainability of our collections for pre-schoolers and teenagers along the way. By the 2023 Back-to-School campaign, we want to make the entire Kangourou collection more sustainable.”
Don’t call waste water waste “It’s perfectly possible to turn it into drinking quality water! At large consumer Fine Food Meat, we treated 56% of the waste water in 2020 – more than 109 million litres – and more than 4 million litres of rainwater. And we’re busy building a new water treatment plant. This will treat the waste water from Wilgenveld, Elbeek and Dassenveld: three sites that together account for one quarter of our group’s water consumption. Every year, the plant will treat 90 million litres of waste water, turning it into 81 million litres of drinking quality water. The rainwater at Dassenveld is collected and partially treated as well. Thanks to circular water management, our mains water requirement on those sites will be reduced by 90% from 2022, and we’ll minimise our water footprint.” Geert Van Liefferinge – Project engineer Technics & Real Estate Our goal is to derive 50% of our water consumption from treated waste water and rainwater by 2025. At the same time, we aim for zero discharge of rainwater into the sewers.
Demi Van Kerkhoven – Buyer Dreamland 11
Step by step towards a better society As a retailer, we form an integral part of society and are in close contact with consumers, producers, local residents, investors, organisations and authorities. We want to create added value for all of these links in the chain and for society in general. We are active partners in collaborative projects with organisations that give the vulnerable in our society a helping hand. In our own country, we do that through sheltered workshops or Food Banks. And far beyond. For instance, there are supply chain projects with family agricultural producers in developing countries. With Collibri Foundation we concentrate mainly on young people, both in economically developing regions and in Belgium. This is because we are convinced that investing in opportunities for learning and development beneﬁts everyone: the people who need this and society as a whole. Finally, we believe that sustainable economic growth is only possible if it is achieved in a socially acceptable manner. With respect for one another's rights. That’s why we aim to create a stimulating working environment and advocate for greater transparency in every link in the chain.
Thank you, Alizée. Thanks to you many vulnerable young people can grow professionally and personally.
PROGRAMME living together
Collibri Foundation: focus on training for young people Within Belgium and abroad
“Collibri Foundation is a foundation of Colruyt Group. Our mission is clear: to offer young people living in difficult circumstances the chance of a better future, thanks to education, training and exchange. We help young people through two programmes: one abroad, as the main focus of our work, and the other in Belgium. To ensure a joined-up approach, the foundation links its activities to Colruyt Group’s core business. This means that most of our education projects abroad run in sectors in which Colruyt Group is active via supply chain projects.”
From fund to foundation
“The King Baudouin Foundation oversaw Collibri Foundation’s various projects for around ten years. It was responsible for selecting new projects and overseeing their running. During that time, Collibri Foundation took the form of a ‘company fund’ that financed the projects and had a right of inspection. In 2020, Colruyt Group decided to take control itself, turning it into an autonomous foundation. This was also a step towards greater
involvement of the group: on the one hand by increasing the budget for the foundation and recruiting a specific team and on the other hand by strengthening ties between Colruyt Group’s employees and the Collibri Foundation. This takes place through various projects: fundraising, moments of exchange with young people, volunteering, network sharing ...”
17 education projects
“We run five projects in Belgium and twelve abroad. For example in Nicaragua, a country that supplies cocoa for Colruyt Group chocolate. There we offer young farmers the opportunity to study cocoa growing: they learn to apply innovative techniques and to manage their farming businesses. In Belgium, we’ve recently begun supporting Brussels-based non-profit organisation Capital. This engages in improving social mobility for young people. The organisation was set up by a former participant in the Boost project, an educational project which the foundation also supports. A former student launching a new project - something to be proud of!”
Alizée du Bus de Warnaffe – Manager Collibri Foundation
• From 2022, we want to extend the reach of the foundation by increasing the number of projects and assigning greater financial support to each project. • We would also like to build ties between all stakeholders: the young people helped by our projects, our partners (the NGOs) and the group’s employees. • We have launched a pilot project with our sales employees in Brussels to investigate how we can involve them more in our projects. We want to roll out this project to all of our stores. • This year, we are organising the fifth edition of Tomorrow’s Voices, an event at which the young participants from our projects meet one another and share experiences.
Dual learning: more opportunities thanks to vocational college
PROGRAMME learning together
“With dual learning, we combine classroom learning with on-the-job experience. The principle is not new, but while in the past the emphasis was on working, for the last two years the learning process has been placed at the forefront. At Colruyt Group we offer these training programmes for butchers, stores, technology and logistics. During the 2020-2021 academic year, 156 students followed the twoyear course with us. I train secondary students to become warehouse employees. Health and safety, for example are very important in a distribution centre. We start with that. After eight weeks’ practical training, the newcomers are able to work independently and gain experience in the workplace. They also learn how to respond to feedback or cope with a high workload. Finally, the students acquire a basic knowledge of the other national language, as our teams are bilingual.” “For students who are tired of school, dual learning increases the chance of leaving school with qualifications. They also acquire skills that give them a head start in the job market. Students who successfully complete the two-year course are also less likely to find themselves among the young unemployed later. Even for those who enjoy going to school, the work experience makes it easier for them to fit into the world of work.” Jeroen Willems – Team manager Collect&Go distribution centre
Making good use of food waste
PROGRAMME living together
“At Colruyt Group, we’re proud of how we put our surplus food to good use. Where possible, we donate unsold products to overarching organisations that distribute them among people experiencing hardship: Foodsavers, the Red Cross and Food Banks. The Belgian Federation of Food Banks, for example, distributes the food among more than 630 recognised social organisations and local charities, which were able to help more than 175.000 people in need in 2020 as a result.”
By 2025 we want to use at least 40% of our unsold food which remains consumable for human or animal consumption.
In 2020, we sold 97,33% of our fresh and frozen products. Of the surplus food remaining from our stores or distribution centres, 4.504 tonnes went to good causes, representing more than 9 million meals. And the percentage of surplus food we allocate for human consumption keeps rising. In this way, we avoid food waste and help those who are struggling at the same time. And, as of last year, we also distribute non-food products: Valentine or Halloween items, underwear, toys ... Donations are made either directly in store or centrally from distribution centres. This makes the collection process as simple as possible.” Anne Verdoolaege – Environmental coordinator
Product as driver for a better society
PROGRAMME working together
“As an international market player, we set great store by correct working conditions: in our own business and among producers and suppliers throughout the supply chain. For the fruit and vegetables sector, we work with competing colleagues and suppliers within SIFAV (Sustainability Initiative Fruit and Vegetables). By joining forces, we want to reduce the environmental footprint and guarantee better social working conditions for fruit and vegetable growers abroad. We also monitor suppliers of our own brand products, via certification and social audits for compliance with the rules around the minimum age for employees, fair pay, a healthy workplace ... If the business partner needs support, we consider together how we can make improvements. And sometimes, for instance if we sense a reluctance to initiate improvement processes, we end the partnership.” “In 2020 we audited working conditions at 487 suppliers from at-risk countries. 95% had an acceptable audit result, and the partnership was ended with three suppliers. So, the audits are paying off, but we continue to strive for continuous improvement. For example via international supply chain projects. This is our current focus. By 2025 we want to have realised twenty of them: fully transparent supply chains in which farmers are fairly rewarded and every link is a winner.” Karen Janssens – Product Sustainability Centre of Excellence (Sustainable sourcing)
Sustainable relationship with sheltered workshops
PROGRAMME living together
“We believe that it’s important to always have the right person in the right role, both within and outside our own organisation. That’s why we at Colruyt Group have worked with sheltered workshops for years and built a sustainable relationship with them. Through our partnership with 20 sheltered workshops we want to make our social contribution to the social economy and support people who can’t join the normal job circuit. Sheltered workshops are the ideal partner for some tasks: assembling gift boxes or beer baskets, repairing and labelling IT equipment and of course packing products. More than 1.000 different Colruyt Lowest Prices products are packed by sheltered workshops, from shower gel to cat food. In this way, sheltered workshops offer added value in the logistics chain, from the supplier to the consumer. So, it gave us great pleasure this year to agree to become an ambassador for sheltered workshops, highlighting our sustainable relationship with those businesses.” Lobke De Jong – Coordinator sheltered workshops
Step by step towards better animal welfare Thanks to animals, we can enjoy milk, eggs, honey, meat, wool and much more besides. So, it goes without saying that we should treat them with respect. That’s why we set our requirements for animal welfare. Fresh water and a healthy diet, of course. But also, for example, an environment in which they can display their normal behaviour. And, naturally, we want to protect them from pain, injury, disease, fear and stress. Sounds obvious, doesn’t it? And yet, animal welfare is a complex issue. Partly because it is sometimes difficult to strike a balance between animal welfare and impact on the environment. A positive step for one can mean a setback for the other. Consider animals that are allowed to roam freely outside: the more space you give them, the more land you need. There is a constant need to make sensible trade-offs. Together with our livestock breeders and suppliers, we take many initiatives to improve the living conditions of animals in our production chains. This is also a continuous learning curve in which we want to keep making improvements. We have already brought in extra know-how so that we will be able to launch new projects to continuously improve animal welfare, now and in the future.
Thank you, Annelies. Thanks to your efforts, the first ‘brotherless’ eggs from male chickenfriendly egg hatching stations are now in store.
PROGRAMME animal welfare
Eggs with respect for male chicks Sexing eggs
Annelies •“Every year, around 300 million male chicks from laying hens are killed shortly after hatching - day old male chicks. We want to avoid this. So, we researched methods for determining the sex of chicks while still in the egg, known as ‘sexing’. We opted for the Seleggt technique. This means that we can distinguish between male and female eggs after nine days’ brooding, without disrupting the brooding process. The eggs that would produce male chicks are then removed and processed into animal feed.
“Seleggt, the company that developed the method of the same name, will refine the technique further to enable selection earlier in the brooding process. It’s also scaling up the technique so that the method can ultimately become the standard for all egg production. Of course, we continue to investigate and assess other techniques in the market.”
Economic and eco-friendly
“At first, we wondered why the male chicks weren’t raised for consumption. But an egg-laying chicken needs three to four times as much food as a meat-producing chicken to become fully-grown. There’s also slightly less meat on a male chicken.
This means that fattening isn’t economically viable and would be very harmful to the environment.”
Bio-Planet leads the way
Lynn • “Annelies presented solutions for eliminating day old male chicks from egg production in a working group. She involved all the brands in this. I suggested that Bio-Planet take the lead in this project. After all, we often play a leading role within the group in improving the sustainability of the offer. In this way, we pave the way for the possible rollout of the Seleggt method of egg production to the other Colruyt Group brands. Meanwhile, our colleagues from Spar have joined in. At Bio-Planet, from September 2021, we’ll offer our customers the first Belgian egg range produced without day old male chicks. Spar will follow from the spring of 2022.”
“The next challenge is to make our consumers aware of the advantages of the Seleggt method. It’s a story that’s not easy to sum up in a single sentence, because the result has no effect on the eggs you find on our shelves. It’s a step towards improving the welfare of laying hens.”
Annelies De Spiegeleer – Product Sustainability Centre of Excellence (Animal Welfare) & Lynn Verreydt – Product group manager Bio-Planet
• From September 2021, you’ll find the first eggs produced without day old male chicks on the shelves at Bio-Planet, under the Boni Selection Bio label. The complete egg range will have been converted by the start of 2022. As the first supermarket to offer this type of Belgian organic eggs, we’re paving the way for other brands and other ranges. • From spring 2022, our Spar stores will stock two types of packs of Boni Selection Bio eggs produced using this method.
PROGRAMME animal welfare
Better welfare for chickens raised for meat “This summer, we took a big step towards improving animal welfare for chickens raised for meat. Colruyt Lowest Prices and OKay are the first Belgian retailers to switch to standard chickens raised for meat that fulfil the higher animal welfare criteria, based on the Better Chicken Commitment (BCC).This means that the chickens have 40% more space thanks to a lower stocking density per square metre. There will also be natural light in the barns, and we choose a slower growing breed. This means that the chickens will live longer: 49 to 56 days instead of 42 days. In addition, the animals have two metres of perch space and two foraging substrates (grains, straw) per 1.000 chickens. This encourages their natural behaviour. With these new criteria, we make it easier for our customers to make sustainable choices, and also hope to inspire others in the sector.”
“Colruyt and OKay are taking this a step further by hatching the chicks in the same barns in which they’ll be raised. As a result, the young animals are spared stressful transport and handling while being moved.They can begin to eat and drink according to their natural rhythm right away, which has a positive effect on their intestines and resilience. We find that they’re less likely to suffer from health problems such as infections and diarrhoea. And thanks to a drier ﬂoor, they have fewer foot injuries too. What’s more, this method generates no real additional cost: the chick costs more, but the fully grown chicken costs less. Thanks to the improved welfare, fewer die and up to 50% less antibiotics are used.” Philippe Toussaint – Product Sustainability Centre of Excellence (Animal welfare) •
The Better Chicken Commitment will be rolled out step by step. In any case, by the end of 2026, every standard chicken you buy in Colruyt and OKay’s butcher’s and frozen sections will fulfil the strict criteria. First of all, we’re giving the farmers time to make small adjustments. We decided to include Nestborn and similar method One2Born in the specifications for our chicken farmers. Based on successful pilot projects, we’ll get more poultry farmers interested in adopting this method.
The calmer the farmer, the calmer the cow “Together with my wife, I run ‘De Calvarieberg’ cattle farm in West Flanders. We do this with great passion and care for our animals. There’s no better way to go about this. The welfare of our cattle starts with their birth on our own farm. Thus we close the circle, thereby improving the health of the cows.” “We work on animal welfare through the ‘Vlaams Hoeverund’ cooperative, which I cofounded. You can find our farmers’ meat in Colruyt stores. We describe aspects of animal welfare in the cooperation agreement between Colruyt Group and our cooperative. This ensures that we keep a close eye on the health of our cows day by day, to cut down on the use of antibiotics. Our cows are given fresh straw to lie on every day. We shear them regularly and in the barn they can scratch themselves against an automatic cow brush. Through these interventions, we cut down on skin problems and the use of treatment products. Above all, this means extra comfort for them. We promote animal welfare within the cooperative, for example by organising group purchasing of these resources.” “Our cows live in the fields as much as possible. They have natural shady areas there. Their quality of life increases significantly by allowing them outside as much as possible. When they then go inside from November to March, we obviously make sure that there’s good ventilation. They are also free to walk around in the straw. Finally, we have good social contact with our animals. After all, the calmer the farmer, the calmer the cow.” Kristof Deraedt – Cattle farmer
PROGRAMME animal welfare
Space for organic pigs
PROGRAMME animal welfare
“For more than three years, we’ve worked with our Belgian partners BioVar.be and Delavi to set up a local, organic pork chain. BioVar.be is a modern pig farm in Ruiselede that pays great attention to the welfare and health of the animals. And, of course, we welcome that! The pigs are fed organically and given suﬃcient room: three to five times more than on a traditional farm. They can root around in the straw, walk around freely at all times and go outside ... And the piglets stay with their mother for an extra long time. The company makes an extra effort to satisfy the criteria for organic farming. For instance, the animals have seven times more natural light than is legally required. Incidentally, everyone is free to visit the viewing pen every day - not to be missed! Through BioVar.be, we want to support more pig farmers in switching to an organic approach or to more animal-friendly pens. And make it easier for our customers to consume more consciously. Since 2019, they’ve been able to buy the pork exclusively at Bio-Planet and Colruyt Lowest Prices.” Geert Hanssens – Head of partnerships agriculture
Step by step towards better health A healthier lifestyle? As a company, we like to make an extra effort here. For example, by making our range of own brand products more balanced and improving their nutritional value. And also by giving our customers information, tools and inspiration to empower them to make conscious food choices for themselves. Because, as a retailer, we’re ideally placed to do so. For instance, the Nutri-Score shows you at a glance which products are recommended and which ones you should limit. And the more than 10.000 recipes in our extensive database are compiled with a view to a varied and balanced diet. And we don’t just promote health via food. As an employer, we also invest strongly in our employees’ mental and physical health. By offering education, activities and training. But also by focusing on wellbeing on a daily basis. Our colleagues from The Connection or our conﬁdential advisers are always there to lend a listening ear or provide advice to anyone who needs it. When we make an effort to make our products healthier or suggest alternatives for a balanced lifestyle, we indicate this by the health icon. Making it easier to live more healthily, step by step.
Thank you, Ivyn and Anna. Thanks to you and your colleagues, the composition of our own brand products is becoming more and more balanced.
The nutritional values of our own brands? Better and better! Improvement where necessary
Ivyn • “Ever since 2014, we’ve been busy improving the nutritional composition of the products of our own brands Everyday, Boni Selection and Spar and meat products of Colruyt and OKay. We do this together with our suppliers and our own production departments. Our nutritionists analyse the composition and the recipe. We also compare our brands with similar products on the market, and then our quality managers investigate with the supplier how we can achieve the new goals. For instance, where necessary, we try to limit sugars, saturated fatty acids and salt, and increase the amount of fibre. We do that product by product. Meanwhile all products of our private labels Boni Selection and Everyday have undergone this optimisation process several times. We were able to make more than a few positive changes.”
More balanced without compromising on taste
“Well-balanced products are important, but of course we also want our products to remain tasty. “And components like
sugar and salt are what give a product its taste, texture and shelf life. Adjusting the nutritional value without sacrificing these properties is therefore a really big challenge. Our quality managers also take care of this. In addition, we invariably subject new and improved products to the critical scrutiny of consumers in taste and use tests before they appear on our shelves.”
Constant quest for substitutes for sugar
Anna • “Meanwhile, we want to take replacing sugars a step further. For the last two years, we’ve been experimenting with fibres that add a touch of sweetness. The results for products such as rice pudding, other puddings and muesli bars were very popular, but the cost is too high for now. We’re actively looking for innovative and popular alternatives to sugar. With the same properties, taste and structure, but better for our body. We hope to process these sugar substitutes mainly into products aimed at children, such as breakfast cereals. To help our customers enjoy more conscious and balanced nutrition.”
Ivyn Degeest – Product Sustainability Centre of Excellence (Health) & Anna Gryseels – Project manager R&D&I
• We aim to lead the market when it comes to nutritional composition. For this reason, we constantly perfect the nutritional value of our more than 3.500 own brand products and increase it where possible. • In the coming years, we want to continue our quest for innovative and healthy sugars or sugar substitutes that preserve the taste and texture of our products.
Water bottle for a healthier world “The idea came up during brainstorming: what if we gave all colleagues in our Colruyt stores a personalised reusable water bottle. To encourage them to drink tap water in a sustainable way? A great idea that was soon rolled out to all colleagues in the group. For World Water Day (22 March), every colleague in Belgium had their own reusable bottle. It’s handy to carry with you, it goes in the dishwasher and you can easily refill it, either on the go or from the drinking water taps or dispensers at work. With this free water bottle, we want to encourage every colleague to drink more water - at work and at home. Fill your personal bottle twice a day and you’re already close to the recommended one and a half litres of water per day. And everyone who uses their water bottle is also doing their bit for the environment. Because if we all use them everyday, together we save at least 6 million PET bottles per year.”
André Giglio - Sales manager Colruyt Lowest Prices
Learning to eat in a balanced and sustainable way “At the start of 2020, Colruyt Lowest Prices and Studio 100 launched ‘De Pottenlikkers’, an educational cooking programme made for and by children to promote a balanced diet. The goal: to allow children to experiment and learn in the kitchen in a playful and informal way and make them ambassadors for fruit and vegetables - to their peers and their parents. An initiative that won us this year’s ‘Ik ben meer dan mijn kassaticket’ award, which rewards initiatives that make healthy food easy and attractive to young people.” “To come up with all of our recipes, my three colleagues and I work as a close team. Each episode focuses on a seasonal fruit or vegetable. We believe that’s important. And we consider the nutritional value of each dish. For this we can count on the advice of our nutritionists. A cookery book, a magazine, recipes on our website and social media … we already had all that. But we continue to grow: this summer we set up our first pop-up restaurant at the Wonderweekend festival in Meise. In this way we hope to inspire even more children, and at the same time make it easier for parents to get their children to eat fruit and vegetables.”
Laura Waals – Culinary content creator
Lifestyle Check: how is your health? “The Lifestyle Check is an initiative we developed together with the inventors of the SmartWithFood app that helps make healthier nutritional choices. All Colruyt Group employees have now been given the chance to fill in a detailed lifestyle checklist online. This comprises sciencebased questionnaires about four aspects of health: diet, exercise, sleep, mental wellbeing and stress. We hold up a mirror to employees who want to take part: how is your health and what can you do about it?
“We’re excited to see the response and how many take part. We believe that the health of our colleagues in our group is very important. Above all, we hope to gain some high-level insights from the anonymised results. If we find, for example, that there’s further scope for growth in terms of healthy eating habits, we can tailor our internal training offer more closely to this.”
“After completing the checklist, participants receive a highly detailed report containing an overall score, detailed scores per aspect of health and personalised tips and tricks. Very informative, I’ve done it myself! (laughs) Where possible, we’ll also refer them to our internal offering of activities and trainings. Via the SmartWithFood app, participants will also be able to get personalised nutritional advice.”
Johan Lowette – VAK RESPONSIBLE Health & Safety
17 SDGs to report on
3 drivers to organise ourselves Product
More than 150 projects
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12 programmes to make a diﬀerence
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Our ambition to be a reference point for sustainable entrepreneurship and a source of inspiration for conscious consumption
Client 4 themes to consume more consciously
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Sustainability runs through all of our activities as a common thread. More than that: ‘To create sustainable added value’ is at the heart of our mission. Our sustainability policy is steered by three driving forces: product, infrastructure and people. For each of these pillars, we set clear goals, spread across twelve sustainability programmes. We realise these ambitions and goals via more than 150 concrete projects: activities with which we make a difference daily. Our efforts towards a more sustainable world also fit seamlessly with the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. These outline the challenges facing our world and are a driver and a touchstone for us. Naturally, we also like to involve our customers in our initiatives and efforts. We do this via our Step by Step icons, which inspire them and help them consume more consciously. As you can see, sustainability is a complex matter. In this booklet, we describe our efforts in more detail based on a selection of large and small sustainability projects of Colruyt Group. The video behind the QR code shows you in the form of animation how sustainability is embedded in our organisation. Enjoy watching, reading and listening!
for helping to build a more sustainable world! This booklet only shows a selection of more than 150 sustainability projects in which we are engaged on a daily basis. We are very proud of what we have already achieved together over the years. But we are equally aware that the sustainability story is never complete. That’s what inspires our constant dedication to making a positive difference together.
Discover more sustainability stories on colruytgroup.com