Page 1




d'Arta milestones


It’s a green green world’ because we care …


Scope of our sustainability report


d’Arta, a growing business true to its family roots


Company structure & values


Fresh frozen products catered to customer demand


S U S TA I N A B I L I T Y R E P O R T 2017

Our sustainability strategy


We care about people


d’Arta and its growers, keeping it close as family


Process for defining report content


Operating efficiently in any way possible


GRI content index


People, the main ingredient in our success


Pioneer in food safety and quality


Limiting the carbon footprint of our logistics



TON 250.000


d'Arta milestones



1997 New factory



1980 4


New factory Belgium

Fouders Johan Talpe &


Jean-Pierre De Backere

HACCP implementation


Portugal + ISO 9001 certification +

1999 BRC certification

S U S TA I N A B I L I T Y R E P O R T 2017


Second generation

2017 175 000 T

2018 30 years d’Arta


+ New factory UK

New d'Arta logo +

2007 New factory d'Arta menu


2005 IFS h  igher level +

2010 solar panels& water treatment installation

BRC certification higher level






‘It’s a green green world’


S U S TA I N A B I L I T Y R E P O R T 2017

‘It’s a green green world’ because we care … Sustainability is at the heart of everything we do. It is a genuine part of how we manage our daily business. To emphasize this commitment, we added the baseline ‘It’s a green green world’ to our company logo. We want to make a real contribution to a better society.


Our head office in Ardooie, in the middle of Flanders, the richest agricultural area in Europe.


S U S TA I N A B I L I T Y R E P O R T 2017

Scope of our sustainability report Our sustainability report focuses on d’Arta, including its head office and two production sites: one in the middle of Flanders (Ardooie), the richest agricultural area in Europe, and one in Portugal (Avis), well-located for the sourcing of Mediterranean crops. This sustainability report covers our performances from 2014 to 2016 (concurrently with our fiscal years from 1 January to 31 December) and explains the progress we’ve made since our previous report in 2014. It is our intention to publish a sustainability report every three years.

For the first time, our sustainability report

The SDGs define global sustainable

is drawn up in accordance with the Global

development priorities and aspirations

Reporting Initiative (GRI) standards, Core

for 2030 and seek to mobilize global

level. This comprehensive framework is

efforts around a common set of goals

widely used around the world for its

and targets. They therefore present an

credibility, consistency and comparability,

opportunity for business-led solutions

and is now the de facto standard for

and technologies to be developed and

sustainability reporting. Both the general

implemented to address the world’s

GRI standards and the food processing

biggest sustainable development

sector supplement were interesting


sources of inspiration. September 2017 To evaluate how our business helps advance

sustainable development – by minimizing negative impacts as well as by maximizing positive impacts on people and the planet – we turned to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


d’Arta, a growing business true to its family roots d’Arta is a genuine family business. Since its inception in 1988, the company has been run by two Belgian families: Talpe and De Backere. Together they have made d’Arta one of the leading frozen products companies in the region, employing about 580 workers. Today, the families’ second generation oversees the company’s affairs, and they are keen on bringing d’Arta to new heights.

Although the ever more stringent rules and regulations make market conditions ever so challenging, the future holds many opportunities. The changing eating habits, the increasing health awareness and the desire for convenience have made customers more appreciative of freshly frozen food. The customers are convinced by the higher nutritional values, ease of preparation, reduced waste and longer preservability of our frozen products compared to fresh products. In addition,





18.5 ha


€ 170 mio


they are looking for the best quality at the best possible price. And that is exactly what we as a producer aim for: offering excellent quality and service with guaranteed supply all year round. Based on these trends, we expect the market for frozen vegetables, fruit and meals to expand. And therefore, we feel the time is ripe to extend our growth path.

Future challenges d’Arta expands further. We are building new freezing capacity and an extra full automated warehouse... to serve our customers even better! It is our ambition to become the most trusted frozen products company in the market, not necessarily the biggest. We want to keep our agility. These past years, we have invested considerably in the automation of our production processes, but without compromising our flexibility.


S U S TA I N A B I L I T Y R E P O R T 2017

Our customer portfolio:

d’Arta has a broad customer portfolio from foodservice companies, retail

chains up to industrial partners. in own brand private label or co-packing.

We want to build a sustainable future for d’Arta. How?

• By starting at the source, ensuring the







• By providing customers smart food

top quality of our products and building

solutions that offer the customer

long-lasting relationships with our

convenience such as reduced food waste,

growers and partner-companies.

less staff, less energy costs etc.

• By increasing the turnover of our core

• And last but not least by continuing our

products worldwide and extending our

investments in our people. Because with

added-value offering in mature markets.

their expert knowledge, their hands-on character and their entrepreneurial spirit

• By ensuring the efficiency of our

we feel confident that we can achieve our

processes through automation, the

sustainable growth ambition, even in this

reduction of transportation, energy and

increasingly competitive market.

water consumption, etc.


Company structure & values 100% family owned d’Arta never lost its family ties. The organization is still run by the founding families’ second generation and breaths that typical family culture, which is built on human contact, employee involvement, an open-doors philosophy, a long-term focus and management presence on the floor and in the field.

Family charter To ensure business continuity, the company vision and code of conduct (i.e. remuneration of the family members, management of the family business, succession, accession and the family members’ career path inside the company, etc.) have been defined in a family charter. This charter helps organize the relationship between the family members and the family business.

Executive committee The day-to-day management is in the hands of 5 people (the 4 active family members and 1 other company member). This executive committee meets every week.

Board of Directors and Management Team The Board of Directors comprises the family members (two founders and the second generation), the CFO and an independent expert. Its role is to broaden the company’s view and serve as a sounding board for strategic decision-making, including investments. The Board meets every two months. The Management Team takes on the company’s daily management and manages the various activities. It consists of the six members of the Board, representatives from the Quality, Safety and Environment, Administration, Technical and Accounting Departments, and the two Portuguese managers (as of January 2017). The Management Team meets six times per year.

Respect and transparency The way we do business is closely linked to family values. It is built on respect for both people and the environment, employee involvement and an open-door philosophy. In addition, we ensure full transparency from field to fork, so that we can monitor and control the integrity of all our products and activities throughout our value chain.

Business ethics throughout the supply chain Customers around the world expect the different actors in the food supply chain to work ethically. At d’Arta, we have committed ourselves to offer 100% transparency. Since 2010, we are a member of Supplier Ethical Data Exchange (SEDEX), a nonprofit membership organization that houses the world’s largest collaborative platform for sharing responsible sourcing data on supply chains. It enables us, as a member, to manage our performance regarding labor rights, health & safety, the environment and business ethics. This information is made available to customers through the SEDEX network, giving them a clear view on our ethical performance.


S U S TA I N A B I L I T Y R E P O R T 2017

d`Arta is still run by the founding families’ second generation and breaths that typical family culture


Fresh frozen products catered to customer demand d’Arta is one of the leading frozen products companies in Europe, a position that we have built based on our wide range of products and services, as well as our continuous drive to innovate our products.

More than 2000 products

Focus on natural ingredients

Sustainable packaging

d’Arta has a vast range of more than 2000

When developing products, we use as

At d’Arta, one of our main objective is to

products, available under its own brand

many natural ingredients as possible,

offer our customers a truly convenient

or in private label. Our core business

retaining a maximum of nutrients and

product. This not only applies to the

is processing and selling fresh frozen

vitamins. In other words, we aim to keep

product itself, but to its packaging as well.

vegetables, such as peas, cabbage, beans,

our products as nature intended them,

For instance, we cater our packaging to

carrots and broccoli. We offer as well

without food coloring, preservatives,

meet societal trends such as smaller

a wide range of herbs and fruits. Our

flavor enhancers or genetic modification.

portioning and resealable packaging.

innovation and expertise can be found

Regarding more complex or specific

In addition, we are constantly looking for

in our convenience products, which we

ingredients such as meat, fish or

ways to reduce the amount of material we

call ‘food solutions’ for our customers.

carbohydrates we work with trusted

use in our packaging and to create thinner

We make tailor-made products based on

partners, strictly vetted on quality and

but stronger foils.

specific ingredients, nutritional values,

food safety.

blends, cutting, cooking time or packaging requirements.

We take vegetables and fruit that offer the greatest nutritional value, flavour,

Why frozen is fresher than fresh …

colour and ripeness and then use quick freezing to retain these natural qualities. While nutritional value and flavour are the most important advantages, frozen products offer many more, including: • Quality and consistency: Frozen produce meets high standards of quality and guarantees consistency and uniformity. • Convenience: Frozen fruits and vegetables are easy to prepare and serve. • Waste-free: Frozen foods allow users to prepare only what’s needed and to store the rest. • Availability: Frozen fruits and vegetables are never out of season. Ever. • Value: Frozen produce is available at stable and projectable prices.


S U S TA I N A B I L I T Y R E P O R T 2017

Honey roast parsnips, the healthy alternative

One of the main trends in society today is

Innovation through teamwork

the consumer’s increased health

To stay ahead of the market, d’Arta has

awareness. To answer this trend, we

a continuous innovation pipeline. This

developed a new product called the

pipeline is fed through:

honey roast parsnip for the oven, a healthy alternative for the traditional pre-fried parsnip. The product is naturally coated, not pre-fried. To achieve this, we created a revolutionary technique to glaze the parsnips. Result?

• Concertation with customers in the d’Arta test kitchen • Collaboration with chefs from various countries • Monitoring of the latest trends

The product preserves all the healthy aspects of the vegetable, with the same

Based on these inputs, our R&D

crunchiness as fried parsnips.

specialists put together new products or customize existing products, that are clearly differentiated from the competition in terms of convenience, quality, ease of handling, cost, wastage, etc.


Serving institutional kitchens convenient, tailor-made, deliciously nutritious meals For institutional kitchens, it is of utmost importance that the meals are delicious and nutritious, and can be prepared easily and quickly. That is why we provide our customers with ready-to-eat products that can go from the freezer to the dining table in a few minutes. All our products are tailor-made, ranging from simple to complex recipes using various ingredients such as herbs, sauces, carbohydrates and proteins. In addition, we apply a special cutting technique so that we can offer our customers recipes with a home-made look and taste.


An innovative catering concept


S U S TA I N A B I L I T Y R E P O R T 2017

Our sustainability strategy Our sustainability strategy covers the 3 big P’s:


minimizing our environmental footprint

Products offering healthy and nutritious food


taking care of the people that surround us


S U S TA I N A B I L I T Y R E P O R T 2017

Over the integrated value chain of our business:

Seed & soil

Processing, freezing & packing

Distribution & sales

Our mission d’Arta aims to process crops from the field to healthy fresh frozen products in the shortest space of time possible. We are continuously looking for innovative solutions based on our market knowledge and in cooperation with our customers, to deliver added value and user friendliness. Our strengths are a family atmosphere with a short decision making process and our professional colleagues, allowing us to consistently offer high customer services and flexibility in a quickly evolving market. Nature and environment are central to all we do.


close to our growers


S U S TA I N A B I L I T Y R E P O R T 2017

d’Arta and its growers, keeping it close as family d’Arta aims to process crops from the field to healthy fresh frozen products in the shortest space of time possible. To achieve this ambition, we rely on our growers. We select them carefully, work together closely and assist them in any way we can to ensure our customers a sustainably grown quality product.


Close to our growers Our aim is to get the crops from the field to our processing sites as quickly as possible. That is why we have located ourselves in the richest agricultural areas of Europe: • In Ardooie, the middle of Flanders, an area responsible for 30% of Europe’s output of frozen vegetables, we source peas, beans, carrots, spinach and cabbage and onions, among others. • In our plant in Portugal, we source Mediterranean crops, including broccoli, peppers, tomatoes and strawberries. More than 70% of our total product volume is sourced from local farmers around our plants. The remaining 30% of our products is procured through reliable partners, to spread the risk of disadvantageous climatic conditions and to ensure production flexibility.


Agronomists and engineers






Years of average seniority with growers

Growing advice from our team of agronomists or short, the A-Team Many growers have no-one to consult with when taking crucial growing decisions: selecting the seeds, determining the best time to sow or plant the crops, minimizing the use of pesticides, increasing the efficiency of fertilization and irrigation, etc. Not at d’Arta. Our A-team of in-house agronomists advise the growers in every

Relationships that last for generations

aspect of the growing process. Through

Our farmers are like family. In total, we

communication and info sessions, our

work with more than 600 farmers, and

agronomists support the farmers to

we secure long-lasting partnerships with

grow the best possible crops. If needed,

every one of them, built on mutual trust,

our agronomists team up with external

respect and transparency. This approach

specialists such as:

has proven its success. Our relationships often span various generations and we traditionally get good evaluations, especially in terms of quality checks and availability of our teams.

regular field observations, interactive

• TACO, a co-operative that offers growers tailored advice regarding crop optimization. • KDT, a knowledge center for sustainable agriculture that advises on the appropriate use of crop protection products.


S U S TA I N A B I L I T Y R E P O R T 2017

Co-investments to reduce growing costs d’Arta wants good quality crops while ensuring its growers a good living. One of the ways we aim to achieve this is through joint investments in cropping equipment: • At the Ardooie plant we are involved in the operational program for the Common Markets Organisation (CMO) in agricultural products through Ingro, a growers’ co-operative in Flanders. This enables us to minimize our local growers’ production cost by making optimal use of COM subsidies. • Our plant in Portugal invested in six irrigation control stations, leading to reduced water and electricity consumption, as well as less nitrogen losses. All of this at no cost as the

We rely on our growers. We select them carefully, work together closely.

equipment was purchased in the framework of the Farm 2030 Research and Innovation Program for Sustainable and Competitive Agriculture funded by the Portuguese government.

Sourcing ingredients through long-term partners D’Arta has a vast range of fresh frozen products, including a wide array of ingredients such as meat, fish, rice, pasta etc. that we source from a variety of partners. For each product category, we have long-term partnerships with multiple companies to ensure the availability of our ingredients at all time. All of our sourcing partners are carefully selected on their renown in the sector and the accreditations and certificates that ensure their quality.

“Our collaboration is a clear win-win. Experience, drive and care for the crops, with respect for the environment… together we’ve been growing top-quality vegetables for many years. The d’Arta owners and agronomists think with us. They have always given us chances and trust to jointly grow and innovate in high-tech production techniques and new crops. This relationship makes us feel confident to successfully address future challenges such as technological innovation and upscaling.”

Liesbeth Porta en Gunther Herbots From the company Porta, growing peas for d'Arta since many years


Selection of certified partners

Vegaplan performs audits every three

We only work with Vegaplan certified

years, as well as unexpected inspections,

growers. This standard for good

and the farmer must also carry out

agricultural practice is an independent

mandatory self-assessments. Vegaplan’s

and objective certification that ensures

specifications take into account all

the safety and quality of our raw material

regional, national and international


legislation and limit the number of double

A Vegaplan certified product means it


covers all important aspects such as food safety, traceability, integrated pest

What attracts us in the certification

management and sustainable

system is that it can benchmark with the

development at the farm.

international standards of the

It covers 3 main pillars:

Sustainable Agriculture Initiative (SAI).

• Environmental: good management

Recently Vegaplan scored FSA ‘gold’ level

of natural resources, strengthening

at SAI Platforms Farm Sustainability

biodiversity, safeguarding water and air

Assessment (FSA).

quality, preventing waste, etc. • Societal: safe and healthy working

Yet, our agronomists subject our growers

conditions, access to services and

to extra internal audits (yield, quality,

trainings, etc.

communication, etc.) and give a score

• Economic: building sound contractual

that is evaluated afterwards. Based

relationships with our suppliers, service

on the result, we initiate corrective

providers and customers, purchasing

measures and organize regular follow-up

certified raw materials, relying on

meetings to ensure top quality at all time.

certified contractors, etc.

Portugal plant wins eco-efficiency award Sustainability is at the heart of everything we do. As this is a topic of great interest to all of us, we are proud to mention that our factory in Portugal has received an award for the efficiency of managing its natural resources in close partnership between the growers and our in-house agronomists (recuperation of water, control of energy, solar panels, etc).


we only work with certified growers

There are various aspects of the growing process that impact the crop yield and quality. At d’Arta, our agronomists make careful decisions in concertation with our growers to pave the path to a successful harvest.

S U S TA I N A B I L I T Y R E P O R T 2017


Selecting fields and crops Together with our growers, we select which crop we will grow on which field. The selection process is based on our joint expertise, visual checks, previous harvest results, extensive soil analysis and the field’s biodiversity. By rotating crops, we reduce the risk of soil erosion and increase soil fertility and crop yield.

Selecting seeds For each crop, we select and purchase disease-resistant (or coated) seed varieties, to reduce the use of pesticides to a minimum and ensure a healthy growing process. We only use GMO-free seed varieties, as is mandatory in Belgium and Europe.

Sowing the seeds To maximize our crop yield and minimize our seed loss, we apply innovative sowing techniques such as GPS sowing. We pay lots of attention to optimizing the distance between the seed(ling)s, to limit the need for disease/pest control later in the process.

Fertilizing and irrigating We aim to make optimal use of fertilizer and water based on soil samples. So with this information we can inform the farmers every week of the quantities of water needed to irrigate their fields. This results in reduction of water consumption, better health of the plants, less fungicide application, less electricity costs of the pivots, etc. In Portugal, we have a pilot project to test the benefits of a new ‘water control’ irrigation method in 6 regions.

Preventing and fighting diseases and pests We take various measures to restrict the use of pesticides and herbicides during cultivation, for instance by using a veil to protect our crops against insects, by preserving and stimulating the population of natural enemies for pests, etc. When diseases or pests do occur, we prefer to fight them in a non-chemical way, or we resort to integrated pest management (IPM) techniques, combining biological and chemical pest control techniques.

Checking quality In everything we do, we check the quality. When fighting pests or diseases, we monitor the effectiveness of the treatment through satellite systems, drones, sprayer efficiency control, etc. The quality of our crops is checked in the field, not in the factory. In this way, we not only optimize our transportation, we also prevent sudden production stops due to bad input.

Harvesting the crop We aim to lower product residues by better determining the harvesting moment. When field checks reveal the crops are at their best, we carefully plan the harvesting so that we can get the product from the field to the processing plant as quick as possible In this way, we can offer our customer truly fresh frozen products.


Building a green plant in the UK, together with our growers d’Arta has joined forces with a farming co-operative and a bio-energy firm to build one of the UK’s greenest food processing facilities. In 2018, d’Arta will open a new factory in Driffield, UK. The site will be one of the UK’s first carbon-neutral food factories. It will process peas grown in the region by the 40-strong farming co-operative Swaythorpe Growers. GWE Biogas will be providing all the power and heat for the new facility as well as taking all vegetable waste produced by the plant and converting this to renewable energy though anaerobic digestion. Both the Swaythorpe growers and GWE Biogas will hold 25% of the shares of the new site.

”This is an exciting and ambitious project that will reduce the carbon footprint of our Yorkshire-grown frozen peas as well as dramatically reducing food miles, as the facility is in the heart of our growing area. This means we’ll reduce the travel time from field to factory even further, ensuring a better product for customers. As farmers, we respect and understand the importance of looking after the land, so building a factory fuelled entirely on unavoidable food waste makes a great deal of common sense”

Tim Rymer, chairman of Swaythorpe Growers

”Building a zero-carbon processing facility is right for our business and right for the environment, and we look forward to working with our innovative and entrepreneurial Yorkshire partners”

Ian Keyes, director d’Arta UK

”The Yorkshire Greens plant has potential to be one of the most cutting-edge food businesses in Britain. Our investment in sustainable renewable energy will make this plant one of the most efficient processors in the country. It’s a genuinely game-changing business in the industry”

Tom Megginson, director of GWE Biogas



S U S TA I N A B I L I T Y R E P O R T 2017

Operating efficiently in any way possible When production is concerned, efficiency is the decisive parameter. From the organization of the production activities to the use of natural resources and the selection of high-tech machinery: d’Arta has committed itself to always opt for the most efficient approach.


state-ofthe-art equipment


S U S TA I N A B I L I T Y R E P O R T 2017


production lines + 5.000 different articles

80 000

automated pallet places


energy reduction since 2012


carbon footprint reduction since 2012


water reduction since 2012


of our waste is recycled

‘automation is key Centralized production D’Arta has centralized all its production, storage and packaging activities in two production facilities, one in Belgium and one in Portugal. This set-up ensures an uninterrupted cold chain and efficient stock management and it avoids internal transportation and extra energy costs.

State-of-the-art equipment Over the years, d’Arta’s production process has been highly automated. Our high-tech machines and equipment not only ensure the flexibility and productivity of our activities, they also guarantee the quality of the product (no human hand touches the products), the boxes and the pallets.



S U S TA I N A B I L I T Y R E P O R T 2017

GIVe back To nature



The fully grown and ripe vegetables are harvested and delivered to the d’Arta factory.


The vegetables are washed in internal recycled water to be processed to frozen products.


The solar panels on the roof generate renawable energy for our production process.


All waste water is treated to be re-used as washing water and even treated up to drinking water quality by ultra filtration and reserved osmosis.


Rain water is collected from the roofs and purified with the ultra filtration and reversed osmosis unit and re-used in our production facility.


The bypass streams of production are 100% recycled as animal feed.


The residues from the waste water plant are rich in phosphate, nitrogen and potassium, and are the perfect ‘organic fertilizer’ for fields or other crops.


The waste water plant creates ‘bio gas’, which gives back energy to the waste water plant.


S U S TA I N A B I L I T Y R E P O R T 2017





4 8


UF = ultra filtration RO = reversed osmosis *since 2016


Reducing the energy, water and waste footprint The d’Arta production chain is designed to ensure nothing gets lost: the byproduct or residue of one process can be used as a resource in another process. This greatly reduces the environmental footprint: use and produce renewable energy, treat and reuse water, and collect and recycle waste.

Along the years, d’Arta has taken a lot of measurements to improve our carbon, water and waste footprint.

Less carbon emissions

Lower water footprint

• Uninterrupted cold chain

• Less water use through scale capacity

• Recycling of organic waste into biogas

• LED lighting

• Internal recycled water

• On site sorting of different types of waste

• Automated processes

• Purification of waste and rain water

• Remains of waste treatment reused as

• Heat recuperation

into drinking water quality by reversed

• Solar panels

osmosis unit

• High performance equipment

• Recycling of rain water

• Reversed osmosis unit on steam boilers

• Reduction of water use through monitoring


More waste recycling

fertilizer • Fresh vegetable waste used for animal feed

S U S TA I N A B I L I T Y R E P O R T 2017

Producing renewable energy When production is concerned, efficiency is the decisive parameter. From the organization of the production activities to the use of natural resources and the selection of high-tech machinery: d’Arta has committed itself to always opt for the most efficient approach.

Total Energy GJ per Ton

CO² output per Ton

2,1 2,05



















0,18 2012

11 %





energy reduction since 2012

Making efficient use of natural resources Through the years, d’Arta has taken a number of initiatives to make efficient use of natural resources:



11,4 %




carbon footprint reduction since 2012

We aim to reduce our energy consumption per ton turnover with 2% per year.

• Automating various processes in our production chain • Applying reversed osmosis on the water in our steam boilers

Producing renewable energy

helped us cut natural gas consumption resulting by 14%

d’Arta is powered by renewable energy,


coming from various sources:

• Replacing the galvanized steel vaporizers in the freezer tunnels with stainless steel vaporizers resulted in 15% energy savings per tunnel • Installing high performance equipment, especially in cool capacity



Solar panel 3,5 %

2,85% of total electricity use


/ of total gas use

4,7 %

• Installing LED lighting in cold stores and process areas


Overview water types d’Arta Belgium 2015


140 000 120 000 100 000 80 000 60 000 40 000 20 000

Closing the water loop

0 rainwater use

Since 1988, d’Arta operates its own water treatment plant at the Ardooie site. This facility enables the recuperation of our waste water in our production process. Since 2016, by further investment in an extra ultra filtration and reversed osmosis unit, we succeeded to recycle up to 48% of our purified waste water, of which 63% to prewash our vegetables

civil water use

drill water use


rainwater use


civil water use


drill water use

coming from the field, and 37% to be used as reversed osmose water.

Water m³/ton volume

Another tool for reduction of our water use is the recuperation of rainwater, collected from the roofs into a 1,5 hectare lake onsite. Also here we have installed an ultra filtration and reversed osmosis unit to recycle the water into our production process.

1,6 1,55 1,5 1,45

Because of these efforts, d’Arta Belgium succeeded in 2016 to reduce the consumption of civil water by 16% and by 15% of drill water.

1,4 1,35 1,3 1,25 2012


5,2 %





water reduction per year since 2012

S U S TA I N A B I L I T Y R E P O R T 2017

Recycling our waste One of our first concerns is to avoid any type of waste through well-designed production and packaging lines. We have put in place a comprehensive waste sorting system, collecting more than ten types of waste separately. All collected waste is shipped off to authorized treatment facilities for recycling.

Result? Up to 99.5% of our waste is recycled.










People, the main ingredient in our success People have built this company from a Belgian SME to a multinational employing more than 500 men and women. And people will again help us proceed on our growth path. That is why we continue to invest in our employees, in offering them a safe and healthy working environment where they feel involved and love to work.


Good people make good products


S U S TA I N A B I L I T Y R E P O R T 2017

“Through the years, d’Arta has grown tremendously. Still, management stayed true to its roots, keeping close contact with the people on the floor and in the field.”

Dries agronomist, 23 years on the job

FTE employees

587 Men










485 Good people make good products The quality of our products and of our service offering is based on our




employees. They make up the main ingredient in our recipe for success. That is why we continue to invest in our seasoned and experienced staff: • In our own R&D department, so that we can continue to offer customers the services and products they are looking for. • In our workers, so that we can provide qualitative products from our production lines to the customer. • In our international commercial team, so that we can serve our nutritious fresh frozen products to increasingly more people all over the world. • In our highly educated customer service team, so that we can address every customer’s demand as quickly and as adequately as possible.

“d’Arta is a loyal employer with loyal employees. Why? Because the company is built on human contact. Growers, employees, truckers… people still matter at d’Arta.”

Edward agronomist, employed since 2004


Average age

<30 30-45 >45

Average seniority



27% 38% 35%

S U S TA I N A B I L I T Y R E P O R T 2017

“The company recognizes the capabilities of its employees. We are given lots of responsibility and independence, boosting our commitment to give our absolute best for our company.”

Steven environment and prevention, 25 years on the job

Employee involvement

Sustainable employment

People make our organization. That is

At d’Arta, we are convinced that work is

why we value their opinion, and want to

vital to any person’s development and

involve them in certain decisions:

well-being. That is why we are committed

• The work’s council is a platform where employer and employees meet every

to giving people sustainable employment.

month and discuss subjects regarding the functioning of the company,

First, by giving them a job. As a social

employment, remuneration, etc.

integration company, we give people who

• The committee for prevention and

have a hard time finding a job a chance.

safety at work meets monthly and

Next, by making it easy for new

consults with the company physician

employees to feel at home in the

twice a year.

company. For this reason, we have a sponsorship program where colleagues

Strong local bond

introduce their new colleagues to the ins

d’Arta is very much anchored locally, both

and outs of the job and the company.

in Belgium and in Portugal: • Local employment. We mainly employ people living in the direct vicinity of our offices. In Portugal, this has grown even more important, as we have become one of the most important employers in the region. • Local sponsoring. We commit ourselves to giving back to the community by sponsoring local associations and charity initiatives. • School visits. We welcome local schools to come visit our sites – we even set up internships with local schools. Successfully, as lots of interns eventually come work for us on a permanent basis.


Ensuring a safe and healthy work environment Safety gets ample attention at d’Arta. Each month we focus on a certain safety topic (e.g. prevention against slipping) which is then emphasized among the workers via the bulletin boards that are spread throughout the company. These safety topics can be supplied by the workers themselves via the suggestion boxes and the internal safety work group. In addition, we offer our workers e-learning programs (e.g. safe chemical usage) that are fully developed in house, using photos and content that the people recognize from their day-today work environment. At d’Arta, we encourage our employees to live in a healthy and active way. We support this by focusing on two pillars: to exercise and to stay healthy.

We offer customized hearing protection, which subdues the sound. In this way, our employees can still talk and use the phone without having to remove their hearing protection. During the year, we organize some events to motivate our people to eat healthy and stay fit.

We push our healthy products to our own people by organizing tasting events and informational sessions on new products.


S U S TA I N A B I L I T Y R E P O R T 2017

Pioneer in food safety and quality dâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Arta is known as a pioneer regarding food safety and quality. This leading position is based on our integral quality assurance approach, which is built around four pillars: systems, infrastructure, machines and people. By focusing on these ingredients and through our constant commitment to improvement and innovation we are able to cope with the increasingly stricter food safety legislation and the ever-rising quality demands of our customers.



pesticide analyses/year


analyses on heavy metals/year

3 000

internal microbiological tests/year


external microbiological tests/year


quality people

SYSTEMS Integral quality care d’Arta’s focus on quality is ensured through a variety of certifications: • HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) since 1995. It is a systematic preventive approach to food safety from biological, chemical, and physical hazards in production processes. • ISO 9001 since 1997, a quality management standard, designed to help organizations meet the needs of customers and other stakeholders, as well as regulatory product requirements. • BRC certified since 1999. The BRC standard is is accepted by all retailers in England (but also in a lot of other countries) as thé quality system for the food industry. • IFS since 2005. IFS Food is a GFSI (Global Food Safety Initiative) recognized standard for auditing food manufacturers focused on food safety and the quality of processes and

System ISO 9001, HACCP, BRC




GMP, GAP, Training, HRM



Un-interrupted cold chain

Colorsorters, Laserscanners


d’Arta has developed its own fully


automated traceability system,

Uninterrupted cold chain

perfectly tuned to its processes, making

The input of the packing lines is always in


the company unique in the frozen

the cold store to avoid defrosting before

Cutting-edge machines

vegetables industry. Based on our

and during the packing. Transport from

Technology is an important ingredient of

internal coding system and each

the classic storage (production area) to

d’Arta’s quality assurance. In our

product’s lot number, we can reconstruct

the automated storage goes via a bridge

production areas, scanners remove

our products’ complete history and all

cooled at -20°C. Hence, the frozen

defects or foreign bodies from the

the various quality checks that they

product is only exposed to ambient

production flow, improving the quality of

went through. In addition, samples of our

temperature during packaging and

our products. In the packaging

products are analyzed by an independent


department, laser scanners perform a

organization as well as the d’Arta quality

S U S TA I N A B I L I T Y R E P O R T 2017

Traceable products from plate to field

final check to ensure that there are no

control service in an authorized and

No risk of cross-contamination

foreign bodies of any kind which could

accredited Belgian laboratory.

Through well-designed buildings, we have

threaten consumer safety.

fully reduced the risk for cross contamination: • High and low risk areas are completely separated • The doors to the production areas only


open after disinfection of the hands

Top quality personnel All personnel are involved in our strive for quality and perfection. We not only have quality controllers present twenty-four hours a day to monitor the traceability system, the sorting machines, and the various product and process controls. We rely on all our factory personnel. Through internal and external training, we ensure our staff’s awareness for quality. And we involve them as much as possible in the quality decision-making process and the development of quality control plans through target-oriented workgroups.

Fully checked and audited d’Arta’s product and supply chain undergoes a variety of audits, quality checks and analyses. To give only a few examples: • At the farm: All d’Arta farmers are carefully selected and must meet the Vegaplan standard. They are regularly audited by an independent organization. • Before delivery, the farmer provides d’Arta with a complete history of the field and the product: soil analysis, spray records, fertilizer use, etc. • Upon delivery, the goods undergo a series of physical and chemical checks. • In production: Organoleptic, chemical and bacteriological checks, including a check of all process parameters. • During mixing, the composition of the products is verified. • During packaging, all items are checked on the final product specifications, and there is a control of the packaging material. • During storage, the temperature is controlled automatically.


Limiting the carbon footprint of our logistics Each week, more than 4500 pallets leave the d’Arta loading docks to destinations all over Europe, the UK and the rest of the world. The challenge is to make these transports as sustainable as possible. To succeed, d’Arta applies and explores various ways to lower the carbon footprint of its products.

“Transporting our products by train was an important project for us to do our bit in reducing carbon emissions”

Local sourcing

Ecological transport

More than 70% of our total product

We are exploring various ways of

volume is sourced from local farmers

transportation, i.e. railway, overseas

around the d’Arta sites, limiting the

shipping, inland water transport, or a

number of kilometers our virgin products

mixture of transportation modes so that

Hans Desmet

need to travel to processing.

we can limit the CO2 emissions of our

Logistic manager

Limited internal transports

Building relationships with our transporters

logistics. We manage all production, storage and

Less CO2, more trains

packaging activities in one site. In this

How to reduce the carbon footprint of

way, we ensure an uninterrupted cold

transportation? By reducing the distance

chain and limit the need for internal

our products travel on the road and look

transportation of our products.

at other ways of transportation, such as the train. Together with Agristo and

Efficient and optimal loading

Pinguin-Lutosa, d’Arta launched a pilot

We continuously strive for fully loaded

project in 2012 to transport their frozen

relationship with the customer are

transports. To achieve this ambition, our

products to North Italy by train. The

what we look for in our

pallets carry a mixture of products, even

goods are transported to the central hub

combining Belgian and Portuguese

in Zeebrugge, where they are loaded onto

products, so that we can deliver our

to the train that will take the products to

products as efficiently as possible.

Milan (Italy). There the products are

Good timing and a good

transportation partners. The companies and drivers that meet these criteria can count on a long-term partnership with d’Arta.

unloaded onto several trucks that will bring them to their contracted destinations.

A low-carbon car park d’Arta wants to reduce the CO2 emissions of its own car park. That is why we opt for hybrid cars and cars with low CO2 emission rates. Currently, our vehicle fleet consists of 45 commercial vehicles, including three light-duty vehicles, 3 hybrid cars and 39 diesel cars. Last year, we renewed a significant part of our fleet. Previously, most of the fleet emitted 145 grams of CO2, leading to 75% fiscal deduction. Upon renewal of the fleet, we opted for AdBlue vehicles, resulting in 90% of the fleet emitting less than 115 grams of CO2, or 80% fiscal deduction. 46

S U S TA I N A B I L I T Y R E P O R T 2017

We care about people As a family company, we value the relationships we have with people. That is why we aim to build long-term partnerships with all the people we work with: our employees, our customers, our contractors, our suppliers and all other stakeholders we come across.




Mutual exchange of information for long-term partnerships

They are the company!


Growers Long-term relationships that


guarantee stable supply & quality

Long-term vision with focus on


growth & innovation

Wider community

Reliable partners with high efficiency

For environmental social contribution

Sponsoring human aid projects in Guatemala

Supporting an allotment gardening project in Ardooie

One of the charity initiatives that d’Arta

In 2016, the local CPAS in Ardooie

supports both financially and structurally

(Belgium) launched a project to promote

is Triangulo. This non-profit organization

allotment gardening among senior

sets up social projects in El Tumbador

citizens and volunteers from local

(Guatemala), including the construction

associations and schools. Why? Because

of a new physical rehabilitation center

it is good for the mind and the body, and

and the expansion of the local school.

it emphasizes the importance of healthy

The center treats up to 160 patients per

food. Reasons enough for d’Arta to

year by giving them physical therapy,

support this project by supplying the

hydrotherapy and even ergotherapy.

seeds and plants.

The school houses a kindergarten, primary school and secondary school that makes it a point of honor to organize classes (practically) each day of the week.


S U S TA I N A B I L I T Y R E P O R T 2017

Sponsoring local activities

As a family company, we value the relationships we have with people


Process for defining report content In 2016, we conducted an exercise to define our most relevant sustainability issues. The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) standards together with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) gave us a framework to consider in this review. Both external (suppliers) and internal (d’Arta employees) stakeholders were included in this exercise. We followed a four-stage process: 1. Identifying relevant topics • Review of key sustainability trends and competitor materiality assessments • Exploration and identification of GRI sustainability topics and SDGs relevant to our business, approved by the sustainability taskforce

2. Prioritizing topics We linked the sustainability topics to: • Our mission and business strategy • Our sustainability strategy • Planet (minimizing our environmental footprint) Products (offering healthy and nutritious food) People (taking care of the people that surround us) • The value chain of our business: Seed & soil · Freezing & packing · Quality & nutrition · Distribution & sales Three main stakeholder groups gave their views on the relevant topics for d’Arta: • Owners: we held in-depth interviews with the owners • Management and employees : we asked a variety of employees and managers for input

Pioneer in making our efforts and results measurable and demonstrable

• Suppliers: we held an in-depth interview with a key supplier

With the support of the Flemish Government and the major stakeholders of the food

Based on the input from these groups, an initial materiality matrix with our most was developed.

industry, Fevia (Federation of the Belgian food industry) developed a CSR sector passport. Each of the parties was given the

3. Validating the material topics

opportunity to indicate which challenges they

The most relevant sustainability issues have

saw as priorities for the sector in their pursuit

been retained and clustered into six chapters: • d’Arta and its growers, keeping it close as family • Operating efficiently in any way possible • People, the main ingredient in our success • Pioneer in food safety and quality • Limiting the carbon footprint of our logistics • We care about people

of sustainability. For the priority subjects, indicators were sought which could be used to monitor these subjects and make the implementations transparent. The CSR sector passport, and with it the identification of core themes, lowers the threshold for businesses within the sector to tackle CSR. d’Arta used its sustainability report

4. Review • External: we will report our progress every three years • Internal: the sustainability taskforce reviews progress against KPIs annually  


to test this sector passport and we’re presenting our efforts so that they can be a source of inspiration for our peers in the sector.

S U S TA I N A B I L I T Y R E P O R T 2017


How we listen and engage

Main sustainability concerns

How we respond


Daily interaction with

Innovative food solutions

Fresh frozen products ca-

sales & customer service


tered to customer demand


Responsible sourcing

Operating efficiently in any

Customer visits.

Sustainable ingredients

way possible

Contact on exhibitions.

Carbon footprint

Pioneer in food safety and

Market research.

Working conditions


Open door policy

Equal opportunities

People, the main

Family company

Job security & growth

ingredient in our success

Union meetings

Healthy and safe working

Operating efficiently in any



way possible

Work/life balance

We care about people


Business ethics Growers

Interactive (digital) com-

Sustainable raw material

dâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Arta and its growers,



keeping it close as family

Personal visits & meet-

Sustainable equipment.

ings Suppliers

Visits, meetings and daily

Business ethics

Operating efficiently in any


Human rights

way possible

Sustainable deliveries

Limiting the carbon footprint of our logistics

Wider community

Charitable activities

Community involvement

Sector associations

Human rights



Information requests from students


D’ARTA BELGIUM Head Office & Main Production Site Pittemsestraat 58 A 8850 Ardooie Belgium T +32 (0)51 74 69 91 F +32 (0)51 74 69 68 E darta@darta.com www.darta.com


Printed on Balance Pure – 100% recycled paper – using biological ink and printing presses working solely on renewable energy. 52

Profile for d'Arta

Sustainability report d'Arta 2017  

Sustainability report d'Arta 2017  

Profile for darta2