The commitment will involve a net reduction of one-quarter of greenhouse gas emissions throughout Bel's entire value chain by 2035 (versus 2017, and taking into account the group's growth), and the integration of carbon tracking as a tool for steering its activities.
In 2017, the Bel Group joined the Science Based Target initiative (SBTi). To this end, the group had defined clear objectives and initiated its initial actions on its own area of responsibility: its industrial capacity. Thanks to the efforts made, the company has set the goal of achieving carbon neutrality in its plants by 2025.
Bel said it has been working to reduce its carbon footprint throughout its value chain and is working with its dairy farmers to develop more sustainable farming practices. In recent months, it has announced the launch in 2022 of two new initiatives: A new premium of €5/1,000L in France for the Group's 750 APBO partner farmers, guaranteeing 100% European cow feed from October 2022; and a pilot program on cow feed aiming to reduce methane emissions from herds, starting in spring 2022 in France and Slovakia and conducted in collaboration with the company DSM.
Bel said because of the ‘alarming findings’ of the IPCC, it is accelerating and redefining its ambition to limit global warming.
It said it has chosen to deploy a carbon impact analysis tool at all levels of decision-making within the company.
Monitored with monthly data, it provides a consolidated, precise, and regular perspective of the Group's carbon footprint in all its markets, brands, segments, and products. In practice, the Group has already put in place environmental and social impact assessment grids for all of its strategic decisions and is also working to define "carbon" budgets in the same way as financial budgets.
The carbon indicator is planned as part of an innovative and global positive impact indicator that consolidates seven criteria, including accessibility and the contribution to regenerative agriculture. The work carried out by Bel Group on its impact should become transparent to bring together as many players in the sector as possible. Eventually, sharing this information publicly across the sector could contribute to better consumer information.
Each Bel brand and product contributes to this transformation. The Laughing Cow unveiled a new simplified recipe with only four dairy ingredients for its 100th anniversary in 2021 and is now working on launching a 100% plant-based recipe. This new recipe will join a family of 110 The Laughing Cow recipes available around the world, thus giving consumers a wider choice and the opportunity to diversify their diet to help reduce its carbon footprint. It is expected to be launched by the end of 2022 in France, followed by the US.
"Some of our brands are over a hundred years old. They have accompanied several generations of consumers around the world in the evolution of their eating needs and habits. It's up to us to make them a force for consumers' commitments by endowing them with positive values that are consistent with people's expectations," said Antoine Fiévet, chairman and CEO of Bel Group.
"Four hundred million people around the world consume the 20bn portions we produce per year. Our new +1.5°C trajectory will have a significant impact, for everyone. It involves our employees as well as all our stakeholders, from our upstream dairy operations to the consumer. Together we want to build the food for tomorrow and that is why we are mobilizing around the crucial issues of the environmental impact and the value of food," says Cécile Béliot, executive vice president of Bel Group.