Climate neutral certified

Marley Spoon processes Vallei Pork in its meal boxes. An independent auditor has certified the raw meat processed in the products as climate neutral. The owner of the certification programme is the Climate Neutral Group, an organisation that helps us meet the criteria. Being allowed to use the certification mark gives us formal and visible recognition for our efforts to reduce our carbon footprint as much as possible.

Being climate neutral certified means that we:

  • Have insights into our current carbon emission throughout the entire production process. From the cultivation of raw materials to when the portion of unprocessed meat is in the retail distribution centre.
  • Have a targeted mandatory reduction plan for the coming years so that we can reduce our emissions even more each year. We need to reduce our emissions by 25% by 2030 compared to 2018.
  • Offset the remaining carbon emission by having certificates from the VCS-certified Methane Digestion climate project and power generation in the Netherlands.

Have insights into our carbon footprint

Knowing how big our carbon footprint is helps to reduce it. That means that we want to know all about our carbon footprint, down to the smallest detail. From the production of pig feed to the time our freshly packaged meat reaches our customers. This transparency has been evident for various products in the food chains, which until recently was not the case for pork.

The calculations for certification include pig feed production and energy consumption. The average carbon footprint at farm level in the Netherlands has also been calculated.

Our aim is to gain a comprehensive understanding of the specific carbon footprint of our farms by the end of 2022. All greenhouse gases will be taken into account in this. The results will be converted into carbon equivalents. This will give us a clear idea of what the impact of the sustainability measures that we have already taken is. And of course where we can reduce our footprint even more. Blonk Consultants is helping us in this respect.

What is our position now?

Carbon footprint and reductions applied

By 2030 at the latest, the carbon footprint of our certified product must be at least 25% smaller than it was in 2018. We have largely achieved this already by using sustainable feed from the Agrifirm Feed Forward concept and our investment in solar panels. We run 100% of our operation on green energy. We generate even more energy than we need.

Feed Forward

Sustainable feed

The carbon footprint from pork is mainly determined by the feed the animals are given. The current market standard, using soya with LUC certificates, already contributes in part to reducing our carbon footprint. Vallei Pigs have been given different feed since the start of 2022, which has reduced our footprint even more compared to the market standard. Agrifirm’s sustainable feed, based on the Feed Forward concept. More than half of this feed consists of residual streams, which means that we are avoiding food waste. The feed is supplemented with locally grown crops and so it does not contain soya or palm products. The feed is 100% free of deforestation.

Green energy

Energy neutral

Besides pig feed, a significant part of the carbon footprint is determined by energy consumption in and around the sties. We run 100% of our operation on green energy at Frank, Gerald and Nico’s farms. We have used our roofs for solar panels. We generate our own electricity, which means we are energy neutral.

Green energy

Energy supplier

That’s not all: we produce more energy than we use. With Vallei Varken, we feed energy back into the grid. We may even be generating energy for you. And for our customers.

This investment has not yet been taken into account in the calculations for certification. Our aim is to gain a comprehensive understanding of the specific carbon footprint of our farms by the end of 2022. This will give us a clear idea of what the impact of these specific sustainability measures is.

What’s next?

Targeted reduction plan

To reduce our carbon footprint even more, we have drawn up a targeted reduction plan that we are working on continuously. By 2030 at the latest, the carbon footprint of our certified product must be at least 25% smaller than it was in 2018.

Our reduction plan for the coming years consists of:

  • Making changes to the composition and origin of pig feed. We will monitor this and make improvements on an ongoing basis.
  • Generate even more green energy. At the beginning of 2023, more than 700 extra solar panels will be installed on the roofs at Vallei farmer, Gerald. That way we will be using the roofs entirely for green energy.
  • Our aim is to start processing our manure through anaerobic digestion in the years to come. By doing so, we will be reducing emissions from greenhouse gases, like methane. We will be investigating the options thoroughly in the coming time.

Compensation

Investing in a climate project

Let there be no doubt: our primary objective is to reduce our carbon impact. And we have begun our journey to becoming climate neutral. Nevertheless, just like everyone else, we still emit carbon. That is why offset the emissions that we cannot yet prevent. We are investing in a VCS (Verified Carbon Standard) climate project through the Climate Neutral Group. This is a project for methane digestion and energy generation in the Netherlands.

Several dairy farms and piggeries are joining forces for this biogas project. Thanks to these biogas plants, farms no longer have to deposit their manure on fields in the vicinity.

Feasibility

Successful partnerships

Short chains demand good cooperation. The term ‘short chains’ does not necessarily have anything to do with kilometres. This ‘short chain’ is a means of achieving our goals. Our goals include:

  • A fair price for all partners in the chain.
  • More transparency in the food chain.
  • Control of our own production process.
  • A more sustainable chain.
  • Ultimately producing a more sustainable product.

All partners in the chain are required if we are to produce a climate-neutral, certified, fresh piece of pork. All with their own speciality and expertise. Agrifirm and Clara also have an important role to play in our collaboration with buyer, Marley Spoon.

Agrifirm

Agrifirm is committed to having a responsible food chain for future generations. The organisation fully endorses the Vallei Varken concept. It is supporting Vallei Varken in its transition to a concept that adds value and a sustainable business model. Together with Agrifirm, we are working towards achieving the lowest possible carbon impact when producing Vallei Pork. Sustainable feed, produced as part of Agrifirm’s Feed Forward concept, has a major and positive role in this. Their exceptional feed has much less impact on our climate. We are also co-investors in climate projects. Together we are taking important steps in terms of sustainability and innovation.

Clara

Clara Foodservice is a Vallei Pork supplier. They process and package fresh produce from Vallei Varken, among other things for Marley Spoon meal boxes. They combine artisanal work with innovation, for instance, by using sustainable packaging with as little plastic as possible, without compromising on the shelf life. More than 80% of the packaging consists of FSC-certified or recycled cardboard, so less than 20% consists of plastic. The packaging can be recycled after use and is suitable for freezing the product. In addition, there is also space on the packaging for information about the origin of Vallei Pork.

Marley Spoon

Sustainability matters to Marley Spoon. The meal boxes they deliver to your home are full of ethical, sustainable products. And they only work with producers who are transparent and meet high quality requirements. They prefer to work with family businesses that are not too big, and who work with passion. Vallei Varken fits perfectly with the vision of this fine and progressive company. Because our food chain is short, Marley Spoon knows the origin of the product. Together we are working towards making the product more sustainable.

Vallei Varken

The future

We don’t intend to leave it at that. Our mission is to reduce our carbon footprint even more every year so that offsetting carbon becomes a smaller part of our sustainability strategy. In all honesty, this will not be easy. Within the agricultural sector, novel ideas and innovations often lead to major investments. There has to be enough financial leeway for this. We will have to work hard for it and it requires good cooperation between the chain partners. But we are convinced that this is a path that is well worth taking.

All Vallei Pigs have a chip on which important information is collected. Information, for instance, on the sire and dam, birth weight, character, growth, health and nutrition of that particular pig. Our intention is to gather as much data as possible. We are hoping to discover interesting facts with this data and, on that basis, we can work even more specifically on our ambitions for sustainability.

Pioneering effort

No major developments are possible without pioneers. Vallei Varken is one of those pioneers.

In close collaboration with our chain partners, we have introduced to the market the first pork with a climate neutral label. And we are really quite proud of this.

It is only the first step. We have a long way to go. It is and remains an exploration in a new world, even though we are far from having all the wisdom required for this. It is an ongoing process of gathering knowledge, and trial and error. Discovering and improving. Getting feedback and fine-tuning. That makes it exciting.

But we’re not doing this on our own. We have joined forces with our chain partners and reliable consultancies are assisting us. Not only for ourselves, but for the entire industry. And our ultimate goal is that the generations that follow can also live in a habitable world.

We are always open to ideas and feedback, and it goes without saying that we are standing by to answer questions. Bianca is the person to contact and she can be accessed by emailing (bianca@valleivarken.nl).