Verstegen is right at the heart of the world. We exist thanks to the ingredients obtained from the environment. This means that we show deep respect for the four main elements of the environment: earth, water, air and fire. Verstegen does all it can to protect these elements. For example, all logical and less logical measures have already been embedded into the organisation and set down in an environmental annual report.
We are also concerned about the environment in countries where our spices grow. We are aware that this is the only way we can guarantee continuity of supply in the future. In conversations with suppliers and during business visits, attention is therefore always paid to the environment. It forms a set element in audits and, together with suppliers, environmental goals are formulated. We will certainly do our bit to promote biodiversity whenever the opportunity arises.
The core strategy of Verstegen Spices & Sauces with respect to the environment consists of a number of main thrusts. One of these is the endeavour to continuously reduce or prevent damage to the environment. Ensuing from this is the objective to reduce waste or to present as much waste as possible separated for recycling.
The waste flows are therefore separated into industrial waste, hazardous waste, building and demolition waste, glass, IT material, metal, rubble, paper and cardboard, among other things.
The storage and registration of the waste products are conducted in accordance with the provisions stipulated in the environmental permit. As a participant in the Environment Barometer, Verstegen keeps an accurate record of everything and we achieve a reduction in the quantity of waste every year.
The world needs biodiversity. Species and ecosystems ensure, for example, the production of oxygen, the decomposition of dead animals and plants, the pollination of plants (including agricultural crops), water purification and the control of pests. For mankind, biodiversity means food, building materials, fuel (wood) and raw materials for clothing (such as cotton) and medicines.
Verstegen’s spices play an important role in maintaining biodiversity. Many of our spices come from Indonesia, for example. There they grow wild or on small plots of land on the edge of the jungle. As a result, they form a buffer between the inhabited world and the wealth of the centuries’ old forests. The cultivation of spices is by definition more small scale and more diverse than such raw materials as palm oil
Verstegen wants to offer its customers the opportunity to make a conscious choice for organic products. There is already a very wide range available for anyone wishing to contribute actively to the environment and animal welfare.
Organic farming makes as much use as possible of the techniques and methods prior to 1900, when artificial fertilisers and chemical pesticides started to become popular. On the area declared suitable for organic farming, no pesticides have been used in the past three years. The standards are tested by certifying agencies such as SKAL. SKAL looks at the traceability and takes samples of the product and of the soil. These are analysed for pesticides and heavy metals. Verstegen is also audited on a regular basis by SKAL and, of course, we are only interested in the best quality when it comes to organic products too.
In a world where there is a growing need for honest and sustainable food, Verstegen has developed an Organic line for both the consumer and the professional market. Products which stand for quality, purity, honesty, authenticity and flavour.
The full range has been certified by SKAL. The organic herbs and spices from Verstegen can be identified by means of the green packaging.
The food preparation and filling processes at Verstegen generate residues of herbs, spices and sauce. Sauce residues in particular are produced when cleaning the vats and containers, and when starting, machining and cleaning the filling machines. During cleaning, the sauce residues are discharged to the Verstegen waste water purification plant via the sewers.
Verstegen also has to deal with waste residues when starting up the machines, which contain the sauces in half-full and full packagings. Residual products are also generated in the dry production of herbs and spices, for example when emptying and rinsing the filling lines.
Thousands of kilos of residual waste are collected every year via Verstegen's waste purification system before being stored in very large plastic boxes. Following collection, they are transported to a company that collects Bio-Energy products. All these products are taken to companies which use them for Biogasification for various power plants. The advantage of this disposal method is that the residual waste does not find its way into the environment through burning but instead is used to generate energy.
Since its founding, Verstegen Spices & Sauces has built up an extensive range with many different packaging options. Our products are supplied in buckets, plastic boxes, plastic canisters, bottles (glass and plastic), etc. In order to spare the environment, Verstegen also looks for sustainable packaging solutions. This is also how budget packs came about.
The budget packs from Verstegen represent a sustainable solution because they use less packaging material than if the product were packaged in a plastic bucket or box. A further benefit is the cost saving for Verstegen and for its customers. And the cost savings which the budget packs generate are passed onto the end users - which means Verstegen's customers get the same spices, but now in a budget packaging. In short, the same quality at a lower price, and better for the environment too. The budget packs are available in 1 and 2 kilo versions.
Despite all the international agreements and controls, over-fishing is a big problem throughout the world. In a number of cases, the situation is critical; just think of blue-fin tuna or eels. But, fortunately, there are still large numbers of many species of fish. If the fishing industry sticks to the fishing season and the rules, these species will be able to maintain their numbers. For the caterer and fish specialist, it is important to be able to work with good quality fish, which is also sustainable. We want to be able to enjoy fish not only now, but also in the future.
Fishermen, the government and consumers must therefore work together now to create a responsible fishing industry. The government and fishermen are doing their bit towards this by maintaining the fish stocks, sparing the environment and developing new fishing techniques which limit the by-catch. But the fish specialist and caterer can also make a contribution here. By taking account of the seasons, you add more variety to the menu, you offer an even healthier product and you encourage responsible fishing behaviour
In 2010, Verstegen Spices & Sauces issued a special fish brochure entitled ‘Verstegen’s Inspiring Taste Sensations (FISH)’. By means of this brochure, Verstegen not only shows what we mean to the fish trade, but also how the fish trade can serve a delicious fish any time of the year, despite the strict regulations and restrictions. In connection with this, the food specialists at Verstegen developed a Taste Guide especially for fish. By looking at the taste profile of both the different types of fish and the ingredients, delicious, inspiring taste sensations can be created. The Taste Guide only refers to those fish which are not threatened by over-fishing. A great combination of sustainable fish and sustainable herbs and spices.
All of our paper - copying paper, envelopes, calling cards – is printed on so-called FSC paper, which stands for Forest Stewardship Council. This organisation, made up of interested parties from the business world and environmental organisations, developed the FSC Quality Mark.
This FSC Quality Mark provides assurances that timber and timber products come from well managed forests. The interests of mankind, animals and nature are at the heart of this. In an FSC-certified forest, felling is done carefully, so that the forest continues to exist for future generations too. FSC also considers it important to take into account the rights of indigenous peoples who live in the forest. In addition, the forest workers are given an honest wage and good working conditions.
Verstegen Spices & Sauces has installed a rainwater recycling system for the Verstegen flat. With the help of this system, all the toilets in the flat are flushed with rainwater. There are two large tanks in a space behind the Verstegen flat, each with a capacity of 5000 litres, which store the rainwater as it drains from the high roof. The contents of the tanks are enough for around 1250 – 1500 toilet flushes.
By means of the pump system, the "grey water" is pumped to the toilet cisterns. Of course, the system can only be used if sufficient rainwater is available. If there is an extremely long dry period, the toilets are automatically connected to the regular water mains network.
In this way, not only Verstegen Spices & Sauces but also all the fellow tenants of the Verstegen flat reuse the rainwater. All the toilets have information stickers (see photo, right) to inform customers and visitors to the flat of this fact.
Sustainable Energy is energy that is not generated by burning petroleum, natural gas or coal, but through clean, renewable sources. Verstegen has been very active in the environmental field for years. Verstegen’s raison d’être therefore owes a great deal to the environment. This means that we show deep respect for the four main elements of the environment: earth, water, air and fire.Energy consumption is inherent to our production process, but the main starting point will always be to seek solutions for recycling energy or reducing energy consumption. Verstegen tries to cultivate awareness for reducing energy consumption, not only in the Netherlands, but also in source countries.Verstegen makes use of green electricity for all its processes. Green electricity is generated from 100% hydro. No fossil fuels, which damage the environment and contribute towards climate change, are used to generate green electricity. Hardly any polluting substances are released in the generation of green electricity, making green energy sustainable.Light sensorsVerstegen’s office premises are also fitted with light sensors. As a result, the lights in these areas will never burn unnecessarily. In this way, we do our bit to preserve our environment
The Environment Barometer forms part of environmental management at Verstegen Spices & Sauces B.V. The Environment Barometer is an online measuring instrument that makes it easy and quick to view the company’s environmental score and environmental costs. The data on energy, water, waste, emissions, transport and paper consumption are filled in.
The programme then displays:
- the total environmental score in one histogram (or pie chart)
- a cost graph
- a CO2 meter
- efficiency indicators
- savings tips
At a glance, you can see which environmental aspects, such as energy, waste, emissions or paper consumption, contribute most to the total environmental score and environmental costs at Verstegen Spices & Sauces. In the Environment Barometer, different years can be compared with each other. This sheds a light on the saving and reduction of environmental aspects.
The CO2 meter is built into the Environment Barometer. When the environmental data has been fed into the Environment Barometer, the results of the CO2 meter can be viewed. For each business activity, the relevant CO2 emission is shown. The CO2 meter also gives a good indication of the influence of CO2 compensation.
The Environment Barometer is supported by the municipality of Rotterdam and the DCMR Environmental Protection Agency Rijnmond
In order to produce different high-quality sauces, cleaning needs to take place between production runs. This is an important process which is automatically performed by means of a CIP (Cleaning In Place) process. The vats and pipes are cleaned in accordance with fixed steps.
By fitting various measurement sensors, a comprehensive diagnosis of the entire process has been performed together with the supplier of the cleaning agents. The measurement data was analysed and the cleaning process optimised further. This resulted in improved and faster cleaning. Additionally, the use of chemicals was cut significantly, as was the amount of water consumed.
In this way, Verstegen has improved the quality of the product in terms of food safety. This is also good news for the environment - fewer cleaning agents and lower water consumption.
Since 2005, Verstegen and Nedac Sorbo have been working together closely in the area of logistics. This partnership in supplying stores has yielded a direct reduction in CO2 emissions.
Supplying consumer goods
In 2005, Superunie switched to Verstegen's consumer goods. This had a particularly large impact on logistics. The majority of the members are visited by a Service Merchandiser. This merchandiser fills up the shelves on the shop floor directly from the van.
With more than 1500 stores, this was an enormous challenge for Verstegen. After going through many options, Verstegen settled on Nedac Sorbo. Nedac Sorbo was already supplying its goods to the members of Superunie and already had the logistics on the road. Through the partnership with Nedac Sorbo, Verstegen piggybacks on its logistical organisation.
deren bij de leden van de Superunie en hadden al het logistiek op de weg staan. Door de samenwerking met Nedac Sorbo lift Verstegen mee op het logistieke apparaat.
Offsetting air travel
At Verstegen Spices & Sauces B.V., we aim to limit general air travel as far as possible. However, we cannot get around travelling by air sometimes - after all, we regularly need to visit our projects abroad. Verstegen is aware of the pollution this can cause, and we have decided to offset the CO2 emitted.
Trees for All
There are quite a few ways of offsetting CO2 – for example, there are companies which trade in CO2 emissions via certificates, but we preferred not to do that. We wanted a concrete project that involves CO2 actually being removed from the air. We looked into the possibility of offsetting in the Netherlands, but our search finally brought us to Trees For All. This is a CBF-certified charity and the foundation is also qualified as a ‘Public Benefit Organisation’ by the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration. The CO2 offsetting, in the form of planting new trees, will take place in Malaysia. We made this choice because our pepper also comes from Asia. A reforestation project has been launched in Malaysia. Some 100 hectares of jungle have already been restored and a start has been made on a further 240 hectares.
Klik hier om het Trees for All certificaat te downloaden.
In 2008, Verstegen decided to supply several of its foreign customers using export boxes. These customers are supplied each week from the Netherlands. The reason for the switch to export boxes was initially to reduce the waste flow at customers and increase the load factor of the trucks. The boxes can be stacked and transported in two layers. An additional benefit is that the cargo can be transported without being damaged.
Because the waste flow is reduced, this saves costs for the customer and we limit our impact on the environment. By increasing the load factor, we emit less CO2 while bringing the same number of boxes to the customer. The boxes are used several times per year and with an average economic life of five years, each box replaces approximately 60 cardboard export boxes and 60 wooden pallets.
Since 2005, Verstegen has increasingly been delivering to Retail Distribution Centres. Formerly, all stores were supplied directly through the Verstegen network. The goods were packed in cardboard boxes, which generated a waste flow for customers.
By delivering to the DCs and no longer to the end customer, the box has virtually become redundant. In its place has come the CBL crate, or in some cases a crate belonging to the retailer itself. The crate is rented from a pool and used a number of times during its economic life. As a result of this change, waste flows have been reduced and the use of the boxes has also fallen. As a result, the impact on the environment has been minimised.
In connection with the efficient use of packaging materials, Verstegen has launched a project to optimise the content of Foodservice and Industrial products under the Verstegen brand name.
Herbs and spices are natural products. These can differ considerably from harvest to harvest in terms of specific gravity. As a result, it is possible that empty space is created in the packaging. From time to time, this can be tackled on a project basis so that the packaging can be filled as optimally as possible again.
The advantages of this are:
• Less use of packaging material per kg product. Thus less damaging for the environment.
• More efficient use of transport, pallet spaces and the filling machine.
• Lower packaging tax.
• The product looks better on the wholesaler’s shelves.
All Verstegen company cars bear an energy label A, B or C and no higher. The drivers of these vehicles receive training with respect to ‘ecodriving’ and are reminded to check their tyre pressure every month. The negative impact on the environment of driving with low tyre pressure relates to the consumption of extra fuel and the accompanying extra emission of pollutants. A second harmful effect is the increased wear and tear on the tyres, as a result of which their life span quickly decreases. This leads to premature replacement of the tyres and more fine dust in the air as the tyres wear. Planning a good schedule in advance is another attempt at driving as efficiently as possible. In this way too, Verstegen tries to relieve the burden on the environment.
The department of Transport and Logistics at Verstegen has been concerned for years with the environment. For more than 10 years, we have been working with an advanced planning package. This is used to plan the best routes and the trucks drive as few empty kilometres as possible. In addition to all other means, Verstegen trucks also have a built-in tyre pressure indicator. With the aid of this device, the driver of the vehicle can be warned when his tyre pressure is too low. This not only saves a lot of fuel, but also indirectly reduces the emission of exhaust gases, such as CO2. It also extends the life of the tyre, therefore less rubber waste on the road.
All of Verstegen’s vehicles are fitted with ‘clean’ engines. This has become a national obligation, partly as a result of the environmental zones in the major cities. Secondly, Verstegen also invests in the latest technologies for its vehicles. Following Euro 3 and 4, the latest trucks have been fitted with Euro 5 and a Euro 6 engines, a few of which are also equipped with the latest EEV technology. EEV (Enhanced Environmentally friendly Vehicles) engines emit 50% less soot particles than the Euro 5 emission requirements, which took effect in 2009. This means that the most stringent environmental requirements are met. Verstegen has also fitted all of its vehicles with a soot filter.
Using less fuel is naturally one of the best ways of saving the environment. Verstegen has already been active for a couple of years in the promotion of ‘het Nieuwe Rijden’ (ecodriving). Once a year, all drivers take part in an anti-skid course, in which attention is also paid to ecodriving.
One of the main things that need to be managed better, not only now, but also and more importantly in the future, is water. The leitmotiv here is how we can secure our water supply in the future too. This is only possible with clever ideas. One of these ideas has already been implemented at Verstegen, within sauce production and dry production. It is the recycling of water, in order to use this water as efficiently as possible.
Verstegen’s CIP installation (Cleaning in Place) is proving to be a truly sustainable factor in practice. The purpose of this installation is to re-clean used Verstegen containers. The CIP installation works in 3 steps. After the container has been positioned, there is a pre-rinse (step 1), followed by a wash (step 2) and then a final rinse (step 3).
The water from the final rinse is re-used as pre-rinse water. In this way, Verstegen saves large quantities of water without this compromising food safety. About 80,000 litres of water a week are saved in this way!