Transparency about environmental impact
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Transparency about environmental impact

  • 08 February 2021

Late last year, Azura Group became the first tomato producer and supermarket supplier to achieve carbon neutrality for all its operations; from the farm to the consumer's plate. In March 2021, this will also be visible to the consumer with a logo on the packaging.

Azura is a privately owned French-Moroccan family business and one of the world leaders in tomato production. Since its founding in 1990, the company has used seasonal production processes with natural heat and sunlight, eliminating the need for any other source of energy to heat the greenhouses. As a result, these tomatoes naturally have a low carbon footprint: the total greenhouse gas emissions of an Azura tomato ('from farm to fork') are 1.26 kg CO₂ per kg of tomato. Céline Montauriol, CSR Director of the Azura Group: "Every year, almost 192,000 tons of CO₂ are compensated. A specially designed logo will soon make this visible on our packaging. This initiative is in line with our long-term strategy: to offer consumers high-quality, accessible and environmentally friendly products." 

The Life Cycle Assessment

Ten years ago, Azura began measuring its environmental impact using the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) method according to ISO international standards 14040 and 14044. The goal: to improve agricultural practices. "The LCA measures the effects of activities on the environment (in particular CO₂ emissions) and covers the entire product life cycle," explains Céline Montauriol. "So the raw materials, production (from seed to fruit), packaging, product transport, storage and preservation at the distribution site. The calculations include all the tomatoes we produce, regardless of destination. But also the CO₂ emissions generated by the production of the aromatic herbs and edible flowers produced by us." Thanks to various improvements, the company's CO₂ emissions have been reduced by 20% over the past 10 years. Their goal for the coming years is to reduce emissions even further, in line with the plan launched in 2010.

Céline Montauriol

Two compensation projects 

Corporate Social Responsibility goes beyond the climate, Azura believes. In collaboration with the firm Climate Partner (an international independent company specializing in climate protection), the tomato producer has therefore selected two compensation projects that are in line with the company's values and objectives. These are the construction of a wind farm in the Tangier-Tétouan region of Morocco (Gold Standard CER certified), and a project in Tambopata, Peru, which, by protecting 300,000 hectares of the Amazon rainforest, will enable 400 families to live off the production of Brazil nuts (Verified Carbon Standard project, CCBS Gold Level certified). And in partnership with the Albert Heijn Foundation, Azura financed the construction of the largest educational-para-medical center for disabled children and adults in southern Morocco.

More transparency for consumers

"From March 2021, the new '100% carbon neutral' logo will be on all tomato packaging sold at retail," continued Céline Montauriol. "The logo features a QR code. With one simple click, consumers can access relevant information on our website. There we inform the consumer about the projects we support, the carbon offset volume and other actions we have carried out in recent years to reduce the ecological footprint. All aspects of the production chain are covered. Think about reducing packaging weight by almost half (-43% since 2010) saving 1,200 tons of plastic since 2015, but also improving waste recycling. Furthermore, in July 2019 we introduced the 'Zero Pesticide Residue approach and support from the development of local communities with education and, for example, access to drinking water, thanks to the Azura Foundation. We continue to put sustainable development on the map; an environmentally responsible and social approach built around all our operations, employees and consumers."

Source: Vakblad Voedingsindustrie 2021