CENTRAL EUROPE: FIRST “THE MILL’S CHARTER – BARILLA” HARVEST FOR AXEREAL

Moisson

As part of a growing focus on origination under channels, Axereal Group is honored to announce that this year, for the first time, it has delivered 10,000 tones of sustainable soft wheat to mills supplying the Barilla food group through its operations in Central Europe (Croatia, Hungary and Romania).

With the support of Axereal teams, local producers achieved a first this year: they farmed crops for “The Mill’s Charter – Barilla”, a project run by Barilla, a food group with a strong focus on the environment and sustainable development.

The charter’s stringent specifications require the producers to adopt a crop rotation plan, follow rules designed to reconstitute and maintain nutrients in the soil and sow flowering plants on an area equivalent to 3% of the area sown to wheat to protect pollinating insects. In return, producers who honour the commitments receive higher prices for their crops. This initiative enables Barilla to offer consumers products that are aligned with their values, that support the work of farming communities and that give space back to natural agricultural systems.

“It is very important that we recognise the hard work put in by the Axereal teams and partner local farmers to implement specifications like the Barilla charter. To us, initiatives like these are the future of the food industry. Axereal subsidiaries in each country ensure full traceability for the batches of wheat originated, from delivering seed to the farmers through to loading the trains that supply the mills. Following on from Croatia, Hungary and Romania, over the next few years we intend to invite producers in Serbia and Slovakia to take part in this positive initiative,” said Mikaël Cholière, Managing Director, Axereal Central Europe.

Find out more about Carta del Mulino (in Italian): https://www.mulinobianco.it/lacartadelmulino

Notice of merger

Dear business partners,

 [ Klikni ovdje za hrvatsku verziju teksta ]

We would like to inform you that the merger of Axereal Croatia Ltd., Kralja Petra Svačića 17, Nova Gradiška (ID No.: 40994628705) and Poljoprivredno prehrambeni kompleks (PPK) Ltd., Kralja Petra Svačića 17, Nova Gradiška (ID No.: 48502552270) was finalized as of June 2nd 2021.

Axereal Croatia Ltd. will transfer all assets, rights and obligations to PPK Ltd. and cease to exist.

PPK Ltd. will take over all business functions (legal, accounting, supporting, etc.) and all legal relations, assets and liabilities of the merged company and change its name to Axereal Croatia Ltd.

The new company Axereal Croatia d.o.o. will retain its headquarters in Nova Gradiška, Kralja Petra Svačića 17, OIB: 48502552270, as well as the bank account in Privredna banka d.d. Zagreb, IBAN: HR1223400091100228139, BIC/SWIFT: PBZGHR2X.

We are at your disposal for questions and explanations, you can contact us by e-mail: office.croatia@axereal.com            

We look forward to continuing our cooperation.

Energy lies at the heart of Axereal’s sustainability strategy

For several years now, teams across Axereal Group have been working on multiple projects to reduce our energy consumption. They have triggered strong momentum within the group, with initiatives ranging from production process optimisation to awareness campaigns for staff and an increased reliance on renewable energy. This momentum dovetails into a wider sustainable development strategy. We have in fact been putting in the groundwork for this since the mid 2010s, with efforts to protect the environment and be aware of the priorities of society at large and our customers, while also working to create value. Stemming from this, our CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) policy has various focuses including water management, the development of ecological agricultural practices, and of course all the issues surrounding energy.

Boortmalt has cut its energy consumption by 30% in 8 years

Energy is a key priority for Axereal’s malting plants. Boortmalt achieved ISO 50001 certification in 2015, for the ten malting plants that were part of the group at that time. Today, the focus within these production units is on continuous improvement and reducing their environmental footprint. This strategy will gradually be extended to cover the 16 malting plants that joined Boortmalt in November 2019 with the Cargill Malt acquisition.

Boortmalt will achieve its objectives by putting in place actions in numerous different areas. These will include investment projects (solar thermal panels, biomass power plants, etc.) and optimising operating systems (tracking energy consumption closely to spot anomalies early, installing LEDs across the various sites, running awareness campaigns for teams, etc.).  Multi-pronged five-year action plans have boosted energy efficiency. “Energy consumption is down 30% in eight years across the ten malting plants that were historically part of the group”, said Boormalt’s Energy and Sustainability Manager Joris Van Valckenborgh.

A heat network in Antwerp to cut the group’s carbon footprint

Boortmalt is working hard to limit its reliance on fossil fuels and thereby reduce the carbon footprint of its various units. At its Antwerp malting plant in Belgium, a large-scale project has been launched in partnership with waste management specialist Indaver. A heat network is to be built between the two sites, which stand 8km apart. From 2023, this network will enable the malting plant to harness some of the energy generated by incinerating waste. Hot water will be piped to the Boortmalt plant at more than 100°C.  Gigantic heat exchangers will produce the hot air used to dry the malt, a particularly energy-intensive stage of the production process. “Thanks to this new energy source, we will be able to cut our gas consumption by 30 to 40%”, said Joris Van Valckenborgh. “This will equate to a reduction in carbon emissions of around 35,000 tonnes per year for the Antwerp site.”

Concurrently, a 8MW wind turbine is to be installed on this same site, to supply green energy to the malting plant. A carport with solar panels is also in the pipeline. This 1MW facility will be another source of electricity for the plant, and will also be capable of charging up to 70 electric cars. “With all these projects in place, we are going to see a sharp increase in the proportion of renewable energy used on the site”, Joris Van Valckenborgh explained.  The projects will enable the teams at the malting plant to keep up their impetus towards sustainability, with their sights firmly set on Boortmalt’s ambitious targets. Several years ago, the group began a complete shake-up of its energy policy, with the aim of reducing carbon emissions by 60% between 2010 and 2030.

Reducing the energy consumption of production facilities

Axereal Elevage has undertaken an evaluation of these same energy issues, with an initial phase during which it analysed usages, measured consumption and defined priorities. Following this, an ambitious energy policy was rolled out across the sites.

The machines that keep feed compound sites running day-to-day have been a particular focus. New control systems are gradually being introduced so that teams can track energy consumption much more accurately. “We’re installing variable speed drives on motors,” explains Axereal Elevage’s Deputy Director Jean de Chanay. “We use them to reduce the power on our machines between two batches of work.” And that reduces electricity consumption. The same principle is being applied to the gas boilers used to generate steam. New burners are gradually being installed at the various sites (Saint-Germain-de-Salles and Feurs were the first, followed this winter by Pouligny-Notre-Dame where the burner was changed while a new boiler was being installed). Operating speeds can now be adjusted as required.

As equipment is progressively updated, more energy-efficient alternatives are chosen. This applies not only to new-generation motors, but also to the lighting on all the sites. LEDs are gradually being installed everywhere. At the same time, teams are using innovative solutions to detect where energy is being lost (e.g. by installing leak detectors in compressed air circuits). They are also working to optimise the operation of certain machines.

Axereal Elevage reduces its environmental footprint

Saving energy has clearly become a major focus at Axereal Elevage. “Of all the energy we use today, 85% is covered by energy management”, Jean de Chanay explains. Seven sites are ISO 50001 Energy Management certified. An eighth recently began working towards this.

In gaining this certification, Axereal Elevage has both reduced its environmental footprint and saved energy. At Saint-Germain-de-Salles, for example, gas consumption has fallen by 12% since the burner was changed on the boiler. “Across all our sites collectively, we have cut our annual electricity bill by €50,000”, explains Axereal Elevage’s Project Manager Thomas Benmeddour. The same trend can be seen in diesel consumption. By training drivers in eco-driving techniques and investing in more energy-efficient vehicles, consumption has been reduced by 0.7 litres of diesel for every 100km travelled.

And the approach has another advantage too: “it has led to a shared energy culture across the company”, says Jean de Chanay. As part of this culture, considering the environment has become second nature for the teams. For example, the sales staff no longer travel to see customers unless they really need to, and the heating is switched off in office buildings at the weekend. And all these initiatives save even more energy. “Our energy management project has triggered a focus on innovation among the staff”, Jean de Chanay continues. They discuss ideas and suggest ways of reducing our carbon footprint. But energy management has also significantly boosted knowledge of processes and preventive maintenance, because variances in energy consumption herald technical issues.” It also reinforces “staff’s pride in belonging to a company which is committed to being frugal with our world’s energy resources”.

In another project worthy of recognition, all Axereal Elevage delivery staff are being trained in eco-driving. Some ten drivers attended sessions in 2019, and another thirty will do so this year. The programme teaches simple driving techniques that reduce diesel consumption, such as braking and accelerating gently, paying attention to stopping distances and making use of engine braking where possible. The drivers will put all these excellent tips into practice when they climb back into their trucks.

A successful 2020 harvest is crucial to the country’s food security

The Axereal cooperative has put in place an origination business continuity plan for the 2020 harvest to ensure cooperative members receive flawless service. It expects to see a jump in origination under its CultivUp initiative this year.

The 2020 harvest takes on a whole new meaning

Over the next few weeks, the Axereal cooperative’s 12,700 farmer members will harvest 630,000 hectares of crops. All the group’s collection points will be open to receive them. With the heightened strategic focus on the food sector, this year’s harvest will take on a whole new meaning. “Recent events have highlighted the critical importance of our mission to feed France and help supply the rest of the world. Our region, which is often called the grain store of France, plays a primary role in something that is clearly geostrategic for our nation. Farmers are preparing to stow the fruits of their year’s work safely in our grain elevators, and we should all be proud of what has been achieved,” explains Jean-François Loiseau, Chairman of Axereal. Also noteworthy this year is the growth in channels within Axereal: “in 2020, we are expecting more than 3,000 of our farmer members to harvest their crops under the CultivUp* seal of quality, to feed into sustainable channels. This grain will supply many of our long-standing clients, such as Axiane, Ebly, Panzani, Harrys, Saipol, Lesieur and Boortmalt. Thanks to this significant progress, we are well on the way to achieving our ambition of originating a million tonnes of grain from traceable channels by 2022.”

Safe systems and no bottlenecks on sites

As always, grain elevator sites will be organised to guarantee responsive, efficient operations, but this year protective measures and social distancing will also be a priority. “We have adapted numerous aspects of the way our sites operate and receive visitors. For example, masks must be worn at all our grain elevators and visitors will be required to stay in their vehicles while queueing and to drop their delivery notes into a tray. We have recruited and trained our 650 seasonal staff remotely, and we have particularly stressed the importance of protective measures and social distancing. A plan has also been prepared under which permanent Axereal group staff could be made available should the teams on the ground need backup at short notice to ensure business continuity,” explains Jérôme Bos, Agricultural Businesses CEO. On the logistics front, Axereal will continue this year to roll out its “Optimax” system to optimise the supply chain by rationalising costs and improving performance.

Cooperation – a key value comes into focus at harvest time

This harvest is the culmination of a year that has been rich in dialogue and empathy between the cooperative and its members: we have supported farmers to boost income from their production, developed channels and added value by increasing processing activities. Locally based, participative and agile governance is a day-to-day priority for Axereal.
As ever, empathy lies at the heart of the group’s strategy, and will continue to guide its work over the next few weeks, a crucial period for producers.

Jean-François Loiseau, Axereal Chairman of Axereal, and Paul-Yves L’Anthoën, CEO

“Moving forward together into a new world. ”

The period in which we live is entering a new phase. This is a phase of heightened health and safety measures which must be rigorously implemented in the long-term to continue the fight against the spread of Covid-19. During this phase we will also need to devote all of our energy to serving our farmers and customers as they continue their activity.

Whilst there are signs that the economy will gradually recover, strict application of preventative and protective measures must continue for our farmers, staff and partners. Our collective experience shows our effective response to the first phase of this new health challenge and our successful adaptation to the new context. We need to continue this effort in the long-term for what is now our daily life.

It is now accepted that the crisis will have a lasting impact on consumption, including food consumption. And yet this crisis has highlighted how vital our entire production chain is, reminding us of the valuable work done by our farmers and those across the sector. Production, collection, processing, logistics and distribution – from the beginning of the crisis the commitment, solidarity and professionalism our specialist sectors have shown has been applauded by our society for whom food supply has become an essential issue.

We know that the lifting of the lockdown period does not mean a return to life as it was before. This post-lockdown period will be long, will last several months and will have a strong economic impact. In the face of the many challenges that await us, the efficiency, passion and usefulness of each one of us will be the driving force of our commitment at Axereal in serving our farmers, customers and consumers.

Jean-François Loiseau, Axereal Chairman
Paul-Yves L’Anthoën, CEO.

A new CEO for Axiane Meunerie

David Hubert has been appointed CEO of Axiane Meunerie, as of 22 January 2018. He is a member of the Axereal Group Executive Team.

David is 42 years old. He joined the group in 2011 to run Galys, where he made significant improvements to performance. In 2014, he moved into a wider role heading up the Specialised Activities business unit. David will work with Dominique Navereau to amalgamate the group’s Vines business and consolidate Agralys Distribution, as well as managing the sale of the latter to InVivo group.

Axereal attends the European Commodities Exchange in Brussels

This is the most important annual event for the international grain and agri-food industry. The aim over the two days is to bring together the various players in the sector and explore new opportunities for the grain market and other agricultural products. Marketing and supply teams from Axereal, International Trade, Boortmalt and Central Europe were there to strengthen the network and meet their clients and new leads.

At the Axereal stand, events were managed by Yahia Chabanne, head of developing the micro-brewery market in France. He arranged for our brewery clients to taste Belgian, French, Irish and British beers. The idea was to communicate about our four brands of specialised malts for the artisanal beer market. Yahia introduced visitors to the subtlety of the malt varieties and their effects on beer production.

On the private side of the stand, the emphasis was on the Group’s CultivUp project which aims to promote the know-how of members and the quality of their products, and to promote sustainable agriculture to industrial clients. Carmen Dechêne, who runs the Group’s CSR programme, was alongside sales reps to convey the CultivUp message to clients.

The Group’s Vice-Chairman, Bruno Bouvat-Martin, also made the trip to demonstrate once again his support and that of the Board of Directors for all sales staff.

With the exchange being held just 100 kilometres from our Antwerp malting plant, this was too good an occasion not to promote the Group’s malting business. On Thursday night, sales reps invited a group of special clients on a tour of the malting plant to show off our equipment and, in particular, the fourth malting tower currently under construction on the site. The day was rounded off with a festive dinner with the clients at the Maison des Brasseurs (the Brewer’s House) in Brussels’ old town.

This 57th edition of the exchange attracted more than 3,500 participants from 56 countries. See you in 2018 at a French export hub: Rouen.

CultivUp, une initiative Axéréal en faveur de l’agriculture durable

The Sustainable Agriculture Initiative (SAI) Platform, which brings together agri-food industries, has drawn up an international standard for sustainable agriculture. The SAI has awarded Axereal a silver medal for its members’ commitment through the CultivUp initiative.

“Our aim is to support agri-food industries in securing their supply chain through an offer of sustainable raw materials. CultivUp strengthens the link between consumer and producer”

Céline Montauriol, head of CSR for the Axereal Group.

The SAI platform’s agri-food industry members include such major names as Unilever, Heineken, Mondelez and Nestlé. It defines sustainable agriculture standards to meet increasing consumer demand.

Through its CultivUp initiative, Axereal Group meets all criteria: economic, societal and environmental. More than 1,700 Axereal members have committed to the initiative and that number will rise to 4,000 by 2022. Axereal Group is already able to offer its agro-industrial clients grains coming from sustainable agriculture.

The certification audit carried out by Control Union has resulted in us being awarded the silver medal. “These days, our clients are more and more demanding regarding the production criteria for the raw material they purchase. Through CultivUp, we are helping raise overall standards in the French grain sector,” said Céline Montauriol.

This initiative means the Group can guarantee its agro-industrial clients supplies which respect their own sustainability criteria – a commitment they can promote to customers when presenting end products.