'Sustainable' is our middle name... isn't it?
When we talk about sustainability, we talk about the long term. It is the mission of the shareholders and the management of Vital 1926 NV to think and act in function of the future. And the history (since 1926) already reveals it.
The goal of team Vital: structurally building sustainable entrepreneurship.
Since the construction of the current production hall (2004-2005), whereever possible and applicable, we have already looked at the improvements and changes we could make to achieve this. First and foremost, we've looked at where we could improve within the processes.
More than fifteen years ago, an inventory was therefore made of the improvements achieved in recent years, and it was decided to select six areas on which concrete work will be done for the future. These domains are:
Sourcing of raw materials
Every year, during the Management Review meeting, a number of small and larger goals are converted into projects and potential investments.
Check the list of achievements below
For years, we have opted to work exclusively with chocolate that only contains Rainforest Alliance certified cocoa. We are also partner of Fairtrade Belgium for the production of nougat with cane sugar and honey.
2022: After having made energy saving investments between 2014 and 2018 and having reduced the total consumption by 20%, 352 solar panels were installed on the roof of the factory ...with some delay due to covid19. They have a total capacity of 140 800 watt peak and save 52 000 kilograms of CO2 annually. Electricity production is immediately used for 85-90%, so that the upload on the electricity grid remains very limited.
At the same time, 10 charging points for hybrid and electric vehicles were installed, accessible to the public 24/7.
2015: The water cooling we need in production, to cool the nougat, consumed about 750 000 liters of water per year. A closed system was placed, reducing it to zero. Geothermal energy does not require electrical cooling to keep the water at the right temperature. Nothing is consumed or discharged.
All sanitary facilities are provided with recuperated rain water.
2021: Our (slightly outdated) ice water installation for the cooling and drying of the factory climate, and the production processes, was replaced. Lennox's new system meets future legal requirements, we are now ahead of the law and consumption is reduced by 15%. Moreover, we consciously opt for leasing instead of purchasing, so that we can work with improved technology again within a few years.
2018-2019: We've analyzed the incoming and outgoing movements around the factory and have taken two measures to improve mobility and thus reduce emissions. The number of outgoing transports is reduced to two per week, and various raw materials that we used to purchase outside Europe are transferred to suppliers in Western Europe, preferably Belgium. 2020-2022: Three conventional combustion engine vehicles are replaced by two plug-in hybrids and one electric vehicle.
2020: We were the first in the world to succeed in creating 100% plant based granulated nougat. Numerous alternative protein sources were tested as an alternative to (chicken egg) albumin. In the end, a green pea protein comes out on top, and after extensive testing we've arrived at the desired results. Today, the first customers are already working with this granulated nougat for their production of chocolate, ice cream and pastries.
2019: An energy audit is carried out and a number of points for improvement emerge from this. All lighting (based on gas discharge lamps) in the factory is replaced by new fixtures, equipped with LED lighting, which reduces consumption by a drastic 72%. In addition, the number and placement of the light points is analyzed judiciously, so that we have more yield with fewer lamps.
2016-... With every product development, the impact of the packaging of the end product is studied. The size, nature and material of the packaging has a crucial effect, and dwelling on this is a continuous process. Among other things, alternatives are being sought for e.g. polypropylene (from petroleum), although not yet available in sufficient quantities, and for recycled/recyclable materials.
1926-20..? And last but not least, we pay a lot of attention to the mobility of our team. We strive for maximum partnerships with employees who live in Nevele/Deinze, or as close as possible to the company.
In addition, we have been granting our team the tax-friendly bicycle allowance for several years now, and a bicycle leasing system is launched in 2023.