The French company, whose portfolio includes proteins, soluble fibres, maltodextrins and maltitol for food manufacturers as well as wheat gluten and corn protein for animal feed, has focused its efforts on four pillars of sustainability: innovation, sourcing, acting and biorefining.
According to its Activity and Sustainable Development Report for 2017, published this week, it launched Geographic Information System (GIS) technology to monitor crops such as pea and potato. The technology uses satellite observations to detect deficiencies in nitrogen and monitor the crops and yields, and the company said it expected this to “optimise crop cultivation”.
In terms of sourcing, it has promised that one fifth of its supplies will be certified sustainable by 2025.
Innovating sustainably is about understanding customers’ needs, anticipating consumers’ expectations and, in turn, developing food and nutrition ingredients that improve health and well-being. With this in mind, it opened a research and development centre in Singapore in 2017. The group recognised, however, that more needs to be done and “speeding up innovation” is one of the key priorities for the remainder of 2018.
The final pillar, ‘biorefining sustainably’, aims to optimise its energy consumption and save water by installing energy-efficient solutions and using renewable energies “where relevant”.
By 2025, it has promised that its energy efficiency will improve by 10% compared to 2015 and its water consumption per ton of product will be reduced by one fifth. “At the same time, we are committed to implementing technical installations that produce less CO2 thereby preventing one million tons of CO2 emissions by 2025,” it said.
The company, which last reported a turnover of around €3.3 billion, employs 8,400 people worldwide and the third pillar – acting sustainably – aims to improve the health, safety and well-being of these workers.
It brought in a number of culture-specific initiatives designed to improve the well-being of employees. This included a flexible benefit system with support for parents’ medical expenses in the Singapore office “as in the Asian cultural context, taking care of one’s parents is essential”. In France and Switzerland, it introduced a system of teleworking to improve employees’ work-life balance.
It said that a notable achievement of 2017 was when Starch Europe, the European starch manufacturing lobby, awarded Roquette a safety award for six of its plants for effective safety management and employees’ commitment to safety.