Water stewardship - Greenyard Sustainability Report - greenyard.group
Water stewardship
We use a significant amount of water in our production processes at Greenyard Prepared and Frozen, where it is used to wash, process and preserve our products. Within our Fresh division, we use water to wash fresh cut vegetables and salads which we use in our convenience products.

Availability of fresh water is also vital to grow fruit and vegetables, as evidenced by the severe drought periods throughout Europe this summer. We are conscious of the value of fresh and good quality water and strive to reduce the consumption and mitigate risks every way we can – not only in our own operations, but all through the value chain.

Drinking water – a scarce resource

“Until now, we have always succeeded in safeguarding drinking water supplies,” says Hans Goossens, CEO of De Watergroep, the largest water company in Flanders. “Water is still flowing from the tap every day. However, in recent years, we have been confronted with periods of severe drought that have pushed our reservoirs to the limits. If we do not act now, we will run into problems sooner or later.”

“It is clear we need to find ways to make our drinking water climate-proof. Part of the solution will certainly come from the 3.2 million inhabitants we are serving. But we are also looking to the industry to become more self-sufficient in their water consumption. We stimulate them to close the loop by purifying and re-using the water they need in their production processes as much as possible. The sense of urgency is there, and so is the technology. As the main supplier of water to the Greenyard Frozen plant in Westrozebeke we are in contact with them to see what is possible at this production location, where they use water to wash, prepare and preserve the vegetables.”

Our approach

Within our operations we continuously focus on the optimisation of water use and the possibilities to reuse water. We actively seek to realise water reuse projects at sites with significant water usage.

We are committed to lower the water intensity with around 2% per year. We measure water consumption and water discharge at all of our sites. At sites where water usage is material, we measure this on a daily base. Constant monitoring ensures the quality of water effluent discharge is always in line with the standards of local regulations and permits.

water consumption
washed carrots

Greenyard regularly reviews water-related risks for all its processing sites, using the WWF Water Risk Filter. About 3% of Greenyard water withdrawals are from areas with water stress (WWF Water Risk Filter water scarcity score >3). It concerns one site which depends for 90% on municipal (drinking) water and 10% on groundwater. Other sites are in areas with low water stress.

We acknowledge our responsibility to safeguard sustainable water usage throughout our supply chain. Whereas 34% of the volumes sourced by Greenyard originates from countries with water stress (WWF Water Risk Filter water scarcity score >3), for some products this might be overall the best environmental choice, as dry areas also contribute to a lower use of crop protection products. We seek to support growers to work more efficiently and assist with certification where needed.

Greenyard discloses its water-related risks and impact in detail under the terms of CDP (water security) and it received the score B in 2021.

Our progress

This year, Greenyard consumed 4.16 million m³ water in its own operations, a like-for-like increase by 1,6% resulting from production increases in the Frozen and Prepared divisions. The water intensity for processed products increased slightly due to changes in the product mix. We aim to further reduce the water-intensity in our processing sites by 10% by 2025 through continued water-efficiency investments and increased re-use of water. The slight increase due to a different product mix demonstrated that we are at a stage where all low hanging fruit has been picked. Nonetheless, we aim to keep the 10% reduction target in place, with some larger projects on water re-use ahead.

Greenyard has committed to map the water risk for its entire grower base by 2025. During our third year the focus was on various Greenyard Fresh business entities, bringing the coverage to more than 60% of our suppliers. Steady progress is expected during further years, reaching 90% next year and 100% by 2025.

Greenyard takes part in the Sustainability Initiative for Fruit and Vegetables (SIFAV). Under SIFAV, all private sector partners commit to the implementation of water standards (third-party verification) for 70% of volume from high water-risk countries towards 2025. During the reporting year, the basket of standards was agreed, along with the list of risk countries.

Future plans

In terms of reducing the water dependency in our direct operations, trials to install a novel wastewater treatment plant at our Fresh convenience operations have been successful. At this processing site, which is located in an area with water stress, we are in the process of developing an innovative water treatment plant to re-use processing water of the plant and reduce the need for water withdrawals. The building of this installation is anticipated during FY22-23. The treatment and improvement of wastewater to the quality of drinking water, allows for increased water re-use. This approach is contemplated upon for the replacement of old installations at various Greenyard plants, and preparatory studies are being conducted at another Belgian processing site.

Sustainable packaging
Adjusting our packaging to ensure it's recyclable.
Food Waste & Circular Economy
Climate action
Responsible sourcing
Our approach, our progress and our future plans
Greenyard ist bestrebt, sein Obst und Gemüse auf nachhaltige Weise zu beziehen, die Natur zu respektieren und den Erzeugern einen fairen Ertrag zu bieten. Unsere Nachhaltigkeitsseiten zeigen deutlich, dass es unser oberstes Ziel ist, das Leben zu verbessern.