Sustainable development

In the area of Sustainable Development, a sense of responsibility is firmly anchored at Malteurop, given the group’s origin and the fact that its shareholding structure is made up of agricultural players. The agricultural cooperative movement cultivates values of solidarity and long-term vision.

This sense of responsibility regarding Sustainable Development also stems from the group’s position as leader of the worldwide malt industry and from Malteurop’s international presence.

Finally, the production of malt and malt extracts entails the processing of a natural product directly derived from agriculture – barley. The malting process is based on a natural biological process: the germination of grain. Malt and its derivatives are intended to be processed by food industries to meet needs that are increasing along with the demographic and economic development of the planet.

Malteurop has clearly identified the areas of impact stemming from its business activity and its strategic position in the value chain. The main areas of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in which the company is acting determinedly are:

  • soil and agriculture
  • water
  • energy
  • food safety
  • workplace safety
  • local development

Malteurop contributes to selecting and developing different varieties of barley that are best suited to the different growing regions around the world. Long-term relationships with the growers ensure secure supplies while at the same time making growers’ revenues more secure.

The malt industry does not generate large amounts of waste and consumes very little in the way of packaging; but it does need water and energy to turn cereal grains into malt – water for steeping and germination and energy for kilning (drying). Therefore water and energy consumption represent the major sustainability issue and the biggest environmental challenge.

Regarding water, Malteurop’s actions are multiple and require large investments. They include:

  • upstream, giving preference to barley crops and varieties of barley that are not irrigated;
  • reducing water consumption during the processing of barley into malt by developing innovative processes and equipment;
  • downstream, ensuring the quality of effluent water.

In the area of energy, Malteurop seeks optimum efficiency. This quest for efficiency makes use of new “smart” systems aimed at seeking the energy mix that is most appropriate to the local context of each malting plant. To do this, Malteurop is very active in implementing innovative solutions, in particular in the area of cogeneration using renewable energy sources.

Regarding the carbon footprint, measured from the field to the brewery, the majority of CO2 emissions originate in activities that are independent of the production of the malt itself. They are associated with barley growing (seeds, fertilizer, growing practices). The second factor that contributes to the carbon footprint is the thermal and electrical energy consumed during malt production. Transport of the raw material - barley - to the silos and malting plants, then shipping of the malt to the breweries and distilleries account for only low levels of emissions.

As supplier of an ingredient used in the manufacture of numerous products for human consumption by the food-processing industry, Malteurop is a stakeholder in the food safety chain.

Regarding workplace safety, malting is an industrial activity that is not labour-intensive. However, the production process requires the constant presence of operators in an environment that does entail risks - working 24/7 in very large installations where considerable volumes of product are processed using large-scale machinery. Workplace safety is therefore an absolute priority. It takes the form of heavy investments in the manufacturing facilities, in prevention and in training for personnel.

With 27 industrial sites in 14 countries, Malteurop is very involved in local development for two reasons. Firstly, the volumes of malt produced are derived essentially from cereal grains grown in close proximity to the malting plants; thus the agricultural raw materials are processed locally, in direct relation with the growers. Also, the group has chosen to give preference to local industrial resources for the construction and maintenance of its production units.

Finally, taking into consideration the highly diverse geographical and socio-economic contexts the group encounters in the 13 countries on four continents where it operates requires a pragmatic Sustainable Development approach. Exemplarity serves as the ground rule in implementing concrete solutions. Successful initiatives or experiments in a local subsidiary are disseminated throughout the Malteurop group. The goal is for best practices to be shared as rapidly as possible.