We are proud of the fact that PLUS carries the largest climate-neutral range in the Netherlands.”Marlijn Simons-Somhorst – Corporate communications and CSR manager, PLUS Supermarkets
PLUS, a supermarket chain in the Netherlands, is a pioneer when it comes to improving sustainability. It was the first supermarket to stock climate-neutral certified coffee and tea, followed by bananas, pineapples, eggplants and oranges. In the near future, potatoes and stone fruit will also be added to that list.
PLUS’ ambition is to achieve a 25% reduction in the carbon footprint of its private label products by 2030. The supermarket chain has developed a ‘foodprint’ plan for the most important edible products, gaining insight into the main elements of the carbon emissions generated by its food range.
Climate Neutral Group, part of Anthesis since 2022, assisted PLUS to review where it could achieve the greatest climate gains. Based on this analysis, PLUS selected a number of sectors to assign the highest priority to, such as fruit and dairy.
Based on this selection, Climate Neutral Group supported PLUS to approach its main suppliers and check whether they have already conducted a footprint, are working to reduce it, and where they may need help.
Climate Neutral Group is also helping PLUS to gain clearer insight into the scope 1 and 2 of its organisation, and to formulate a reduction strategy to address these emissions. PLUS has already taken several major steps in the right direction, including introducing electric lorries and energy-neutral distribution centres.
Offsetting is the final piece of the certification programme and ensures that responsibility is taken for the emissions that cannot currently be reduced further. Both Fyffes and PLUS take that responsibility and invest in VCS-certified sustainable energy projects, such as renewable energy and forestry-related projects.
PLUS sources its bananas and pineapples via Fyffes. In 2019, the bananas supplied by Fyffes Benelux became climate-neutral certified, followed by its pineapples in 2021. Fyffes climate-neutral certified bananas can now also be found at Albert Heijn (the largest supermarket chain in the Netherlands), and other retailers ranging from Sweden to New Zealand are interested.
Here, we worked on a climate change risk assessment for the Fyffes Global sustainability team. We used this assessment to create an overview of climate risks for Fyffes as a whole, from its locations in Africa to Rotterdam. In 2023, we will be helping this fruit supplier to analyse its carbon and water footprints.
The Fairtrade and Climate Neutral Bananas project, which we worked on with PLUS Retail, Fyffes and SIM Supply Chain Management, was completed in the autumn of 2019. We used blockchain technology to make the banana production chain transparent. Consumers can see the route from the plantations in Colombia to the shelves of PLUS supermarkets via a QR code on the banana. They can also see what the CO2 emissions are. All bananas sold in PLUS supermarkets have been Fairtrade certified for 10 years and are now also climate neutral certified. By being fully transparent, PLUS lets people know where the bananas come from and gives them insight into everything that is being done for people, nature and the climate.