What does sustainability mean to Ardo?

25 September 2023

What does sustainability mean to Ardo? We asked Emilie Haspeslagh, Sustainability Director and the third generation of the family to work in the family business, as well as Stephanie Cobbaert, Sustainability Coordinator.

Tean sustainability

Sustainability at Ardo. What does that mean exactly?

“A healthy planet is the key to providing nutritious food. At Ardo, we firmly believe this. Our products are gifts from nature, which is why protecting them has been a priority right from the start. Our family has translated that idea into our corporate strategy and culture since the first generation, ensuring sustainability is deeply rooted in both the company and its staff today. By opting for innovative and sustainable practices, we can deliver safe, high-quality products while protecting the environment for generations to come.”

How do you make sure sustainability remains at the top of the agenda?
“My goal is to make Ardo future-proof by taking major steps on our path towards sustainability. Our Sustainability Team implements our sustainability strategy and manages the various actions and campaigns. Stephanie Cobbaert has also recently joined the team as Sustainability Coordinator. She is fully committed to harmonising our sustainability strategy within the Ardo Group.” 

“We keep the planet healthy by taking an innovative approach to our work”

What does the strategy look like?

“Ardo’s sustainability strategy consists of five pillars: agronomy; efficient use of raw materials; food safety, quality and innovation; our staff, and Ardo’s community. It is rather far-reaching: by providing healthy, safe, fresh-frozen vegetables, herbs and fruit, we want to support the transition to an increasingly plant-based diet. In addition, Ardo wants to have a positive impact on the people who work for us and the community. One way we do this is by donating food to NGOs and food banks."

My goal is to make Ardo future-proof by taking major steps on our path towards sustainability

Emilie Haspeslagh Sustainability Director

We also place huge importance on protecting the environment and our natural resources by putting our sustainability strategy into practice. Ardo, and its farmers in particular, are experiencing climate change in the form of the extreme weather conditions we are seeing. The result is lower yields per hectare. This is why we launched the MIMOSA+ programme: with Minimum Impact, Maximum Output, Sustainable Agriculture, we go one step further by improving the climate resistance of our crops.”
And outside the field?
“In the production phase, too, we’re always looking for the most efficient way to process our products. Ardo’s circular operation enables us to utilise waste heat, waste water and vegetable waste, among other things. Take our site in Ardooie, for example. It has an irrigation reservoir that collects rainwater and purified wastewater, which farmers then use to irrigate their fields. The reservoir is also equipped with solar panels for green power. And then there’s our own fermentation plant, where we process our vegetable waste to produce biogas, which we then use to generate electricity to produce our vegetables. And that’s how we close the loop.”
What does the future hold for us?
“We’re acutely aware of the significant impact of our entire value chain. This is why, in the coming months, we’ll be taking a close look at the chain, from suppliers to customers, to find out which parts generate the highest emissions. Ardo will continue to take a proactive approach to sustainability and will continue to innovate, as we are firm believers in the range of benefits this could provide for both our company and the planet. By actively working towards the European goal of becoming climate-neutral by 2050, we are convinced we’re playing our part.”