Our strategy: Building Balanced Chains

To live up to our purpose of providing Food that Matters, our strategy is to Build Balanced Chains (BBC) to offer safe, healthy, tasty food while creating value across a future-proof ecosystem. We see it as our role to connect and balance supply and demand in a sustainable way. Our job is to create balanced food supply chains that are demand-driven and relevant for all partners:

  • Farm management optimisation: making relevant data available to farmers for optimising their management and improving animal welfare, efficiency and environmental sustainability effects.
  • Protein valorisation: balanced supply and demand, with flexibility and a range of options for valorisation from head to tail.
  • Product specialisation: unique concepts and product innovations that tap into prevailing consumer trends.

The very best products, fresh on your plate, demand supply chains that are as short as possible. This helps to get the best products into shops and restaurants in the best possible way. As a trusted partner at the midpoint of supply chains, we connect a group of farmers to a group of customers.

In our CSR report, you can read more about our strategy Building Balanced Chains.

Our vision on corporate social responsibility

Vion has been engaged in corporate social responsibility for quite some years. Whereas food safety is a condition sine qua non, we sincerely aspire to produce meat respecting animal welfare and a sustainable environment.

Food in general and meat in particular is a popular subject of numerous societal debates. These debates can be grouped into four major themes:

  • animal welfare (at farm and post-farm gate)
  • supply chain (related issues such as traceability, transparency and product integrity)
  • the environmental impact of meat production
  • human health

At Vion, we have decided not to shy away from these debates, but to participate actively in the societal dialogue on these relevant themes. We intend to stimulate the discussion with, and the creativity of our stakeholders on these relevant items. Together, we want to develop solutions to guide our industry to implement best practices.

In our CSR report, you can read more about our CSR strategy and the measures we take.

How we create value

Our value creation model shows how we create value and work on a sustainable future.

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Our corporate social responsibility topics

With regard to our business, and the effect of other companies in the supply chain on our business, we have developed a list of the relevant CSR topics for Vion. We listed 14 relevant topics: 7 social topics, 5 environmental topics, and 2 economic topics.

To define the material topics out of all 14 relevant topics, we performed a materiality analysis. We evaluated each topic based on two dimensions:

  1. The extent to which the topic has an influence on the assessments and decisions of stakeholders (y-axis of the matrix)
  2. The significance of Vion’s social, environmental and economic impact on that topic. For the second dimension, we defined how much of an impact Vion can have on each topic, by itself or by influencing other stakeholders (x-axis of the matrix) and plotted them in a materiality matrix.
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The nine topics that ended up in the upper right corner of the materiality matrix are the material topics for Vion and its stakeholders. Of the nine material topics for which we strive to minimise negative impact or optimise positive impact, the following sixtopics are the most crucial for the day-to-day success of our business.

In our CSR report we share our approach to all these CSR topics.

Food safety

Each day, 100 million consumers have a meal with some ‘Vion inside’. It goes without saying that these products need to be safe and wholesome. Our primary responsibility, therefore, is to guarantee the safety of all our products, in all aspects.

To safeguard our production processes, Vion is continuously investing in its infrastructure and rigorous quality systems. We apply strict procedures, supporting different independent certification schemes to improve food safety management – such as IFS, BRC, IKB, QS, GlobalGap and Organic.

Read more about this CSR-topic

"Each day, 100 million consumers have a meal with some Vion inside"

"It is our duty to handle the animals respectfully"

Each day, we handle thousands of animals. It is our duty to handle these animals respectfully. To guarantee animal welfare, we invest in the necessary infrastructure, training our employees and installing supervision technology such as Closed Circuit Television (CCTV).

Animal welfare in transportation
Having a slaughterhouse network of appropriately-sized locations in relation to the livestock density in a given region, enables short animal transportation distances with below 8 hours of transportation time. We also control animal welfare by investing in modern animal transport vehicles and conducting standardised transport checks at every unloading point. Also, external veterinarians inspect all animals at the time of unloading.

Animal welfare in slaughtering
At our slaughterhouses we control animal welfare by, among others, training and educating all of our employees that work with livestock. Specially trained animal welfare officers ensure that the guidelines are adhered to, they receive biannual training. During working hours, the lairage, stunning and slaughter areas are under continuous supervision by at least one official veterinarian.

Furthermore, Vion’s veterinary expert team evaluates the performance of the slaughterhouses and the supplying farms. The animal welfare outcome data is reported to our executive committee. In the case of non-conformities, the responsible people have to take corrective and preventive actions.

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Employment and working conditions

Our workers are our main asset. In 2020, Vion provided an income and livelihood to 5,265 employees and 7,284 thirdparty workers. The health and safety of our workers is always of the utmost importance. This is due to their intensive work and the equipment they use, among other reasons, but this year also especially due to their possible exposure to COVID-19. Furthermore, it is not only important for them and us, but also for society as a whole. A growing number of customers require workplace accountability assessments in order to ensure a safe workplace. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the new German draft law, this topic is of more interest to external stakeholders then it was before.

Approximately 60% of the workers at Vion were hired via third-party labour providers. The working and housing conditions of migrant workers was a particular topic of public debate. As of 2021, a new law in Germany requires companies to employ workers for their core business direct, rather than hiring them through flex agencies. Due to this new law, Vion will also be responsible for their housing and commute. Vion already integrated 250 employees in Germany in a pilot project in December 2020 and will integrate a further 3,000 in 2021. In January 2021 we started with around 65% own employees and 35% third-party labour workers.

 

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"The health and safety of our workers is always of the utmost importance"

Sustainable farming

The topic ‘Sustainable Farming’ is part of our strengthened sustainability strategy, containing topics and targets which are important for sustainable food production and consumption. Vion intends to bring transparency and sustainability agendas together and offer our stakeholders and especially the consumer the possibility of making an informed choice. This means consumers will be able to choose using information not only based on animal welfare, but also on sustainability. Vion will provide consumers with information on topics such as the carbon footprint on food items like pork, beef and meat alternatives.

"Consumers will be able to choose using information based on animal welfare and sustainability"

"To provide insights to consumers, we work together with our suppliers and customers"

All animals that arrive at Vion are clearly marked by ear tags or other unique identification. Their labels and the underlying databases allow traceability to the place of birth for all the pigs and cattle. After slaughter, the carcasses and deboned products are bundled into batches with similar traits, like: country or region of origin, quality programmes, breeds and/or production dates. All of Vion’s external sold volume is traceable to a small group of livestock farmers.

Product integrity and the correct labelling of products are needed to be a trustworthy supplier. To ensure product integrity Vion uses different systems like NEN-ISO and IFS Food. We have integrated, and will roll out further, specific integrity standards such as Orgainvent and the CBL integrity standard in our processing facilities.

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Fair pricing

Fair prices are important for stability in the supply chain and therefore ultimately important for all supply chain partners. As a central player in the supply chain, Vion has an influence on the structural development of supply chains, in order to support a fair distribution of value in the production supply chain, and to steer volatility. We cooperate intensively with both our customers (retail, processors, and food services) and farmers to develop innovative and sustainable pricing models.

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"Fair prices are important for stability in the supply chain"

CSR report

Realising that the meat industry was the subject of important societal debates, Vion has been engaged in corporate social responsibility (CSR) since quite a few years.

In April 2017, we published our first CSR report. This report was tangible proof of our comprehensive reflection on the major themes in the European meat industry. In November 2017 we were awarded one of the three Crystal prizes by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, being the fastest climber on the Transparency Benchmark.

In 2020 Vion was a performer on Tier 3 of the global Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare. This benchmark evaluates the world’s leading food producers, retailers and food service companies on their management and transparency in the area of animal welfare.

In our 2020 report, concrete results achieved in major topics that are relevant to the future of the meat chain are shared. It is the way forward to Building Balanced Chains (BBC), in which aspects of sustainability are linked to the product in the supply chain to the consumer.

Transparency websites

Consumers, animal welfare organisations, politicians. In the Netherlands and Germany, the need for more background information and transparency in food production has increased in recent years. As the first company in this sector, Vion wants to provide better information through our transparency website, thus meeting society’s desire for more transparency.

Vion-transparantie.nl
Vion-transparenz.de

Background information and transparency

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