Sustainable action as an expression of corporate responsibility has a particularly high priority at HEIDEMARK. On the one hand, our actions today are intended to ensure the current and future needs of our society and, on the other hand, to ensure our long-term business activities. A self-critical view is a matter of course for us as the market leader. We understand sustainability to mean the development of sustainable turkey farming, considering economic, ecological and social factors. In doing so, we contribute our part to implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations. We have firmly anchored these principles in our corporate philosophy.
In 2018, HEIDEMARK formed sustainability team with seven members to bundle and bring forward sustainability activities in the company. The team members come from the Purchasing, Quality Assurance, Human Resources, Marketing and Veterinary departments. Our location in Ahlhorn has been certified according to the ZNU standard since 2019. As the only approved, tested and implemented standard for sustainable management, it includes the three dimensions environment, economy and social. The ZNU standard helps us to become more step by step sustainable and to achieve continuous improvement. In order to make our performance measurable, we are getting externally audited every year.
Animal welfare at HEIDEMARK
In 2010, we worked with experts from research and agriculture to make animal welfare verifiable by means of indicators. The result of this is a bonus system based on these indicators. Measurable animal welfare indicators, such as the condition of the turkey's foot pads, form the basis for our own bonus system. The better these animal welfare indicators are, the higher the bonus payment for the turkey farmer. These payments are independent of the current animal welfare programs. The majority of farms in Germany are certified according to the Animal Welfare Initiative. The farms keep the animals with a stocking density reduced by 10%, bring in even more activity materials and are monitored even more closely. At the same time, these farms are certified according to the VLOG standard without genetic engineering.
Husbandry type 3
HEIDEMARK has created the conditions to offer a continuous supply of goods from alternative husbandry concepts, which is why we have been offering fresh turkey products from husbandry type 3 since 2022. The participating farms have reduced the stocking density by 30%, offer the animals an additional outdoor climate area in addition to the conventional open barn and bring in additional activity materials
Own test barns
In the field of animal husbandry, we conduct research in our test stables and carry out application observations. Whether it's a comparison of feed rations, alternative sources of protein, animal genetics, activity materials or new barn technology: In the test compartments we can examine how innovations can also be implemented in practice. For example, we are currently researching how the optimization potential for current feed recipes is in terms of saving or replacing soy as a protein source by using processed animal protein.
Our sewage treatment plant
Due to climate change, the resource of drinking water is becoming scarcer everywhere. Because of this HEIDEMARK recycles a large part of the wastewater produced during production in its own sewage treatment plant. We have been able to increase our water recycling rates from 21% to 44% since 2017, which means that HEIDEMARK has to take significantly less drinking water from the environment. We have installed an additional system next to our sewage treatment plant to recycle the pre-treated water. Thus, our treated water has the quality of distilled water. The good quality of the water is confirmed by regular internal and external tests. In addition, we are controlled officially on a regular basis.
Energy saving measures
Since 2012, our location in Ahlhorn has been certified according to the DIN EN ISO 50001 energy management system, and since then we have set ourselves the goal of saving 1.3 % energy per year. In the last couple of years, we have always achieved this goal. This means that 15% of energy has been saved since 2012. In addition, we want to operate in a climate-neutral manner by 2045. In order to achieve this goal, we reduced the cleaning and hot water flow temperatures in 2022, so that this action - while maintaining the same quality - saved around 250 t CO2e.
Our priority is to ensure that our products are always packaged safely until the end of the use by date. Nevertheless, we are constantly working on how we can improve our packaging without compromising product safety. The focus is on functionality, the reduction in packaging material, recyclability, tray sizes and unprinted cardboard boxes. To date, we have already been able to work successfully on the material thickness and reduce it to a machine-usable minimum. We even exceeded our goal of saving 8% of the plastic content in our plastic shells from 2019 to 2022 with 13%.
Regionally rooted - internationally successful: That is HEIDEMARK. We are also happy to share our success and have a role model function as a leading company in the poultry industry. That is why we have a firm responsibility towards our employees, the regional environment of our locations and society as a whole. This lived responsibility determines the actions of our employees, who deal with customers, consumers, suppliers and colleagues in a responsible, honest and respectful manner.
We are intensively involved in various committees, associations, working groups and research projects in order to work together and interdisciplinary on our sustainability goals. It is important to us to maintain an open culture of dialogue with our stakeholders. We have therefore set ourselves the goal of increasing communication with our internal and external stakeholders by 10% by the end of 2022. We have achieved this goal. With the introduction of the employee app at the beginning of 2023, we want to continue working on this goal and also intensify communication with our employees in production.
HEIDEMARK donates to various causes every year and likes to do so regionally, as we feel connected to the Oldenburger Münsterland. No matter whether for sports, the volunteer fire department in Ahlhorn, the language support school in Ahlhorn, the hospice in Cloppenburg or the flood victims in the Ahrtal. With our donation, we support the common good. And not only financially, but also with food. Weekly donations to the Tafel are now more important than ever because they are more important than ever. Few years ago we have replaced the Christmas gifts to our business partners with donations.