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Sustainability report

De Graaf Bakeries 2023

Our scope 1-2 footprint has been reduced by 64% since 2020.

We are proud to present the De Graaf Bakeries sustainability report for 2023, sharing the progress we have made in pursuit of our ongoing commitment to reducing our environmental impact and making our business practices more sustainable.

Our ambitions

We have translated the United Nations sustainable development goals into concrete objectives on which we as a company can make an impact. We focus on five priorities and take responsibility for each.



Climate consious

Achieve carbon neutrality by 2030 (scopes 1 and 2) and a 50 percent reduction in carbon emissions per kilogramme of product in scope 3.

Smarter packaging

100% recyclable packaging, with continuously decreasing environmental impact and maximum use of recycled materials.

Fair, short supply chain

Palm oil free, ‘Better Life’ meat, free-range eggs, and sourcing from within the Netherlands/European Union.

Less waste

 < 1% product waste

Healthier lifestyles

40% less refined sugar, with 30 percent of new products achieving a Nutri-Score of B or C.

The Environmental Barometer displays our environmental impact

Since 2020, we have been filling out the Environmental Barometer to measure our environmental impact.

Our total impact in 2023 was a remarkable 32% less than in 2020, despite an increase in production volume of over 50% and the addition of the Emmen location since 2021.

Our impact per kilogramme of product has decreased by 55%.


At each production location, the environmental impact per kg of product has decreased:

In Hoogeveen, this reduction is 71% compared to our base year of 2020, primarily due to

In Spakenburg, there has been a 21% improvement compared to 2020, mainly due to

In Emmen, our environmental impact in 2023 remained the same as in 2022, despite a 50% increase in production volume.

Our headquarters at Metaalweg in Spakenburg continues to consume less gas because since 2022, we have been heating it with waste heat from the adjacent freezer warehouse.

Our CO2 footprint


Climate Consious

In 2023, we had our 2030 climate target for Scope 1 and 2 reviewed by SBTi and our near-term target was approved. This is our commitment to the Paris Agreement. Our efforts have resulted in a further 64% reduction in the Scope 1-2 Footprint per kg of product compared to our 2020 baseline, and a total reduction of 45% since 2020. To achieve our goal, we are committed to purchasing green electricity and electrifying our lease car fleet. In 2023, our total CO2 footprint per kg of product was 13% lower than in 2020, with an average carbon factor of 3.39 kg CO2 per kg of product.


Less waste

We aim to minimise food waste and maximise recycling. Our goal is less than 1% production waste by 2030. Last year, we reduced our production waste by 6%, particularly in Hoogeveen. In 2023, our total product waste, including logistics, reached 3.00%, while we reduced the residual waste stream from 30% to 20%. In 2023, we have also reduced the environmental impact of our waste and drinking water. We recovered 85% more product residues from cleaning water and used 9% less drinking water, reducing this category by 20% when compared to 2020.


Smarter packaging

Since 2023, we have accurate data regarding our packaging, which averages 81 grams per kg of product with an environmental impact of 87.5 grams of CO2. We are committed to 100% recyclable materials and reducing our environmental impact, with a focus on recycled materials. 99.3% of our packaging is now recyclable, with just 0.7% composite. All our cartons and trays are FSC® and/or PEFC® certified. In 2023, we have implemented a number of smarter packaging projects such as rationalising outer cartons, switching to paper clips to reduce waste and switching to brown cardboard.


Healthier Lifestyles

We offer healthier alternatives with less sugar, less fat and more fibre, including alternatives to all our bestsellers. We developed 12 products with a Nutri-Score of B/C in 2023. In 2024, our focus is on sugar reduction. The plan for this is already in place. In addition to product development, we are committed to providing fair, safe and healthy working conditions. This includes initiatives such as our internal Academy, employee satisfaction survey, ongoing risk inventory and assessments, investment in safety equipment, a health programme that includes fruit, a health bonus and a mobility scan that shows more cycling potential with a current B label.


Short, fair supply chain

Ecovadis awarded us a silver medal for sustainability in 2022. This audit will be repeated in 2024. We are working towards fully RSPO certified margarine and palm oil free alternatives. Our meat carries the Better Life label. Almost all our egg products are free range and 96% of our chocolate is Fairtrade or Rainforest Alliance certified. Our own brand products always carry the Better Life label for meat, eggs and Fairtrade chocolate. We focus on local sourcing of raw materials within the Netherlands and Europe. Our butter, flour, sugar, apples and raisins are 100% European.

Core values

What we believe in



We prioritize safety


We are the best in our field

Customer oriented

We grow together with our customers

Team de Graaf

We create workplace happiness


Aart de Graaf

Aart de Graaf

We are proud to present the De Graaf Bakeries sustainability report for 2023, sharing the progress we have made in pursuit of our ongoing commitment to reducing our environmental impact and making our business practices more sustainable.

This commitment is driven by our belief that as a company, we have a responsibility to protect our planet for future generations while ensuring the resilience of our business for the future.

One of the highlights of this report is the impressive reduction in our environmental impact. Despite a significant increase in production and the expansion of our facility in Emmen, we have managed to reduce our overall impact by 32% compared to 2020. This demonstrates that our efforts to operate more efficiently and embrace environment-friendly technology are yielding results.

Another key aspect highlighted in this report is the ongoing reduction of our CO2 footprint. Our emissions per kilogramme of product have decreased by 13 percent compared to 2020, and we are ahead of schedule in achieving our ambition of being climate neutral by 2030. Our scope 1-2 footprint has been reduced by 64% since 2020.

We do not rest on our laurels regarding our achievements, but also look towards the future. In this report, we share our plans to continue initiatives such as buying green energy, electrifying our leased vehicle fleet and promoting alternative choices for a healthier lifestyle. We also continue to collaborate with our suppliers to reduce their CO2 footprint and strive for a fair and short supply chain.

Lastly, we are grateful to our employees, partners, and other stakeholders for their continuous support and involvement in our sustainability efforts.

Climate consious


“We never take our energy consumption for granted, and are committed to transitioning to clean power.

In recent years, we have made every effort to save energy and make this transition. I’m constantly searching for new technologies, such as heat pumps, batteries, and AI, that facilitate the move.

Additionally, we’re increasingly working with the rest of the supply chain to reduce scope 3 emissions.”

Maikel van de Groep

Lead Engineer & Sustainability

SBTi approval

In 2023, because we want to contribute proactively to a net-zero economy, we had our 2030 scope 1 and 2 climate goals assessed under the Science-Based Targets initiative. Our near-term target was approved. By doing this, we committed ourselves to the Paris Agreement, which aims to limit the rise in average global temperature to 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius by 2050.

Own CO2 emissions
2030 target: climate neutral

The reduction in scope 1-2 footprint continues to progress, and now stands at 64% per kilogramme of product compared to our base year of 2020.

Our scope 1-2 footprint per euro of revenue has decreased by 67% in absolute terms, and by 45% in absolute terms.

Purchasing green electricity and electrifying the leased vehicle fleet are the next steps towards our goal of becoming climate neutral.

Our total CO2 footprint per kilogramme of product in 2023 was 13% lower than in 2020. The average CO2 factor of all our products is now 3.39 kilogrammes per kilogramme of product.

Klimaat bewust - Scope 1 en 2 per productieomvang

Energy consumption

We measure the exact gas and electricity consumption of all our heating and cooling processes in order to monitor energy savings.

Our use of green electricity will increase to 100% between 2024 and 2026, in line with our SBTi commitment.


Freezers in Hoogeveen

The freezing programmes have been revalidated, allowing us to minimise energy consumption in the freezing process while still ensuring quality.


Solar panels

1.7% of our energy is generated by the 519 solar panels on the freezer house. To prevent overloading of the energy grid, we had to reduce the panels’ output several times last year.


Gas consumption

In 2023, we consumed 7.5% less gas than in 2020 and 13% less than in 2022. Our goal is to use only gas for our production processes (ovens/frying) by 2025. Buildings and cleaning water will then be heated entirely using waste heat from our production processes. We can further electrify our production processes only if there is an adequate electricity supply


Due to the reduction in scope 1 and 2 emissions, we have already reduced the share of ‘own emissions’ from 10% to less than 4%. 96% of CO2 emissions are now in scope 3, almost all from our raw materials.

Scope 3 was 7.4% lower in 2023 compared to 2020 (per kg of product). Part of this reduction stems from increasingly accurate data in scope 3. For example, we now know the exact weights of our packaging materials and have a clear picture of the exact pallet mileage used to transport goods. This turned out to be less than we had previously estimated.


We engage with our suppliers regarding their footprint and ask them to provide their own CO2 factor and reduction plans. This year, we received a CO2 factor for sugar and flour from our suppliers and incorporated it into our data. This resulted in a reduction of approximately 3% in scope 3 emissions, as these products perform better than the average for flour and sugar compared to the RIVM database on the environmental impact of food products.

48% of our scope 3 emissions are caused by animal-based raw materials. Therefore, transitioning to more plant-based protein will also help us achieve reductions in these emissions.

In 2023, our sales within the plant-based category grew faster than within the vegetarian and meat categories for the first time.


The proportion of meat that we replaced with meat substitutes increased from 3% to 6% in 2023. However, we increasingly observe that a fully plant-based alternative is chosen instead of the meat substitute. Plant-based sales have grown by 12%, surpassing the sales growth of meat and vegetarian snacks. Plant-based snacks now account for 2% of total sales.

We offset the 35 tonnes of CO2 emissions generated by shipping our samples to customers within the EU by purchasing trees through Trees for All, an organization dedicated to creating a forested world.

Less waste


“We often don’t realize the effort and environmental impact it takes to produce food. The cost is about not just money, but also the efforts of farmers, the natural resources used and the ecological footprint left behind. That’s why it’s essential to waste nothing. By continuously improving our processes and habits, we can handle our resources more efficiently, including raw materials, packaging, energy, and water, to produce food.”

Zeger de Graaf

Continuous Improvement Specialist

Product waste

Product waste is food waste and we aim to prevent it in the first place or at least use it as efficiently as possible.

The total amount of product waste decreased by 3%, from 3.10% in 2022 to 3.00% in 2023. This includes the logistics process. Of this, 2.5% goes to animal feed and 0.5% is processed into biogas.

Our goal is to achieve less than 1 % production waste in our bakeries by 2030. Last year, we achieved a 6% reduction, from 2.97 to 2.80%, across our three production locations. This was achieved mainly in Hoogeveen through a daily focus on product waste.


Residual waste stream

The improvement in waste separation has continued. The residual waste stream has been reduced from 30 to 20%. We separate paper, plastic film, hard plastic, and product waste.


In 2023, the environmental impact of our waste and drinking water further decreased. We captured 85% more product residues from cleaning water compared to 2022, partly due to the larger grease trap we installed in Spakenburg in 2022. These product residues no longer end up in our wastewater, but are converted into biogas. Together with an absolute 9% reduction in drinking water consumption, we reduced this category by 20% (per kilogramme of product) compared to 2020, despite the addition of the Emmen location in 2021.

Next year, we will further focus on preventing water waste and avoiding product residues in wastewater.


Smarter packaging


“To make the right choices in terms of packaging sustainability, we need up-to-date knowledge in house. We’re therefore training a packaging technologist so we can advise our customers both on sustainable products and packaging.”

Maikel van de Groep

Lead Engineer & Sustainability

Since 2023, we have had a clear picture of the exact weights and materials of our packaging. As a result, we now know that we use an average of 81 grammes of packaging per kilogramme of product, with an average environmental impact of 87.5 grammes of CO2 per kg of product.

Our goal is first to use 100% recyclable material, and then further to reduce the environmental impact per kilogramme of product. Where possible, we maximise the use of recycled material.

Improvement projects that we implemented in 2023 include

Healthier lifestyles


“In sustainable development, it’s important not to lose sight of taste. We’ve all become accustomed to the taste of butter, sugar and salt. While substitutes are readily available, many compromise on flavour. Over the past year, we developed the Snackrolls range of plant-based products with a Nutri-Score of C. This involved a new dough, pure fillings and extensive testing.

“This is still a long-term journey. We’re also making strides in sugar reduction by pushing the boundaries to see how much we can cut out without compromising on taste.”


Marco van Wijk

Marketing Manager

Our goal

We take responsibility by offering healthier alternatives with less added refined sugar and saturated fat, more fibre, more plant-based options, and portion control. We provide healthier alternatives for all our bestselling products.

Last year, we developed twelve new products for our own brand, half of which have a Nutri-Score of C. Here are a few examples of new snacks:

Our goals in 2030

In 2024, our focus will be on sugar reduction. The plan for this has already been prepared.

Work safely

Employee health and safety

We not only focus on the development of healthier products, but also ensure that our people can work in a healthy and safe bakery environment.


Short, fair supply chain


“Procurement is an essential part of our sustainability strategy, focusing on local sourcing, fair trade, poverty alleviation and the protection of labour and human rights.

We aim for an ethical and responsible approach to our procurement practices, considering not only the products we acquire but also their impact on the world and its inhabitants. In the upcoming year, we will incorporate these issues into a code of conduct for our suppliers to further strengthen sustainable procurement.”

Lute Stoelwinder

Senior buyer


Ecovadis is a recognized system used by retailers to audit us for social and environmental sustainability.

We achieved a silver medal in 2022, and will undergo this audit again in 2024.


Short chain


Fair chain

All palm oil used in our margarine and other ingredients is certified by the Round Table on Sustainable Palm Oil. We are working towards using only fully palm oil-free margarine.