Fred Vandermarliere, CEO of VCF ( Vandermarliere Family of Cigars ), received a VCDO annual certificate from Voka today, as a reward for the company’s successful efforts in the field of sustainability. VCF signed a sustainability charter in 2021 and, in consultation with the Flemish employers‘ organisation VOKA, set 20 concrete, measurable objectives, all of which were achieved.
“This is a reward for our teams who were able to implement smart improvements, and an encouragement to continue on this path,“ says Vandermarliere. „Together with our VOKA coach, we are now looking at further improvements, such as mapping our CO2 flows, which is key to lowering emission levels”.
Every company that signs the sustainability charter undertakes a voluntary commitment to reduce its footprint every year. „In 2021, we signed the charter and listed 20 objectives. Today, we are proud to announce that they have all been met,“ says Serge Ponnet, who coordinates VCF’s commitment.
100 tonnes of plastic and 600,000 cardboard packaging eliminated
This list of achievements includes a few major milestones. For example, VCF was able to replace all plastic packaging with cardboard for its Neos Exo series, which greatly reduces the environmental impact. Thanks to this change, a volume of 100 tons of plastic has been removed from the production chain.
This significant change was thoroughly prepared. For example, it was a deliberate choice to ban plastic because of the damage it causes to our oceans, whereas biodegradable plastics offer less quality. The cardboard – MetsäBoard – comes with rock-solid sustainability guarantees from the manufacturer.
For a number of other product ranges, VCF also succeeded in significantly reducing the share of cardboard itself. No less than 600,000 cardboard outer packagings were successfully removed from the process. That change was one of the pre-determined goals as well.
VCF’s mobility policy was also analysed. The company’s fleet will be made greener from 2022 by switching to hybrid and electric cars. Every choice is optimized by looking at each person’s commuting route.
Belgian tobacco and eco-friendly sowing methods
Another remarkable initiative: at the initiative of VCF, tobacco for cigar production is making a come-back in West Flanders. This will lead to a revival of knowledge about this traditional craft and the seed species that promote biodiversity in the region. Finally, local tobacco cultivation is the basis for sustainable production because of the shorter production chain.
„We are very satisfied with our first year,“ says Serge Ponnet. „But perhaps the most important achievement is that these projects help us to strengthen the ecological awareness of all our employees. This creates perspectives. We are also very pleased that we have made this commitment with Voka. Of course, they check whether we are fulfilling our commitments, but they also play an important role by making technical knowhow available. They motivate and drive us, like a real partner.“
“VCF is off to a flying start. In their first cycle, they completed 20 sustainable actions, linked to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. These major efforts are rewarded with a first VCDO annual certificate.“, says Voka.