J ungbunzlauer is one of the world’s leading producers of biodegradable ingredients of natural origin. The Swiss-based international company, whose roots date back to 1867, specialises in biogums, citric acid, gluconates, lactics, specialties, special salts and sweeteners as well as several functional acids. AFBR recently has an opportunity to interview Mr Bruno Tremblay, the CEO of Jungbunzlauer and uncovers the company’s journey towards sustainability and its important role through all parts of the organisation.
The following are excerpts from the interview with him:
Jungbunzlauer’s strategy has a clear focus on sustainability. What role does sustainability play in your overall strategic plan?
Twenty-five years ago, we introduced our slogan “From nature to ingredients®” and, since then, we are committed to sustainability. This vision helped us form and develop who we are, how we work and even more important in today’s context why we are in business. Large-scale fermentation production is how we produce our ingredients, starting with the natural resource, corn. The key for more sustainable manufacturing is continuous optimisation of every step along our production processes.
Our bio-based and fully biodegradable ingredient portfolio offers a series of advantages over fossil fuel and petroleum based alternatives so that we can support our customers in offering healthier, safer, and more sustainable products.
Since 2010, we measure the environmental footprint of our products at Jungbunzlauer. We have invested significant effort and resources to identify and tackle the key drivers of our CO2 emissions looking at the global supply chain and our manufacturing processes.
We are a family-owned company, and the owners have been key stakeholders in shaping Jungbunzlauer’s long-term view on important trends, especially through their commitment to sustainability. We can proudly say that the importance of investments into sustainability in the form of technologies, human resources and adoption of policies had a major impact on us as a team of professionals.
Today, our Sustainability team works within the most-recent framework for assessing and improving the Environmental, Social and Governance status of the company. What I can say is that we have reached a good standard, confirmed by our ESG ratings on major platforms.
Can you tell us more on Jungbunzlauer’s ESG goals and ambitions?
It is our goal to be the most sustainable provider possible and we are proactive in the use of state-of-the art sustainability frameworks. In 2021, we signed the Science-based targets Initiative (SBTi) and developed our 2030 reduction targets shortly after.
In order to receive feedback on our progress, we take part in voluntary ratings on ESG platforms and have received a “B” rating on CDP for Climate Change and for “Water Security” as well as a “Silver” Rating on EcoVadis at Corporate level. We are intensifying our efforts to improve our scores on these platforms in the coming years.
What are your sustainability projects and can you give us some examples?
Jungbunzlauer is part of a value chain across a broad spectrum of industries and provides ingredients to the largest food and beverage companies across all continents. Many of our customers in these industries have developed ambitious climate-related targets, including targets for their value chain, Scope 3 targets. Several large multinationals in the food & beverage industries have even postulated net zero targets by 2040!
All our efforts to minimise Greenhouse gas emissions come into play here: Use of renewable electricity stands at around 80%. Our decarbonisation roadmap includes implemented projects, projects under development and future-oriented projects that require a longer planning horizon.
During the past 3 years, several initiatives, like the purchase of renewable energy and several heat efficiency projects, have already been implemented and have contributed significantly to our lower product carbon footprint.
And for the next 5 years we have plans to invest over €200 million (US$214.3 million) in green energy generation, electrification of core processes and further energy efficiency projects. This is a significant investment for any company.
One of the projects we are particularly excited about is a photovoltaic farm at our largest production site in Austria. The annual energy generated by this project is really impressive; by means of comparison, it will be the equivalent of the annual electricity consumption of ~8,600 households!
As a result of the energy crisis caused by the war in Ukraine, we intensified our efforts to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy. We consider an energy mix of all renewable sources, be it solar, wind or biomass as the appropriate answer to climate change and energy crisis challenges. The implementation of several initiatives for production of regenerative energy are of utmost importance to our Business Strategy.
In short, we take Climate Change very seriously.
What are the other important issues beyond carbon emission reductions when tackling sustainability at Jungbunzlauer?
While we have a clear focus on reducing carbon emissions, we define sustainability in a much broader sense: Our internal materiality shows that 10 major topics are of key importance for us. While environmental topics prevail, next to climate change, water and wastewater are relevant and need careful attention.
Biodiversity is an important emerging issue as we use corn as the key raw material for our large scale fermentation processes. We are developing an initial assessment of the impact of our business activities on biodiversity, before we start a broader programme to manage any impacts.
Another important issue is the assessment of our suppliers in terms of social and environmental sustainability. We want to do the best job we can, understanding any potential challenges that are associated with purchase of products and services for our production sites.
How do you see the future of sustainability and its importance to Jungbunzlauer?
We use science-based frameworks to set our ambitious long-term targets and continue to invest in technologies to save resources, be it fossil energy sources, water, chemicals, or packaging for our existing production sites.
We will continue to invest in the knowledge, new products and new applications that allow our customers to produce more sustainable and biodegradable products with our ingredients and will help them to reduce the use of harsh and non-renewable chemicals and we support this with expansion of our in-house capacities.
We embrace the challenges ahead, and I am convinced that our efforts will pay-off in the long run to position Jungbunzlauer as an exemplary, sustainable supplier of ingredients for the food and beverage industry as well as for non-food sectors in the global market.