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Belcolade, the chocolate division of Puratos, is investing 120 million euros in its production plant in Erembodegem. With this investment, Puratos is expanding their largest chocolate factory. Importantly, it will also be an “exemplar of sustainable chocolate production,” according to Jean-Philippe Michaux, CFO and head of the sustainability steering committee at Puratos.

Puratos announces to become world’s first carbon-neutral chocolate factory

Puratos is more than a hundred years old and exports ingredients like butter, heavy cream and flour for bakeries. In 1988, they decided to settle in their own country with one of the national products Belgians are so proud of: chocolate. Over the years, the consumer’s demand for Belgian – and sustainable- chocolate has increased drastically. Especially internationally the demand is rising: from the United States to the Middle-East and Asia. Some segments - from organic chocolate to chocolate with less sugar or with a higher cocoa content - are doing remarkably well.

Gaining and creating on Belgian ground

“With consumer demand for sustainable Belgian chocolate rapidly accelerating, and as the only Belgian family-owned producer of that for professionals here, it was an obvious move for us to expand in Erembodegem,” states Youri Dumont, director of the chocolate business unit at Puratos. “We will nearly double our Belcolade output over the next five years, with customers benefitting from inspiring innovation brought to market faster than ever before.” The investment of 120 million also creates numerous jobs. The staff of the factory is expected to grow with 100 people, supporting the Belgian economy.

Sustainable and honest chocolate

Furthermore, there is a reason they call their chocolate “honest chocolate”. “Cacao Trace” is a program focused on paying a higher price to the cacao farmers in the Ivory Coast, Papua-New guinea, and Vietnam. Earlier this year, they announced the investment of 1 billion euros for further support of the program that is already active in eight countries. This way they are supporting chocolate from the beginning of the process. 

The first carbon neutral chocolate production plant in the world

But not only are they focused on sustainability abroad, they also don’t forget to innovate in their own backyard. The expanded Erembodegem site will also be an “exemplar of sustainable chocolate production,” according to Jean-Philippe Michaux, CFO and head of the sustainability steering committee at Puratos. Belcolade aims to be the first carbon neutral chocolate production plant in the world by 2025, running completely on renewable energy and using rainwater for 90% of their water needs. By using these kinds of measures, they are paving the way for chocolate to be high quality and sustainable, all on Belgian ground. 

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