Pioneering achievement in climate protection
Chocolate Halba consumes a lot of energy – mainly electricity for the many different processes involved in manufacturing chocolate. Energy usage is associated with CO2 emissions. To protect the climate, the company is reducing its own greenhouse gas emissions and offsetting the remainder within high-quality projects. On this basis, Chocolats Halba’s manufacturing operations have been completely climate-neutral.
The industrial manufacture of chocolate requires a range of steps that are highly temperature-dependent and therefore need lots of energy for heating or cooling. Production plants also house countless electric motors to keep all the mixers, stirrers, conveyor belts and other electrical equipment moving. The most energy-intensive processes are the roasting and debacterization of the cocoa beans and the conching of the cocoa mass.
Chocolats Halba’s energy consumption is around 12 GWh per year. The company additionally consumes around 5 GWh of thermal energy per year, almost 93 percent of which it obtains from natural gas and 7 percent of which comes from district heating. Less than one percent of the thermal energy comes from oil. The thermal energy is used to heat buildings during the cooler months and for heating processes. Consumption therefore depends greatly on the weather conditions and on production output.
Avoiding emissions as far as possible
The company’s energy use is directly and indirectly associated with the emission of greenhouse gases. Whereas burning fossil fuels such as oil and gas directly releases CO2 at the production location, the emissions resulting from electricity consumption are of an indirect nature, since CO2 is released when the power is generated, depending on the technology used.
Another source of greenhouse gases is the cooling systems used in chocolate production. Fluorinated hydrocarbons are used as a coolant and flow through pipes. Although the substances used today no longer damage the ozone layer, they do emit extremely large quantities of greenhouse gases if they leak through faulty seals, for example, and escape into the atmosphere. Chocolats Halba therefore attempts to minimize coolant losses by optimizing maintenance, and keeps a log of such losses.
With regard to climate protection, Chocolats Halba’s principle is: avoid – reduce – offset. Avoiding means choosing processes that do not release any CO2. For example, the company obtains all its electricity from renewable sources. Reducing means modifying processes so that they release less CO2, for example, by means of energy efficiency measures. Offsetting is used to reduce the unavoidable emissions at another location. Chocolats Halba exclusively compensates its CO2 emissions with “Insetting” projects in its own value chain.
Climate-neutral since 2011
On the basis of this three-pronged approach, Chocolats Halba has been operating completely climate-neutrally since 2011. To track its emissions, Halba has set up a monitoring system for key sustainability indicators, with which it calculates the carbon footprint of its business operations each year. These calculations are independently audited by the Myclimate Foundation.
New site even more climate friendly
With its move to Pratteln, Chocolats Halba is taking another huge step towards avoiding CO2 emissions. For example, the indirect greenhouse gas emissions generated by district heating will disappear thanks to the installation of a wood-pellet heating system and the use of waste heat at the new site. 8,000 square meters of solar panels will enable the company to use renewable energy it has generated itself. The new production site is also directly connected to the rail network. Thanks to increased deliveries by rail, transport-related CO2 emissions will be significantly reduced. Also with regard to refrigerants, the move to Pratteln promises great improvements. Apart from a few small refrigeration plants we will completely switch to neutral refrigerants ammonia and CO2.
“As Head of Engineering, I am proud to be working with Chocolats Halba to set up a new CO2-neutral chocolate factory. In so doing, we are guaranteeing future generations a sustainable life. And I myself can look to the future with pleasure and optimism.”
Joel Menoud, Head of Engineering, Chocolats Halba
Top-quality reforestation projects
All the operational CO2 emissions that Chocolats Halba is unable to avoid or reduce are offset within its own value chain – in a reforestation project in Honduras. This project, run by the APROSACAO cocoa farming cooperative, has been certified to the gold standard for emissions trading since 2015.
The “Verified Carbon Standard (VCS)” has been achieved by a reforestation project in Peru, through which Chocolats Halba customers are able to offset the CO2 emissions for the chocolate that is manufactured for them. The standards guarantee that the offsetting projects meets strict sustainability criteria and that their impact on climate protection is independently verified.
In all the reforestation projects that are certified for emissions trading, Chocolats Halba works together with the specialist agency “PurProjet”. Since 2011, a total of over 300,000 trees have been planted in these three countries. These projects have been financed to a large extent by the Coop “sustainability fund”.
Trees planted within our own value chain
Trees are also being planted as part of the dynamic agroforestry projects that Chocolats Halba is establishing in Ecuador and Ghana. In these pioneering projects, small-scale farmers grow mixed crops of cocoa and other indigenous fruit trees and timber on their plots of land. However, neither of these projects is yet involved in international emissions trading.
By buying CO2-neutral products, consumers are supporting the reforestation of forests such as this one in Peru.