Sustainability

The United Nations (UN) defines sustainability as meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Our mission is to think in the long run, not only about the company, but also about the people, who work and will work here in the future, about the chickens, who are our main producers, about the environment and nature, whose resources we use ourselves, as well as about the society, which is ultimately not only our support, but also our customer.
Neither Balticovo, nor Latvia is isolated from the rest of the world, therefore working at our priorities that are listed below, we are also moving towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals (https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/) – each of our initiatives helps to address global challenges.

Balticovo Sustainability Report 2020

High quality and healthy products

The highest product quality is an obvious requirement for us – only by providing this can we be demanded and respected in the market.

What are our current accomplishments?

At present the company has acquired category A of the BRC global quality system, which guarantees the highest food quality and safety. This paves the way for us to the shelves of Europe’s largest chain stores.
In response to public demand, we also offer free-range eggs. In 2019, we have also begun to produce lactose and gluten free pancake dough mix and lactose free scrambled egg mix, which provides the possibility to enjoy these tasty meals also for people with various food intolerances.
Using computer vision solutions, the quality of liquid eggs and the structure of whites and yolks are analysed. This allows us to instantly adjust the production to avoid potential quality problems.

WHAT ARE WE PLANNING TO ACCOMPLISH?

In 2021, we will introduce 5l and 10l Bag-in-boxes for liquid egg products. This packaging is special due to the fact the plastic bag inside the box can be disinfected with hot steam before filling. Due to technological reasons, previously used cans could not be disinfected in this way. This treatment allows the product to stay fresh, tasty and healthy for longer.
In 2021, Balticovo ice cream will also enter the market, which stands out among others with its small sugar content and high protein content. 20% of this ice cream is pure egg white. It is truly a healthy snack!



ALONG WITH THESE INITIATIVES, WE ARE APPROACHING THE FOLLOWING SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS OF THE UN:

Environment and chicken welfare

ENVIRONMENT
A healthy and safe environment is not just a need of the environmental activists. It is a matter of survival and wellbeing for both the company and each individual.

What are our current accomplishments?

We prevent the food from ending up in waste by offering a diverse range of products. From cracked or non-standard size eggs, we produce pancake dough, scrambled egg mix, dry egg products, ready-to-eat boiled eggs. Eggs unfit for human consumption are used to produce animal feed. At the end of their working lives, the chickens are exported and used in food production.
We use egg trays made of already recycled cardboard and plastic. We fill the ready-made pancake mixes and scrambled egg mixes in TetraPak packages, the raw materials for the production of which are obtained in sustainable forestry, as evidenced by the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certificate, but the plastic coating and corks are produced from plants and not oil products – this reduces CO2 emissions with in the production of packaging.
In 2020, new, many times more powerful wastewater treatment plants will start operating at our largest plant in Iecava – the processes in them take place automatically, which brings the possibility of human error close to zero, as well as they are much more energy efficient.We use sewage sludge, as well as chicken manure for production of biogas – what others see as waste we use a resource.

CHICKEN WELFARE

Based on Balticovo long-term development strategy and taking into account the demand of adult consumers and food producers for eggs laid outside cages, we have set a goal –
to terminate the production of cage eggs by 2026.

To achieve this goal, it is planned to invest more than 30 million euros in the process and technology development. The planned changes of Balticovo envisage a complete change of the production infrastructure, which means that free movement of birds will be provided immediately in each of the newly built barns.

Currently, the company offers all four types of products: cage eggs (labelled with number 3), barn-laid eggs (No. 2), free-range eggs (No. 1), as well as eggs from organic farms (No. 0). The price is the main reason, why consumers still mainly prefer eggs labelled with No. 3, but there is a growing demand every year for eggs laid outside the cages.
There are already two large Balticovo free-range chicken farms in Madona and Vilce Parish in Jelgava Region, and in 2020 a complex of free-range chicken houses was opened for 400,000 chickens in Iecava Region, at Balticovo plant.

WHAT ARE WE PLANNING TO ACCOMPLISH?

Currently, about 500,000 out of 3,000,000 Balticovo hens, are already kept cage free. We plan to increase this number by 500,000 each year, accordingly reducing the number of hens kept in cages.



ALONG WITH THESE INITIATIVES, WE ARE APPROACHING THE FOLLOWING SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS OF THE UN:

Society

Prosperous, healthy and happy people that are satisfied with our work are also a guarantee of the safety of our company. We not only acquire employees and customers from the company, but we also contribute to it.

What are our current accomplishments?

By donating our production, we support about 50 charity organisations, care homes, orphanages, etc.
Education is the foundation of a prosperous society. This is why our doors are open to classes of curious pupils, students looking for internship possibilities, and simply to organisations, who are interested in our work.
We have started cooperation with farms, which supply us with free-range eggs. In exchange we can guarantee the sale of their production and income, as well as provide pullets, chicken feed and veterinary services to them.
In 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic begun and the acquisition of disinfectants in sufficient quantities was problematic, we donated our own disinfectants with antiviral effect to state and local government institutions.

What are we planning to accomplish?

The number of people living in rural areas and working in agriculture is declining throughout the European Union. Population in rural areas is decreasing and both the cultural and historical landscapes are disappearing. Balticovo has begun and will continue to develop cooperation with Latvian farmers, providing an opportunity to work and earn for small farms in the Latvian countryside. Balticovo undertakes to provide outlet market for free-range eggs produced in farms (labelled with No. 1 and/or biologically certified eggs (labelled with No. 0), at the same time providing knowledge about chicken breeding and providing birds with healthy chicken feed produced by Balticovo. In 2021, it is planned to initiate new cooperation with farms that have approximately 10,000 to 20,000 laying birds. By promoting employment in rural areas, we will preserve the rural landscape of Latvia!




ALONG WITH THESE INITIATIVES, WE ARE APPROACHING THE FOLLOWING SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS OF THE UN:

Working environment

It is important to us that the employees of “Balticovo” are motivated, healthy and safe. A successful company is created by the employees, but a satisfied and enthusiastic employee is created by the company.

What are our current accomplishments?

When recruiting new employees, we do not take one’s gender, age, nationality, religion, sexual orientation or other indicators into account that are not related to the performance of the required work. In our potential employees we value their ability to reason, their working energy and a genuine desire to do better.
We are happy to invest in the education of our employees and encourage everyone to participate in courses, seminars and conferences – the participation fee is covered by the company.
We have started organising meetings, in which all employees are welcome to participate. It is an opportunity to discuss the unclear issues and also the topicalities. Anyone can also anonymously submit their ideas, suggestions or complaints in the mailboxes available at the company premises. Every problem is solved, instead of hiding it.
In 2020, we have created an employee involvement and satisfaction evaluation system “Balticovo pulse”. About 75% of employees took part in the survey, when it was first organised, and their responses provided predictable, as well as surprising conclusions. This information will help the company implement changes that employees actually require.

What are we planning to accomplish?

In 2021, we will open a new egg sorting workshop at Iecava production plant. New technologies will allow to achieve such work efficiency that allows to accomplish all the work during the day, thus avoiding night shifts. These changes will improve both occupational safety and the health of workers, as well as will make commuting to and from work easier.
This year, Balticovo will focus on improving internal communication – the most current events and goals will be communicated in various ways. Special measures will be implemented according to the heads of the structural units, because “Balticovo Pulse” of 2020 clearly demonstrated that the employees trust their direct managers very much and are eager to listen to what they have to say. This is a great way to provide the most important information to all employees in a comprehensible and easy way.


ALONG WITH THESE INITIATIVES, WE ARE APPROACHING THE FOLLOWING SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS OF THE UN:

Innovations

The world is changing fast and the company must be able to adapt to new situations just as quickly. Our innovations ensure that customers can enjoy safe, healthy and tasty food, that our operations in the production plants are efficient and that our negative impact on the environment may be reduced to zero.

WHAT ARE OUR CURRENT ACCOMPLISHMENTS?

In the company we have implemented computer vision solutions, that both count the eggs and assess their outer appearance. This allows us to make conclusions about the health of the hens. The computer vision also analyses the quality of liquid eggs and the structure of the egg whites and yolks. This allows us to instantly adjust the production to avoid potential quality problems.

WHAT ARE WE PLANNING TO ACCOMPLISH?
In 2020, we are planning to install sensors in the grain storage, which can determine with the accuracy of a few tens of kilograms, how much chicken feed is left. The new sensors will allow us to determine exactly, when and how much grain must be delivered. Only healthy chickens can lay high-quality eggs; therefore in cooperation with “SAF Tehnika”, in 2020 we will start to study the air quality in the chicken barns. This will create optimal conditions for both chickens and our employees.

ALONG WITH THESE INITIATIVES, WE ARE APPROACHING THE FOLLOWING SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS OF THE UN:

17 GOALS FOR PEOPLE, FOR PLANET


The Sustainable Development Goals are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and improve the lives and prospects of everyone, everywhere. The 17 Goals were adopted by all UN Member States in 2015, as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which set out a 15-year plan to achieve the Goals.

Today, progress is being made in many places, but, overall, action to meet the Goals is not yet advancing at the speed or scale required. 2020 needs to usher in a decade of ambitious action to deliver the Goals by 2030