Reducing the carbon footprint at Astra Sweets - one gummy bear at a time

Candymaker Astra Sweets chose Futureproofed to help them reduce their carbon footprint. The benefits: intuitive software and an always-available team.

Stephanie Van Breedam
January 4, 2023

When sweet manufacturer Astra Sweets kicked off their decarbonisation journey, they chose Futureproofed to guide them. The protagonist in the partnership: Futureproofed’s intuitive SaaS platform, which allowed Astra Sweets to easily quantify their baseline carbon footprint. The support from the Futureproofed consultants was really valuable for Astra Sweets to shape their full sustainability strategy - and it still is today.

Gummy bears, lips, UFOs, marshmallows: name your favorite piece of candy and Astra Sweets can make it. The sweets manufacturer has been adding flavor to the confectionery sector around the globe since 1987. It exports its sweets to over 25 countries. The sour part of the story: with the operations comes a considerable carbon footprint. In 2021, Astra Sweets firmly decided to do something about that.

Practical approach to decarbonisation

A presentation by La Lorraine Bakery Group triggered Astra Sweets’ decision to go sustainable. “They came up with some eye-opening statistics on global warming and how they are doing their bit to decarbonize. Not high-level, moralizing or just box-ticking examples, but instead very concrete, practical tips and inspiration,” says Jan Verhaert. Before he knew it, Jan was asked to take up the gauntlet and lead the sustainability program at Astra Sweets.

Carbon management made easy

Jan stressed that he didn’t want to bring any greenwashing stories and requested full commitment from the management team. They agreed to fully support the sustainability journey, provided the approach would be hands-on and fully integrated in the corporate strategy. Futureproofed felt like the perfect match to meet that objective. Jan explains: “The carbon footprint of La Lorraine Bakery Group is calculated and monitored in Futureproofed’s  carbon accounting platform. Next to that, they also praised the pragmatic approach by the team. From our very first contact I felt a perfect match in our DNA. Just like us, Futureproofed has a can-do mentality.”

SaaS platform invariably comes with support

The ease of use of the SaaS platform was clear to Jan the moment he started using it. “Futureproofed first helped us define the scopes and relevant emission categories. After that, we agreed that I’d do most of the data input myself. The platform was intuitive enough for me to do that,” says Jan.

Of course, no software program is perfect. Cross-checking data, for example, could be a tad more user-friendly. Luckily, Futureproofed is constantly improving their platform and working on new features. And while Futureproofed provides integrated databases and APIs, it cannot help users capture all the data they need. “But once you’ve identified the data sources, you can re-use them in the following years”, he explains. “The good thing about Futureproofed is that their experts are always available to offer support. Most other carbon accounting platforms can’t make that pledge.”

“The good thing about Futureproofed is that their experts are always available to offer support. Most other carbon accounting platforms can’t make that pledge.”

Jan Verhaert, sustainability project leader, Astra Sweets

Calculations, follow-up and simulations

Based on all the data that Jan collected and entered, the Futureproofed platform calculated Astra Sweets’ scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions following the Greenhouse Gas Protocol. It then visualized all data in a clear report. That baseline measurement is now used to set reduction targets in the short, medium and long term.

“The idea is to then monitor the data year after year to keep track of our progress. More than that, we can use the tool for simulations. It could, for example, help us to see what happens when we use a different type of gelatin. Or to compare the carbon footprint of different production sites in Europe and check where optimisations would be most valuable.

Shaping a sustainability strategy

For now, Futureproofed is helping Astra Sweets define their sustainability strategy, including what actions to take. “To be honest, the results of our first calculations were quite a surprise,” Jan explains. “We believed the bulk of the carbon footprint would come from our manufacturing process, but the real culprit is our raw materials. That was a shake-up. It means we’ll have to come up with really creative solutions and maybe even change suppliers to reduce emissions from our operations. Futureproofed has the experience needed to offer valuable advice at this point. So, they’re well positioned to help us steadily progress on our net-zero journey.”

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