Joint venture from ofi develops green energy cocoa bean Amsterdam port warehouse

Olam Food Ingredients (ofi) has formed a partnership with supply chain business Commodity Centre Group (“CCG”), to develop an advanced cocoa bean warehouse terminal exclusively using green energy at the Port of Amsterdam in the Netherlands, writes Neill Barston.

According to the companies, the joint venture involved around 7,000 solar panels at its new facility, which could potentially lead to the reduction of 1,350 tons of CO2 per year – equivalent to 67,500 trees absorbing carbon from the atmosphere.

Notably, the system uses roof space amounting to the size of two football pitches in size to maximise green energy usage. The company expects the warehouse to also be certified carbon-neutral in the future.

The warehouse is critical for helping ofi deliver high-quality cocoa beans to its global confectionery brand customers. Using an innovative conveyor belt system, cocoa is directed into one of the 110 available pens, creating bulk micro lots managed by CCG. Not only does this enable greater segregation of beans to preserve their flavour, but it also helps maintain quality and traceability.

Significantly, the new eco-venture is thought to be one of only a handful of its kind, and thanks to the solar installation, the process now exclusively uses renewable energy. This latest move forms part of ofi’s ambition for sustainable cocoa, Cocoa Compass, which sets ambitious goals – including a 30% reduction in natural capital costs2 by 2030. ofi reduced these costs in 2021 in its global cocoa processing operations by 11% per metric ton of product output, partly due to investments in renewable energy initiatives. For example, a network of biomass boilers fuelled by cocoa shells, which was recently shortlisted for an Edie sustainability award.

Chris Beetge, President of Europe, Middle East, and North Africa, ofi, said: “We’re always looking at ways to drive decarbonization across our cocoa value chain from the farm to our processing facilities and warehouses. The milestone of turning our Amsterdam warehouse operation solar-powered is another example of how we’re not only progressing towards our own environmental goals but also supporting those of our customers and the national climate agendas of the Netherlands and the EU.”

Alec Gunn, CEO of Commodity Centre Group, also believed the new joint venture would be instrumental. He said: “Our Group has been working closely with ofi for over 35 years, providing logistics and warehouse solutions in multiple locations. Commodity Centre’s Amsterdam Falcon and Osprey Terminals are shining examples of our continued commitment to incorporating sustainable solutions within our operations.

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