annual food waste
sales information to optimize
stocks and avoid waste
Helping a leading hospitality provider tackle food waste
Industry vertical: consumer
Investment date: December 2015
Exit date: December 2019 (although we retain a minority stake in the company)
For more information: www.vermaatgroep.nl
Vermaat is a Dutch premium hospitality provider that operates hundreds of food and beverage locations with tailor-made concepts suited to specific client needs. Its core customer segments include Hospitals, Leisure, Corporate, Travel and Events.
Integrating sustainability into its business practices is key to the company's business model. This is an area of critical importance to many of its clients and a differentiating factor for winning new locations and renewing existing ones. Vermaat’s approach to sustainability is reflected in its 2022 Food Vision program, which includes targets to become a healthier, more sustainable and more socially responsible hospitality company.
Engagement focus area – reducing food waste:
In line with Vermaat's 2022 Food Vision program, during Partners Group's ownership, effectively reducing food waste was a key area of focus. Looking at Vermaat's food supply chain, we introduced the following processes to avoid food waste in its daily operations.
- Ingredient production: during the production of raw materials, suppliers throw away food that is not deemed good enough to be sold purely for aesthetic reasons. Vermaat has collaborated with suppliers to reduce this waste and now uses a number of platforms to buy "imperfect" ingredients that would otherwise go to waste.
- Planning: in addition to purchasing produce only according to its chefs' needs, Vermaat encourages its staff to share best practices on planning in advance and how to avoid throwing away raw materials. One example is adding unused vegetables to vegetarian pizzas at the end of the week.
- Cooking: as part of its quest for innovation, Vermaat uses food parts that would normally be thrown away and optimizes left-overs from its own produce. For instance, unused citrus fruit peel is sent to PeelPioneers, a company which uses the peel to make essential oils for food production and pulp for animal feed, while coffee grounds are collected by Gro, a company which uses the grounds to grow high-quality mushrooms.
- Point of sale: during Partners Group's ownership, a system was implemented enabling management to receive real-time sales information across locations. Unsold food can now be registered at the point-of-sale, meaning food assortment and stocks can be better optimized at individual locations. In addition, Vermaat is a member of platforms such as Too Good To Go and Zero Foodwaste, which enable unsold items to be sold at a reduced price at the end of the day.
Today, Vermaat is on track to meet its target of reducing food waste by 10% per year across its business.
Partners Group sold its majority stake in Vermaat in 2019 but remained a minority owner of the business on behalf of its clients. We will continue to support Vermaat in its sustainability journey and in the identification of targets beyond its 2022 commitments.
AUD 4.4 million
Securing a license to operate through strong community engagement
Industry vertical: infrastructure (renewables)
Location: Victoria, Australia
Investment date: September 2018
For more information: www.murrawarrawindfarm.com
Murra Warra is a wind farm on a 4,250 hectare site, 25 kilometers north of Horsham in Victoria’s Wimmera region. Stage one of the project is currently under construction and comprises 61 turbines with an installed capacity of 226MW, making it the first large-scale wind farm in the North Victoria region.
Engagement focus area – community engagement:
While we have accumulated sector experience through various prior renewable energy transactions in Australia and have built a network of trusted industry advisors, we prioritize understanding and obtaining a "social license to operate" in any infrastructure project. Together with partners on the ground, we pro-actively sought to understand stakeholder interests and concerns, especially the economic impact of the wind farm on local communities, to demonstrate to both public sector and individual stakeholders our commitment to responsible investment.
A wind farm of Murra Warra's size understandably injects strong, visible economic stimulus into the community. In particular, the project has provided the following benefits to-date.
- Support for local jobs: findings from an independent economic assessment study conducted for Murra Warra suggest that at its peak, onsite employment in October and November 2018 stood at around 180 full-time employees and the number further increased to 185 full-time employees by February 2019.
- Financial benefits during construction: approximately AUD 7.9 million in wages were estimated to be paid to nonlocal employees working onsite over the period from July 2018 to March 2019, with an estimated AUD 4.4 million or 56% of these wages flowing to businesses in the region on accommodation, retail and services. Approximately 100 subcontractors are also involved in the construction phase, of which some 35 are locally based.
- Economic benefits during operations: the wind farm generates revenue for Yarriambiack Shire and Horsham Rural City Council via the Victorian government’s PiLoR (payment in lieu of rates) scheme, based on the electricity generated by the project. This revenue will materialize incrementally as the project becomes operational. Besides income returns for landowners, we have also planned and will establish a community benefit fund, contributing an estimated AUD 61,000 per year to support various local activities, including public education programs on renewable energy.
- Minimizing negative impact on agricultural activities: the land surrounding the Murra Warra site is largely used for agricultural purposes and we paid particular attention to minimizing disruption to these surrounding areas. In addition to carrying out the incremental construction of the wind farm, Murra Warra also deployed social media in an effective manner throughout the first stage of construction, providing effective, up-to-date notices of road disruptions to neighboring farms as well as to other stakeholders in the wider region.
We will continue to engage with the local communities, including setting up partnerships for local education on renewable energy. In addition, we are currently exploring conducting similar economic impact studies for all our direct infrastructure assets to strengthen and inform best practices for stakeholder engagement.