CSR Annual Report

A.Vogel 2023

CSR Annual Report

A.Vogel 2023

CSR Annual Report

A.Vogel 2023

General director

Edwin Stoel

Foreword

Social engagement is in our DNA. For us, it goes without saying that we must take care of our environment, the people around us, and the planet. After all, the environment gives us so much in return! Just consider the amazing nature in our A.Vogel gardens, the vital powerhouse behind all our self-care products. Everything we do in the A.Vogel garden is done with a passion for nature and your health. That is why we grow plants using ecological methods in the production gardens (EKO seal of approval), i.e. without artificial fertilisers and chemical pesticides. At A.Vogel, we realise that our continued existence depends on ensuring there is a balance between man, nature and the well-being of our environment.

And the best thing? Everyone can enjoy this natural world. Everyone is welcome to wander around the A.Vogel gardens, to see, feel and taste nature. We are also incredibly proud of our new visitor centre, which opened in November 2022, and welcomed many visitors throughout 2023. This new, interactive visitor centre stimulates your senses and offers a unique insight into our natural health approach and the A.Vogel products. We are delighted to be able to inspire even more people and allow them to experience the power of nature.

Would you like to experience nature with us? Come to our gardens! You are welcome to visit our visitor centre every year from 1 May. The gardens are open from sunrise to sunset.  See you soon!

The power of nature

A.Vogel uses the power of nature to support your health naturally. Most of our products are created using plants from our own garden. In the ecological A.Vogel gardens on the Veluwe, our gardeners harvest around 50,000 kilograms of plants each year. Immediately after harvest, they are processed (while still fresh) into top-quality products. Our goal is to support your health using a natural and sustainable approach. After all, whether it concerns vitamins, resilience or energy levels, much of what you need can be found in the natural world.

Highlights 2023

Almost 40,000 kg of plants harvested

A.Vogel forest: 2,500 trees planted

 

Ecological, fresh and pure

1 Green Key certificate

CO₂footprint = 31% reduction (compared to 2019)

Working together to make the world more beautiful

FIT Programme: A.Vogel focuses on (mental) health

15,000 people inspired [incl social media + newsletters]

Almost 7,000 questions answered

A.Vogel and nature

A.Vogel forest

A.Vogel is a proud partner of Trees for All. In February 2022, to compensate for our CO2 output, work began on creating A.Vogel’s very own forest on the Oostermaet estate, not far from Deventer. The forest became a reality and a total of 25,050 trees were planted, 2,500 of which were from A.Vogel.

A varied forest, like the one we planted in Overijssel, is much more resilient to climate change than a forest where just one type of tree is grown. A varied forest, for example, can cope effectively with one type of tree dying out as the other varieties will continue to form a forest. In the coming years, the trees in Overijssel will develop into a small forest. Over time, they will develop into a fully-fledged forest where all sorts of trees, plants, animals, fungi and micro-organisms will coexist.

To honour the opening of the visitor centre last June, as a gift we asked guests to donate to a project with Stichting Geldersch Landschap. A.Vogel is thus able to support and facilitate a fantastic project which further strengthens biodiversity.

Most of the woodland at Landgoed Zwaluwenburg was about the same age. However, scant attention had been paid to healthy development in terms of age, varieties and structure in the woodland. This meant the woods were highly susceptible to diseases and pests and biodiversity had been significantly compromised.

A.Vogel worked with Geldersch Landschap to develop a plan for stimulating biodiversity and rejuvenating the forest. To expand the biodiversity and spread the risk, 1 to 1.5% of the forested acreage had to be renewed. The use of new and varied tree varieties would improve the area’s biodiversity.

The planting was made up of 80% oaks and 20% other varieties, including sweet chestnut, lime tree, sweet cherry and hornbeam. These expand biodiversity and are better for the mineral content of the soil. Together, we are creating a strong and vital forest, which will be enjoyed for many years and by many generations to come!

Ecological, fresh and pure

Secluded in the Veluwe forests of Landgoed Zwaluwenburg, you will find the A.Vogel gardens with numerous beneficial herbs and plants. This is the go-to location for a fun, healthy day out in the heart of nature. Let your senses come to life!

The A.Vogel garden is home to 14 hectares of beneficial plants and herbs. These plants and herbs are beautiful to look at but are primarily grown for your health. As they grow and develop in the garden, the plants take up and generate all sorts of active ingredients that are good for your health. We then extract these and process them into A.Vogel products, including Echinaforce. After all, the best that nature has to offer is you. So, the gardens of A.Vogel enable you to take good care of yourself, with natural products.

We choose purity
Everything we do in the A.Vogel garden is done with a passion for nature and your health. We grow all our plants using an ecological approach, without artificial fertiliser and chemical pesticides. We apply these methods to spare nature and ensure our ingredients are as pure as possible. Most of the plants here are not grown for their beauty but as the basis of our products; for the tablets you take, the cream you use on your skin, or the drops you consume.

We choose freshness
The fresher the plants, the more active the ingredients. And we strive to maintain this. That is why we harvest our plants when the active ingredients are at their best and then process them quickly; often within two hours. If we leave the plants for too long after harvest or they dry out, the level of active ingredients reduces. That’s why we choose freshness.

A.Vogel visitor centre

The A.Vogel visitor centre has been open for its second season this year. It was a huge success last year and, this year, around 30,000 visitors crossed the visitor centre’s threshold. To reflect on last season, we interviewed Wilfred Schenk. He has joint responsibility for the A.Vogel visitor centre and the A.Vogel gardens. So, who better to look back on 2023?

Wilfred, how was your first year?

Well, very positive! It was amazing to see how the visitors reacted when they walked into the new visitor centre. Plenty of people were extremely impressed. It provides a new experience before entering the gardens.

New experience?

Yes, here you can take part in various activities before viewing the gardens. You could watch the beautiful A.Vogel garden film, for example, which showcases the power of plants. Visitors can also use our information unit to discover how Echinacea seeds are transformed into Echinaforce products. They can even taste freshly picked herbal tea; a fabulous experience when you’ve already spent some time in the gardens. We always call it the ‘gateway to the A.Vogel gardens’.

What a great name. Why the gateway?

As a visitor, you must first pass through the visitor centre to enter the gardens. In essence, both environments are blended together beautifully, but what makes the visitor centre really special is that it is housed in a highly sustainable building. It has an A++++ energy label. That is important to us, and we made sure that everything was as sustainably, ecologically and socially responsible as possible.

How did you ensure that everything was sustainable?

We did this in a variety of ways. We chose sustainable materials such as wood, and the sedum roof provides a great deal of biodiversity but also provides excellent insulation. We also have solar panels for power and don’t use gas. The socially responsible aspect is that we have a great partnership with Stichting ‘s Heerenloo and are supported, almost every day, by enthusiastic youngsters who are keen and willing to help in the visitor centre.

The best thing is that we received the golden Green Key this year too. That is the highest sustainability quality mark you can receive. We are incredibly proud of this achievement!

That’s impressive! And what are your plans for 2024?

The season has already started, and we have thought long and hard about how we can do even more for our visitors, but also how we can do this sustainably. This year, we have A.Vogel ice cream, which comes from our own gardens. It is made by a local business, which comes and picks the plants and herbs from our gardens and turns them into delicious ice cream. We also have a cuttings shop. Every year, we have plants left over and it always seems such a shame to throw them away. So, we decided to let the visitors take these plants off our hands. This means that they can expand the biodiversity in their own gardens and there are no green ‘losses’ on our side.

The visitor centre is open from 1 May to 31 October, from 10 am to 5 pm from Monday to Saturday (excl. Sundays and Bank holidays).

Green Key

Nature is the source. This is proven by the golden Green Key certificate that we receive every year. Green Key is the biggest sustainability quality mark for the tourism and recreational branch in the Netherlands.

Our Footprint

CO₂ footprint A.Vogel Netherlands and Belgium in 2023

    In 2023, the CO₂ emissions from A.Vogel for scope 1, 2 and business trips amounted to 743.1 tons. That is the total for locations in the Netherlands and Belgium. CO emissions in 2023 were 31% lower than in 2019. So, we are well on our way!

    The diagram below separates the emission flows for which we are responsible.

    Progress CO₂ emissions in %

    A.Vogel has purchased GVOs (guarantees of origin) worth 1,700 MWh to ensure its electricity consumption is completely green.

    CO₂ emissions in the chain

    Waste

    In 2023, 46,300 kg of waste was recycled, of which 40,560 kg was paper and card and 5,740 kg was plastic.

    Recycled waste in kg

      Incineration with reclamation

        A.Vogel and society

        Making the world more beautiful together

        If you wish to take genuine steps to make the world a more beautiful place, you are better off working together. So, we work with a range of other organisations.

        • We work with Stichting Wiel to provide opportunities to people who may be slightly disadvantaged.
        • With Stichting Geldersch Landschap en Kasteelen, we provide information on the life of bees and hand out ’treasure hunt’ cards for flora and fauna during the national nature working day.

        We are also happy to support a healthy labour market by focussing on groups such as students, immigrants and people with disabilities who may face barriers to employment. Every year, we supervise several work placement students as we believe it is important to offer young people valuable opportunities within our amazing company. We also regularly take on holiday workers from the local Senior General Secondary School (Havo). They have a great deal of theoretical expertise, and we like to complement this with our practical experience. This approach brings the youngsters closer to nature by learning about a plant’s growing process, for example. Both parties always look back on their days in the gardens with huge enthusiasm.

        The residents of the Westbroek care centre have provided excellent support in our gardens too, working on various tasks, including cutting the grass, pruning and harvesting.

        Successful ‘NLdoet’ day!

        On Friday, 10 March, several of our colleagues rolled up their sleeves during the ‘NLdoet’ day to help at care farm Je Maintiendrai in Oosterwolde.

        The chicken coop was taken down, willows were pollarded and there is once again enough wood to keep the stove burning nicely.

        Our people

        Personnel Netherlands and Belgium 2023

        Age range

        M – F ratio

        Sickness absence A.Vogel Netherlands

         

        %

        Sickness absence A.Vogel Belgium

         

        %

        Total of training hours

         

        Average number of training hours per employee

        FIT Programme: focus on (mental) health

        A.Vogel does all it can to keep its employees motivated and healthy. Employees, for example, can choose to work at home (as long as their role is suitable). This impacts on both travelling time and CO2-emissions. We provide free fruit and milk every day and each employee is given Echinaforce for their own use, in order to maintain their resilience throughout the colder months of the year. Having fun together also generates energy.


        Your health is supported by taking plenty of exercise. The employees at A.Vogel are encouraged to participate in sport and are offered running and cycling clothing to support their efforts. A.Vogel will also partially reimburse the costs of a sporting subscription.

        We are also enormously proud of our colleagues who travelled to South Limburg to complete a fantastic bike ride!

        Health for everyone

        Over 83,000 people inspired via social media

        Staying healthy starts with living healthy and we much prefer to offer our products to those who only need a little extra support. We use our gardens, newsletters, social media and website to inspire millions of people to engage in a healthier lifestyle every year. The website of A.Vogel is one of the best-known health portals in the Netherlands. People come to us with various health questions via our information centre but also directly via email, Whatsapp or on the phone. We also offer e-learning course to business customers. Finally, we inspire 149,793 people through our monthly newsletter!

        Volgers Facebook (A.Vogel NL)

        Volgers Instagram (A.Vogel NL)

        Volgers
        LinkedIn

        Volgers

        Tiktok

        6,651 health questions answered

        Staying healthy starts with living healthy. We prefer to only offer our products to those who need a little extra support. We use our gardens, newsletters, social media and our website to inspire millions of people to engage in a healthier lifestyle every year. The website of A.Vogel is one of the best-known health portals in the Netherlands. People come to us with various health questions via our information centre but also directly via email, Whatsapp or on the phone. We also offer e-learning courses to business customers.

          CSR-team

          In 2023, the team remain unchanged. A.Vogel would like to update and rejuvenate CSR so there is an ongoing assessment of the options regarding sustainability certification, such as B Corp. We are thus taking another step forward with our sustainability ambition!

          Gisella van Oene – Product manager

          Dick Wolf – Production operator

          Ellen Junte – Director’s secretary

          Frida Miedema – MRA assistant

          Frederieke de Vries – Communication assistant

          Wilfred Schenk – Head of Gardens

          Ernst-Jan Ruessink Manager Operations

          Edwin Stoel – General Manager

          Accountability

          Information about the annual social report

          Scope of the report

          This report concerns the activities of A.Vogel in 2022. During the reporting period, no significant changes took place in the size, structure or ownership of the organisation.

          Report frequency

          The intention is to present a report annually.

          Contact

          Please contact Karin Peters, A.Vogel’s Head of Brand and Customer Contact with any questions about this report.

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          A.Vogel B.V. (Nederland)

           

          J.P. Broekhovenstraat 16

          8081 HC  ELBURG

          t +31 (0)525 68 72 00