Published on 3/16/22

Tackling our energy and water use

Acting against global warming

We currently own two chocolate factories: The Dodet site on the outskirts of Tain l’Hermitage and the historic Guironnet site in the town center. Our environmental plan covers these sites, as well as L’École Valrhona, our boutique, and the Cité du Chocolat. We closely monitor our energy usage in each of these different facilities.

We are pursuing two key strategies to reduce our environmental impact. One is cutting down our carbon footprint; the other is reducing our energy consumption, while also promoting alternative energy sources.

Both sites at Tain l’Hermitage have had ISO 50001 certification for the last five years. This acts as a guarantee that each will manage its energy use efficiently. To improve our energy consumption management, in 2017 we installed a new energy monitoring tool based on data mining technology with help from our partner Métron. This makes it easier to control our energy usage and identify where optimization is needed. Our work in this area covers every one of our major energy expenditures and is guided by our long-term energy plan.

Looking towards 2025, our objective is twofold.

  • A 50% reduction in our energy consumption as compared with 2013
  • 79% of our energy mix to come from renewables

Storage of raw ingredients

In 2021, we invested in a new Cooling Unit that can produce heat in our raw ingredients storage area and an administrative building. 

In return, it allows us to add cold air to our production workshop cooling loop. This brand-new Unit operates using a gas that has no impact on global warming. Our Dodet site therefore now operates without HCFC fluids (a fluorinated gas), which contribute very significantly to global warming. This unit is also more energy efficient and allows us to save around €12,000 per year.

Storage of finished products

A new storage unit for our finished products was built in 2020.
This was an opportunity for us to reflect on energy consumption issues from the design stage of the building onwards. To do this, we worked with specialist teams and studied different options.
The aim was to optimize our consumption while taking into account the risks posed by our choice of refrigerants to the safety
of employees and surrounding companies. The installed device allows heat recovery via the cold production of the existing building in order to manage the humidity level of the building. Finally, we doubled our storage area which constantly uses electricity.

Our water management

Valrhona gets its water for industrial purposes from two key sources: municipal water which is mainly used for cleaning and well water which is used for industrial processes. We aim to reduce our water consumption by 50% compared to 2013 and to reduce water pollution caused by manufacturing processes. 
In order to treat our wastewater used to clean machines, in 2021 we installed an air flotation water treatment system at our two production sites. The principle is simple: we add a chemical agent to the water that causes dissolved fats to group together and then inject air bubbles to separate them from the water. The sludge is then recovered to be processed into compost near our chocolate factories (10km from the site) and used as agricultural input.
With this system, we reduce our pollutant load by more than 50%.