Taking responsibility for future generations

12 April 2022
5 minutes

Feeding a growing world population responsibly and sustainably comes with many challenges. Challenges we can only solve by finding collective and inclusive solutions.

As a family business in animal nutrition, De Heus wants to make a growing contribution towards the sustainable production of safe and healthy food. With our increasingly global presence, we are aware of our global responsibility. Which is why we play an active role in developing solutions to create value for our customers, chain partners, local communities and the environment.

Integrating sustainable development into our company strategy

Over the past two years, De Heus has taken significant steps in identifying its global contribution to the sustainable development of food production. A pivotal moment was the launch of Responsible Feeding, our global sustainability programme, in 2020. The aim was to help business units establish which goals and activities generate value and impact in their local markets and communities. Responsible Feeding is designed around four pillars that cover De Heus’ activities and our position in the food production supply chains in which we operate: Feed for Food, Sustainable Supply Chain, Fostering Communities and Thriving Employees.

Despite the COVID-19 restrictions, we were able to roll out Responsible Feeding in most of De Heus’ business units during online workshops in that same year. This received an enthusiastic response and was answered with a drive to define the meaning of sustainability within our company in a global context. De Heus business units pressed for global ambitions to shape the direction in which the company is moving.


This momentum led to De Heus’ first Global Sustainability Summit in March 2021. This four-day virtual summit facilitated an open dialogue between colleagues from the Group and the local business units about the four most pressing sustainability challenges associated with livestock production: the reduction of antibiotics, the sustainability of soy, the ability to reduce our carbon footprint, and our efforts to help local farmers develop their business. Colleagues exchanged local perspectives, set priorities and identified opportunities to collectively approach these challenges. Together with Co and Koen de Heus, CEOs of De Heus Animal Nutrition, they formulated four Global Green Goals: our answer to the biggest sustainability challenges in the feed industry right now.



Learn more about our global sustainability approach

Inclusive chain solutions that create value for all

In 2022, we will carry out a organisation-wide zero measurement to provide a good basis to further develop our sustainability policy. Making our impact measurable and quantifiable is obviously important if we are to set SMART targets and track our performance and progress with respect to our organisation-wide commitments. At the same time, developments from outside the organisation are pushing De Heus towards more transparency. Chain partners want to know our carbon footprint, stakeholders ask about our ESG performance, and the EU Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive comes into effect in 2023.

Sustainable development has become a common thread connecting actors throughout the food production chain. This means trade-offs between costs, people and planet. What might seem like a sustainable solution at one end of the chain could involve unsustainable practices on the other side of the world. Initiating collaborations and partnerships is therefore crucial to our drive for sustainability and to ensure that we develop inclusive solutions that add sustainable value for all actors in the food chain. From soy farmer to livestock farmer to end consumer. From producing countries to consuming countries.

In line with the UN sustainable development goals, our Global Green Goals reflect our ambition to achieve more sustainable production of feed and food for 2030

Reduce usage of antibiotics in our chains

Antimicrobial resistance has grown significantly in recent decades. According to the World Health Organization, one of the main drivers for this increase is the misuse and overuse of antimicrobials in humans, animals and plants. Adopting a more prudent approach to their use in animal protein chains is therefore crucial.

  • In 2030, De Heus Animal Nutrition is the leading and guiding partner within the value chain for improving animal health on the farm and using antibiotics more prudently.
  • In 2030, De Heus Animal Nutrition will not use antibiotics as growth promotors or as a preventive measure, and we will not use any human critical antibiotics (WHO) curatively.

Help local farmers develop their business

Independent livestock and aquaculture farmers play a vital role in local food security, particularly in countries where the agricultural sector is still developing. Supporting their entrepreneurship and professionalism helps strengthen their position in the chain. Which ultimately improves the resilience of local value chains and access to safe and healthy animal proteins.

  • In 2030, De Heus Animal Nutrition will have trained 100,000 farmers and farm employees in professional farm management, the reduction of antibiotics, animal welfare, biosecurity, biodiversity, global gap certification and the reduction of CO2.

Increase sustainable sourcing of raw materials

As the global demand for animal protein continues to grow, we must reduce the impact that our food production has on the climate and the environment to protect vulnerable ecosystems. The value chain must promote good practices in producing countries and encourage suppliers to source raw materials more sustainably.

In 2025, all De Heus Animal Nutrition business units will use

  • certified soy (in compliance with the Fefac Soy Sourcing Guidelines)
  • certified palm (either RSPO or suppliers with a verifiable zero deforestation policy), and
  • certified fish meal/oil products, offering their customers a range of more sustainable options in relevant markets.

The ability to reduce our carbon footprint

Climate change is a global challenge that transcends national borders. Livestock production chains are responsible for 14.5 percent of global emissions of greenhouse gases. Emissions in one place can affect people elsewhere. All actors in the value chain are therefore expected to calculate the direct and indirect environmental impact related to their chain activities, provide transparent data and work together to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

  • In 2022, De Heus Animal Nutrition will be able to calculate, formulate and set goals for the carbon footprint of its products.
  • In 2023, we will carry out a group-wide CO2 zero measurement.
  • In 2023, we are able to provide customers tailored on-the-farm advice to reduce their own carbon footprint. Based on the outcome of the group-wide zero measurement, we will formulate goals and look for solutions to lower our carbon footprint.

FEED. Magazine

In this magazine, we share a selection of stories about progress and sustainability from De Heus business units all over the world. We hope that these stories will inspire you