Marketing Report
Heineken announces first harvest of barley from regenerative agriculture

Heineken announces first harvest of barley from regenerative agriculture

Heineken, has announced their first harvest of barley from a large-scale regenerative agriculture model. This is the result of the TRANSITIONS programme and its industry coalition led by VIVESCIA, the French cooperative farming and food processing Group.

 This collaboration with VIVESCIA and its malt subsidiary Malteurop is Heineken's first large-scale regenerative agriculture program. It focuses on an outcome-based farming approach that aims to protect and improve soil health, biodiversity, climate, and water resources while supporting farming business development.

Unique upstream and downstream cooperation

This large-scale regenerative agriculture programme represents a unique cooperation between the plant and grain sectors, upstream and downstream partners. This year, in time for the 2024 harvest, about 200 VIVESCIA member-farmers in the North-East of France joined (approximately 25,000 ha of land) TRANSITIONS. By 2025, 500 farmers are expected to be involved, and by 2026, 1,000 or even more (up to 100,000 ha of land).

Heineken counts on purchasing most of the barley production from participating farmers via its suppliers, aligned with its ambition to reduce its scope 3 FLAG emissions by 30% by 2030. By removing financial and technical barriers, this programme will help the growth of regenerative farming, introducing a groundbreaking model for sustainable grain production.

Three main principles stand out:

First large-scale industry-led transition program in regenerative agriculture in Europe

It operates at the farm and crop rotation level, with suppliers and companies supporting and funding farmers' transitions.

It’s Heineken’s first holistic, output-based program in regenerative agriculture, covering indicators and measurements for carbon, soil, water, air, biodiversity, and farmers' livelihoods.

Hervé Le Faou, Senior Director Global Procurement, Heineken: “Our collaboration with VIVESCIA Group and Malteurop and its subsidiaries contributes to Heineken’s ambition to reduce its scope 3 FLAG emissions by 30% by 2030. Agriculture represents approximately 21% of our total carbon footprint. By investing in regenerative agriculture practices, we aim to not only reduce our environmental impact but also to strengthen the resilience of our supply chain for the future."

The regenerative agriculture volume of barley produced in this first harvest will be allocated to the French market, representing the company’s ambition to supporting local economies while fostering a globally connected supply chain.

VIVESCIA Group underscored the significance of collective action and the involvement of prominent consumer brands like Heineken in driving meaningful change at scale. VIVESCIA believes that achieving a large-scale agri-food transition needs collaboration and cost-sharing among all stakeholders

Christoph Büren, President, VIVESCIA Group: “The word ‘transition’ means ‘going to the other side’ or ‘going from one state to another.’ Our new frontier is that of a decarbonated, productive agricultural model that protects biodiversity and is more resilient for farmers. Everything begins in the fields, with science! Tomorrow’s farming systems are being built today to protect the climate and biodiversity thanks to our experience on the ground combined with cutting-edge research and digital innovation. With VIVESCIA Cooperative’s team, we support and guide farmers towards this new frontier with a solid agronomic approach, personalised support on the ground and robust funding. The transition must take place at the level of every farm.”

With Olivier Hautin, CEO of Malteurop, I would like to warmly thank Heineken for their trust and interest in our program. Together, we will continue to scale up TRANSITIONS – a program that is naturally destined to be replicated and adapted outside VIVESCIA’s cooperative heartland and beyond France, in other parts of the world. We share a common vision and ambition: to be a model for our value chains and to become a laboratory for transitions in agriculture,”

Michel-Pierre Faucon, Director of Research, Unilasalle Institute Polytechnique: “The TRANSITIONS program has generated a research chair with UniLaSalle in collaboration with INRAE named: “resilient farming for climate change mitigation and biodiversity”. It involves experimentations, farm assessment associated to database, action research and farmers training to support them in the achievement of their agroecological objectives. The challenge for scientists, VIVESCIA experts, farmers and other stakeholders is to combine agricultural practices for climate adaptation of crops (i.e. yield stability), climate change mitigation (greenhouse gas emissions reduction) and biodiversity restoration. It requires i) to highlight the adapted cultivars to climate change under contrasting soils, sowing and fertilisation practices, and ii) to design multifunctional cropping systems from crop diversification (i.e. cover crops, intercropping, high rotational diversity with legume species) in according the soil types and agricultural territories for input reduction to conserve water and biodiversity, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

Brew a Better World

Heineken’s Brew a Better World ambitions focus on three areas: raising the bar on environmental sustainability, accelerating social sustainability, and championing responsible consumption. Our collaboration with VIVESCIA and Malteurop contributes to Heineken’S ambitions to reduce its scope 3 FLAG emissions by 30% by 2030 and to reach Net Zero across our value chain by 2040.