Dot on the horizon
We have set a dot on the horizon so that our cheese buyers can enjoy climate-neutral cheese by 2036,
the year in which our family business will celebrate its 100-year anniversary.
In the years ahead, we will be improving our cheese and packaging step by step to reach this goal. And we invite everyone to take this journey with us. It all starts with the cow, but all the other links in the chain are essential on this journey as well. And ultimately, so are the people buying the cheese, because the end user plays an important role in this vision. Everyone must do their part when it comes to food waste and recycling.
Have you ever wondered how the cheese gets on your plate? Check out the entire process here: from the cow in the pasture to our cheese brands that you love so much on your sandwich for breakfast, as a cheese toastie for lunch or in salads, as appetizers and in dinner dishes.
For more specific information on Maaslander (in Dutch), click here
For more specific information on Old Amsterdam (in Dutch), click here
Most of the carbon emissions throughout the entire chain from cow to cheese are caused by the cows themselves. They produce 51% of total carbon emissions in the form of methane.
Westland’s ambition is to produce 100% climate-neutral cheese in 2036, when our family business will celebrate its 100-year anniversary. That goes for the whole chain: from cow to packaged cheese. We will do so by e.g. finding nutritional supplements based on garlic, citrus or seaweed, with which we hope to drastically reduce our emissions. Recyclable packaging is also an important part of reducing our carbon emissions. When we also launch plant-based cheese, we will be able to reduce our cow-generated carbon emissions even further.
In addition to our research into administering nutritional supplements to cows, Westland also ensures that the cattle feed given to the cows that produce milk for our cheese brands is not grown in valuable forest areas and nature reserves.
Our cheese mainly consists of pasture-grazed milk
We also guarantee that the milk we use for our cheese contains no antibiotics.
Farmers are actively working to improve animal welfare
All milk comes from dairy farms that track their farm’s biodiversity.
To minimise carbon emissions now, the farmers that supply our milk use emission reduction methods to improve air quality in and around their farms. Moreover, the farmers reduce ammonia emissions in manure storage and in the process of soil fertilisation. That is required by Dutch laws and regulations for dairy, and applies to all dairy farms that supply our milk.
Read more about livestock farming here
The production of our cheese generates relatively low carbon emissions.
No carbon emissions are generated in the cheese ripening process.
Our cheese is produced using animal rennet, an all-natural by-product of milk production.
We also aim to use as many natural ingredients in our cheese as possible. Traditionally, dyes and salt are often added to cheese, which we avoid as much as we can.
Maaslander already has one of the lowest sodium levels in its category. Step by step, we are reducing the sodium content in Old Amsterdam by 10%.
You can read more information on our production process here, under Cheese Production.
Click on the image below to watch the Dairy Online video showing the cheese production process.
We select packagers that have earned sustainability certificates.
The Maaslander envelope package is already 100% recyclable (also see question 59). Old Amsterdam followed in the summer of 2021. This packaging also contains 10% less plastic. We select packagers that have earned sustainability certificates. The remainder left over after cutting cheese wedges and slices is reused to make grated cheese or cheese cream.
The share of total greenhouse gas emissions caused by packaging in cheese production is minimal. 91 grams of CO2 equivalent per kilogram of cheese is caused by the production of packaging materials, the packaging process and waste processing. That is only 1% of the total carbon emissions across the entire life cycle of cheese, from farmer to consumption.
The packaging is recyclable, but not yet bio-based. That is not yet possible technically, because we also want to guarantee the shelf life of our products. & Transport
Warehousing & Transport
Our ripening locations all use green energy. A lot of power is needed to keep the cheese at the right temperature and humidity level during the ripening process.
The transporters who bring the cheese to retail locations for us are selected on their use of the Lean & Green certificate.
Our logistics partner, Müller Fresh Food Logistics, won the Lean and Green Star for achieving their 20% carbon goal. This programme ensures a constant improvement and development of companies’ sustainability levels.
The share of total greenhouse gas emissions caused by transport in cheese production is minimal. 75 grams of CO2 equivalent per kilogram of cheese is caused by transport. That is only 1% of the total emissions across the entire life cycle of cheese, from farmer to consumption.
Wasting less food means less has to be produced, enabling us to reduce the total emissions in the chain.
During the cheese production process, all waste is reused, e.g. to make grated cheese or cheese cream.
When our products have an expiration date that is too soon for them to be sent to supermarkets, they are donated to food banks. It’s a tiny effort that makes a big difference, and it helps to limit food waste.
In supermarkets, products that are past the expiration date are still disposed of and discarded.
It is also important for consumers - the end users - to purchase the right amounts so as to prevent waste, saving consumers a lot of trash and money!
If we all make sure to buy no more than we need, we won’t have to throw much away either.
So take a good look at how many slices there are in a package; there are packs with 5 slices, 8 slices and value packs for larger households. Some stores in the Netherlands also have a deli with a cheese cutter, which allows consumers to choose the number of slices they want cut and packaged so they purchase the exact amount that they need.
This is all to combat food waste.
We in turn make sure that our packages are as easy to separate, process and recycle as possible.
For example, did you know that you can just scrape mould off of cheese? In contrast to mouldy bread, for example, mould on cheese stays on the outer layer which means that the part of the cheese without mould is perfectly edible.
And here’s another tip: the best place to store freshly cut cheese is in a container in the refrigerator. Cheese kept in cling film will grow mould and lose its flavour more quickly. We recommend taking the cheese out of the refrigerator about half an hour before use, so that it’s not too cold when eaten and the flavour can really come to life.
There you have it: the best way to enjoy our cheese!