The confectionery sector is not immune to the growing demand for naturalness, health and sustainability. How do you transform to become ''good and good''?
What are Carambar & Co’s main CSR commitments?
Thierry Gaillard: Carambar & Co focuses on five strategic areas for its development: reformulating recipes towards more quality and naturalness; improving packaging to reach full recyclability; lowering its environmental footprint with a long-term goal of carbon neutrality in line with the Paris Agreement; transforming the supply chain for more responsible and sustainable procurement; constantly improving the working conditions for more security, inclusiveness and well-being.
Eurazeo’s historic and natural bias towards sustainability makes this transformation easier for us. It is not common to see investors care sincerely and so much about these issues. Eurazeo pushes us to transform our business on the long-term and helps us all along the way – it is a real added value for us.
Climate is one of the two pillars of Eurazeo’s O+ strategy…
Sophie Flak: Eurazeo aims at reaching net carbon neutrality by 2040 in line with the global scientific reference methodology, the Science-Based Target Initiative (SBTi). We mobilize and urge our portfolio companies to decarbonise their business. Once invested, we ask them to assess their extra-financial impact. We provide and finance the tools and methodologies required to measure and monitor their greenhouse gas emissions (scopes 1, 2 and 3).
“Eurazeo mobilizes and urges its portfolio companies to decarbonise their business.”
Amandine Ayrem: For industrial sites to reach a 55% reduction of their emissions by 2030, we must help them define a decarbonisation trajectory as soon as today. We also need a lot of pedagogy and training to help them manage both their financial and extra-financial performances.
Thierry Gaillard: When we created the Carambar & Co group in 2017, we carried out an estimation on our entire activity. In 2021, we started a carbon assessment on scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions. With the support of Eurazeo, we are currently defining our carbon neutrality trajectory in line with the Paris Agreement.
What actions have already been implemented at Carambar & Co to initiate this decarbonisation?
Thierry Gaillard: We have created a transport pooling project called “Mg2+” with three other industrials and two logistics providers*. By sharing trucks for our merchandise, we have 10,000 fewer trucks on the road each year, resulting in an 8% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions over three years. We are also working on reducing water, gas and electricity consumptions at the Saint-Genest factory.
In terms of packaging, what changes have been made?
Sophie Flak: With the French anti-waste and circular economy law project, changing packaging is imperative, but the complexity of the task should not be underestimated. We must find effective solutions in terms of product conservation, logistics and marketing.
Thierry Gaillard : We innovated with the packaging of our Kréma sweets in recyclable paper, which was a real challenge for their conservation.
Consumer expectations are changing taste-wise. How do Carambar & Co products adapt to this?
Thierry Gaillard : Today one out of two consumers declare they limit their candy intake because they perceive them as too sugary or too chemical. This is a major Research and Development (R&D) challenge for us: we must maintain the taste and sensory features of our traditional recipes and continue to imagine fun and delicious products from increasingly natural ingredients.
Sophie Flak: During the due diligence, we analysed the product formulations with an engineer specialized in industrial design and technological innovations, who helped us draw the list of substances that needed to be replaced to reinforce the share of natural flavours and colouring. We have set up an ambitious and pragmatic plan of product reformulation with Carambar & Co.
Thierry Gaillard: In the Kréma line for example, fruit pectin now replaces animal-based gelatine. We also substitute artificial flavouring and colouring with natural, plant-based ingredients and we lower the sugar content by incorporating corn fibre.
A few words to conclude?
Thierry Gaillard : I am proud of our accomplishments so far but my team and I are very aware of the challenges ahead of us, and determined to face them in order to build a confectionary brand that is “good” in all its dimensions: environmentally, socially and in taste.
Interview with Thierry Gaillard, CEO, Carambar & Co group; Sophie Flak, Managing Partner ESG & Digital, Eurazeo; Amandine Ayrem, Managing Director Mid-Large Buyout, Eurazeo, in charge of monitoring the investment in Carambar & Co.
* Cémoi, Ferrero et Mondelez ; FM Logistic et Interlog Logistic.