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Brewery Huyghe 1st in Belgium to fully integrate sheltered workplace on site

Today brewery Huyghe opened the doors of the recently inaugurated space where a team of 15 people from the Ryhove sheltered workplace is working. It is the first time in Belgium that a company is offering people with a mental or physical condition a full-time job on site. The decision fits in the continuous pursuit of the brewery towards an even better sustainable profile and this proves the brewery's ambition to become the most sustainable brewer in Belgium.

The fact that the brewery is serious about becoming the greenest brewer in Belgium is clearly proven by the endless list of realisations. With Mongozo the brewery has a fair-trade beer in its portfolio that is at the same time also organic and gluten free. Next to this, the brewery has invested since 2011 more than 10 million Euro in new infrastructure that not only is more efficient, but at the same time far more sustainable. The steam consumption has decreased by 58%, electricity consumption by 32%, water consumption by 36% and the use of raw materials declined by 10%. Since 2008 the CO2-use per HL beer has also dropped spectacularly: -73% since 2008 or 3260 tonnes of CO2 less. But there is even more: thanks to the installed solar panels Huyghe can generate 20% of its own energy demand and the brewery aims to increase that percentage even more. Besides these, the brewery implemented numerous other measures such as a steam kettle on gas, a new water purification installation and new filtration units, …

Social employment
The brewery has always aimed at taking sustainability further than just an infrastructural level. Sustainability also means corporate social responsibility and also here the brewery has done a lot of efforts. Local initiatives such as the youth development service Habbekrats receive financial support, the Confrérie of the Pink Elephant have been supporting the psychiatric centre Caritas in Melle for many years and the brewery has deliberately chosen for social employment.

For more than 10 years the brewery has been working intensively with the sheltered workplace Ryhove in Merelbeke, who are folding the export packaging for Delirium Tremens and La Guillotine. 15 people of the sheltered workplace work day in, day out for the brewery. As a result of this, the brewery was appointed Ambassador of the Flemish Sheltered Workplace. When Huyghe decided at the end of 2014 to build a new warehouse, a part was reserved for the sheltered workplace, allowing them to fold the packaging on site. As a result, the brewery can cut 2 transports per day to and from the sheltered workplace, which also improves its ecological footprint. Alain De Laet, the brewery's CEO, clarifies: “There are plenty of mechanical alternatives to fold the boxes and we also have the space to install those machines, but it has been our deliberate choice not to install machines, but to outsource this work to a sheltered workplace. Given the fact that export is still increasing, the amount of work for Ryhove has grown accordingly. We are proud that today we can house a team of 15 people full-time on site and we have plans to increase that number."

The team of 15 people today works in a 450 m2 space that was especially designed for them, but Alain De Laet sees it even bigger: “Within Ryhove there is a waiting list for people wanting to come to work on site and these people's enthusiasm is so inspiring that we have decided to offer even more people the chance to work here. In the new warehouse that will be ready by the end of the year we have reserved an even bigger space for them (2000 m2). They will have more room to operate in and this way we can contribute to an even better working environment."

As far as they know brewery Huyghe is the very first one in Belgium to integrate a sheltered workplace team full-time on site and the brewery hopes to be an inspiration for many other companies.

Brewery Huyghe 1st in Belgium to fully integrate sheltered workplace on site