SUS-CHAIN: Case Studies

NL: De Hoeve – newly created supply chain for certified pork

De Hoeve is a newly built and still small scale pork supply chain which includes (in 2004): ‘De Hoeve’ Ltd. owned by the two initiators, 16 pig producers organised in an association, a slaughterhouse, a meat cutter and wholesaler and 26 high quality butchers, operating under the Keurslager hallmark, in the province of Brabant. ‘De Hoeve’ functions as chain director and is responsible for the overall management of the supply chain. This entails among other things commercial transactions: the weekly purchase and sale of 900 pigs produced according to the criteria of the Environmental certification label. Setting up a short regional supply chain for certificated fresh pork that meets specific requirements (logistics, technical quality) of Keurslager butchers, has not only resulted a more transparent FSC but also in a more efficient one. The extra value added generated by cost reduction, with consumers prices equal to conventional FSC, is redistributed among all chain members. All chain members profit from the new FSC.

De Hoeve pork supply chain has emerged in response to negative side effects of the conventional marketing strategy: the weak position of farmers, environmental pollution and increasing legitimacy problems. In a bottom up and step by step approach, starting with a range of connected technical innovations developed by a farmer that reduced environmental pollution significantly, the initiators developed a new supply chain for environmental certified pork. Subsequently they extended the strategic alliance with chain partners and created a new market outlet for this certified pork, implying a new division of roles and new agreements with regard to pricing, logistics and production.

The capacity to mobilise a strong support network, a shortening of supply chain and mutual sharing of knowledge, information and experiences turned ‘De Hoeve’ into a successful initiative. All partners benefit from the created efficiency and extra value added what results in a more stable supply chain. Societal legitimacy and support for the initiative was created by mobilising societal organisations and have them involved in the development of sustainability indicators and better environmental and animal welfare performances in comparison to the conventional pig-meat supply chain.

The ‘De Hoeve’ pork supply chain is however still rather small in terms of volume and sales. ‘De Hoeve’ is also vulnerable because of a conventional bypass. Substantial part of the pigs produced by the associated pig farmers is dependent on the conventional market outlet. Furthermore, consumer involvement is still limited. Only the environmental certification of the pork is communicated to consumers, not its origin or special consumers values.

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