Océane has entrusted the management of its entire pallet pool to LPR-La Pallet Rouge (a Division of Euro Pool Group). For the Nantes-based fruit and vegetable cooperative, LPR’s commitment to economic, environmental and social values was a fundamental criterion.
Sustainability is something Océane takes very seriously. Since its creation in 1993, the Nantes fruit and vegetable cooperative has worked to bring together the region’s market gardeners to ensure the quality of its products on the one hand and the long-term future of its members on the other. The cooperative’s choices have always been guided by its commitment to social, environmental and economic values, so it was perfectly logical that Océane should choose to work with suppliers who have the same concerns. Océane’s 71 market gardener members produce more than 85,000 tonnes of fresh fruit and vegetables each year, for a turnover of €114 million.
The cooperative first called on the know-how and services of LPR-La Palette Rouge in 2012, progressively entrusting the company with the management of all its pallets, both the 80×120 (90 percent) and the 100×120 (10 percent). There are currently 150,000 red pallets circulating within the cooperative, which has been able to optimise its logistics and reduce its CO2 emissions by 20 percent at the same time.
“The cooperative is there to produce and sell quality fruit and vegetables. But that wouldn’t be any good if we couldn’t deliver them properly,” explains Dominique Calais, Director General of Océane. “We therefore need to be sure to have the right quality pallet in the right place at the right time, and all this with a guarantee that forests are being preserved and the working conditions of our suppliers are optimal.”
The cooperative found that LPR honoured all these commitments.
Indeed, the services offered by LPR are in perfect agreement with the constraints of the fruit and vegetable sector, exposed to seasonal peaks but also to the vagaries of the weather, requiring total flexibility on the part of suppliers. LPR delivers its pallets to the cooperative’s market gardeners every day, as needed. The growers then stack their cartons on the pallets, filled with tomatoes, cucumbers, aubergines, leeks, strawberries, lettuces, radishes – 250 different types of item, if one takes into account all the species of each family.
The cooperative’s transport department, consisting of 16 trucks, then come along to pick up these loaded pallets and take them back to its logistics platform of 13,500 sq metres, located at La Chevrolière, just outside Nantes, where the orders are prepared for dispatching to the major retailers in the fruit & veg. sector (78 percent), industrialists (6 percent) or wholesalers (4 percent), as well as to different European countries (12 percent), meaning a total of 200 destinations. In the majority of cases, produce picked in the morning is shipped the same evening.
LPR’s environmental commitment
In addition to the financial and IT aspects (because the flow of information is fundamental for optimum management of a pallet pool), Océane was impressed by the different certification programmes to which LPR has been committed for nearly 20 years: in 1996, it was one of the first companies in its sector to obtain ISO 9000 certification. In 2010, it obtained the PEFC certification entitling it to publicise its determination to contribute to the sustainable management of forests and to the responsible consumption of wood as a resource.
In 2013, LPR was able to announce that the services it provides carry a neutral carbon footprint thanks to the optimum organisation achieved by the reduction of empty journeys and the proximity of LPR depots to the depots of its customers, thus keeping the number of kilometres to be covered to a minimum. In addition, EcoVadis, which rates the company’s social responsibility every year, with scores on its environmental, social, ethical and responsible-purchasing stances, has shown that LPR is now in the top 10 of suppliers assessed by the organisation in all categories.
Dominique Calais has the last word: “Raw materials used, sustainable management of these materials, good working conditions for the personnel, environmental commitment – LPR satisfies all the basic criteria for our cooperative!“