Contributing to a circular world by upgrading co-products, that is, in short, what the Venlo-based Looop stands for. The goal is a 100 percent circular world where waste no longer exists.
The name Looop may not immediately ring a bell with everyone. Until the 1st of January of this year, the company name was still Rined Fourages, a company that has been involved in circular economy activities for thirty years and is well-known in the animal feed industry. "The name change was part of the change of direction in the company culture," says Operations Manager Bram Kuunders. He joined our company 3.5 years ago and previously worked at Voergroep Zuid and Boerenbond Deurne. "Together with Managing Director Dick Kroot and rocurement & Development Manager Kelly Vermeer, we drew up a strategy which we used to revise our positioning and optimize our business processes. I was mainly concerned with the strategic marketing plan, the visual identity of Looop, and the automation and digitalization aspects."
Operations Manager Bram Kuunders has been working for Looop for almost four years.
According to Kuunders, Looop is a Top 5 player when it comes to companies involved in upgrading co-products. "We used to be a trading organization that focused on making money, but now our approach has changed to corporate social responsibility. Our starting point is the upgrading of residual flows. One of the shareholders even said that if a potential collaboration doesn't deliver in terms of circularity, we won’t conduct business with them.”
Looop’s head office is located in Venlo.
The company's vision sounds both simple and ambitious: 'a society striving for 100 percent circularity, where waste no longer exists'. “Many companies pay too much attention to the short term and solve their problems the wrong way. They run from fire to fire to put them out. But we deliberately look at long-term solutions. Using this vision, we, as a company, want to contribute to a better climate whilst promoting circularity."
According to Kuunders, to achieve the goal of a circular society, the Agri & Food industry has an important role to play. "Without the help of agricultural entrepreneurs, it won't work."
The higher up the ladder, the lower the footprint.
Looop's focus is on North-western Europe. "This is a deliberate choice because this is where the majority of the food industry is represented. Our biggest sales area includes the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany." Kuunders is concerned that many pig farmers in the Netherlands and neighboring countries are quitting, either forced or otherwise. “Many residual streams now go to the pig farming industry. But if there are not enough pigs in the Netherlands, we may not be able to dispose of all the residual streams and then there is a good chance it will end up as waste. Alternatively, it may be necessary to relocate to a foreign country, but this would mean driving many more miles and thus impacting the climate with additional CO2 emissions. Incidentally, this is not an issue yet, but there is a real chance it will become one." Kuunders is keen to stress that Looop is also looking for other applications for the co-products. "However, the best match for most co-products is pig or cattle farming. For many co-products, it is these two industries that make the highest degree of recovery possible.
Currently, Looop adds value to nearly 2 million tons of organic co-products on an annual basis in various markets, including the compound feed industry. And as far as Looop is concerned, this is only the beginning.
To determine which type of revaluation of a residual product has what kind of impact on the footprint, Looop's ladder is used. The lower on the ladder, at the bottom you will find throwing away and then burning, the higher the footprint. "If a residual product can be reused as a raw material in pet food, for example, the footprint is lower than when it is intended for use in a biogas plant”, Kuunders explains.
For the transport of organic co-products, Looop has its own customized fleet consisting of 56 special tankers. "As a company, we try to minimize transportation miles by partnering with local companies in Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands. We also use data to optimize transport routes, and we combine loads by having others drive for us. These aspects also aid the agricultural entrepreneur and industry", Kuunders says.
Looop deliberately chose to only put their logo on the trucks and not the full name. "Our logo with the pay-off ‘moving circularity forward' makes it very clear that the company our truck pulls into is engaged in circularity and is socially driven."
Because our company's silo park is on the waterfront, we also use ships. "In terms of CO2 emissions, that's even better”, says Kuunders.
As far as the future is concerned, Kuunders notes that corporate commitment to the climate has changed from being a hype to a trend. "One of our ambitions is to make our choices increasingly based on data. Think, for example, of route optimization, allowing us to make fewer empty miles. But there is also a desire to expand. We are always looking for new partners helping us to close even more Looops. With our socially driven, problem-solving approach and cooperations, respect and equality are the most important pillars. Doing something for the climate is a noble ambition, but we can’t do it alone. We really need to do it together."
Looop has its own customized fleet consisting of 56 trucks.
NIR co-products directive
Together with Trouw Nutrition, Looop has developed a NIR directive for liquid co-products. "The discussion about co-products is often that the nutrient values are not reliable or that there is too much variation in them. This new directive is used to determine the nutritional values. Because of this, the insight into the nutritional values is increased. We are the leader when it comes to this”, Operations Manager Bram Kuunders explains.
Daniël Kooistra © De Molenaar