"At CONO, we put our sustainability mission directly into practice, with our boots in the clay and with craftsmanship. Our dairy cows graze in the meadow as soon as and as long as nature permits. The grass is good for the cow and good for the taste of the cheese, good for the soil and also for the climate. Sustainability with down-to-earth farmers' sense."
-Grietsje Hoekstra, Sustainability Manager
CSR at CONO
Sustainability is in our genes. It is part of us. Not just in the CONO cheese factory, but throughout the chain, we work with real attention for people, animals and the environment. From blade of grass to cheese. From cattle farmer to cheese maker.
The world is bigger than CONO, the Beemster and the Netherlands. Our actions have an impact on the climate. That is why, with our CSR policy, we are committed to the Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations in 2015. Our aim is to make the world a better place. We do not wait for others to do this, but take the lead ourselves where we can. Our dairy farmers also understand what it takes to continue making a difference in the future. Moreover, through our cheese, we hope to get everyone thinking. About our world. Now and for generations to come.
For years CONO members have been active in the field of outdoor grazing. That this was a leap forward in terms of animal welfare, sustainability and milk quality is evidenced by the fact that currently almost every dairy processor in the Netherlands has adopted this working method. In 2022, 97% of the dairy farms at CONO met the grazing standard. In 2022, grazing cows at CONO grazed in pastures for an average of 191 days of more than 10 hours.
The earth gives us everything we need. We have to use it sparingly. That is why, back in 2008, CONO set up a special sustainability program called Caring Dairy together with the ice cream makers from Ben & Jerry's that is aimed at continuously improving the sustainability of the entire chain from cow to cheese. Caring Dairy is now the longest running sustainability program for dairy farming!
In our eyes, cows are real VIPs: Very Important Producers. CONO has made agreements with its cattle farmers about animal welfare that go beyond the legal obligations.
Animal welfare is about nutrition, housing, natural behaviour and health. Thanks to the care of the farmer, cows are getting older and need less antibiotics. This is sustainable in many ways: animal welfare speaks for itself but an older cow is also better for the climate and increases the dairy farmer's job satisfaction. The results are measured per farm and noted in the KoeKompas. This is done in consultation with the veterinarian.
Thanks to its unique integration into the landscape, the CONO cheese dairy won, among other things, the most prestigious Dutch architecture award: BNA Best Building of the Year. Based on this architectural design, a unique CONO stable has been designed for cattle farmers who want to renew or expand their business with respect for animal welfare and the landscape.
Livestock farmers are real outdoor people. They realise better than anyone how everything in nature is connected with everything else. That is why they also have a heart for other animals than their own cows, and for everything that grows and blooms. In this way, they each seek their own way of connecting with nature. That leads to surprising forms of biodiversity. CONO makes an important contribution with the Beemster Bee corridor.