Preserving the planet


Avril works to respect the environment throughout its sectors and is committed as an industrial Group to continually reducing its environmental footprint.  

The commitment of an entire sector

From farming upstream to industry downstream, Avril has adopted long-term programs to reduce its environmental footprint and increase the share of renewable energy it consumes in its operations, thus contributing to preserving the planet.

Mobilising upstream agriculture

Avril supports farmers and livestock breeders in their continuing efforts to achieve environmental progress. This ability to mobilize its partners is a real strength for the Group.

Managed jointly by Avril, Terres Inovia and Saipol, and initiated in 2007 to improve the environmental impact of biodiesel from the field to the pump, the Progress Initiative benefits the entire rapeseed sector. At the farming level, more than 10,000 producers are supported through their collection agencies by Terres Inovia, the technical institute for the sector, in making their assessments and implementing control actions. The aims are to: reduce greenhouse gas emissions, reduce fertilizer use and reduce waste, and study the effects of crops on biodiversity in order to drive changes to practices.

In livestock sectors, Avril provides support for its 26,000 partner livestock breeders in the context of its Economie Planète® program. The Group helps them to optimize rations for their animals, notably in order to reduce emissions of waste (methane, phosphorus, nitrogen) into the environment, and to improve the environmental performance of housing.


In the context of its sustainable development strategy, the Group has made strong commitments regarding its plant raw materials. In particular, palm oil is used in some of Avril’s industrial activities, and has therefore adopted a specific policy in this respect, through which the Group aims to ensure that only zero deforestation palm oil will be used. This means that its cultivation must not contribute to the destruction of forests and peat-lands and will respect the rights of workers and local communities. This policy, drawn up in the context of combined efforts with an NGO, The Forest Trust (TFT), applies to all the palm oil purchased by different Group subsidiaries.

See our Palm Oil Policy document

See our 2018 Report on progress of our Palm Oil Policy

Optimizing the energy footprint of industrial sites

As an industrial Group, Avril is committed to reducing the energy consumption of its facilities, developing renewable energies – particularly using locally-sourced biomass – and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Since 2010, the Env’ol management system has driven the industrial aspects of the Progress Initiative. Important actions, adapted to local production, have been implemented in plant sector units, such as the biomass boiler at the Saipol plant in Bassens (southwestern France) which, thanks to sunflower hulls resulting from crushing, ensures that the site is self-sufficient in steam. Another example is Lesieur Cristal in Morocco, which uses olive pomace – a by-product of oil manufacture – to meet its energy requirements.

The Group’s efforts since 2012 have halved the energy consumption of its esterification units and increased the share of renewable energies in total energy consumption, which in 2015 reached nearly 27%. Overall, the reduction in energy consumption has been almost 6% when compared with 2012.

This continuing improvement dynamic accelerated following the birth of Avril at the end of 2014.  In its plant activities, all Group sites in France now have ISO 50001 energy management certification.  And all the Group’s French sites, regardless of their activities, will soon benefit from ISO 50001 certification.

Encouraging a circular economy

Avril’s sectoral model is based on the principle of the circular economy, according to which all by-products, residues and wastes arising from its activities are transformed into raw materials.  Firstly, the Group’s activities involve the systematic recycling of by-products, such as its use of rapeseed meals which are a by-product of grain crushing. Secondly, Avril aims to exploit as far as possible the residues and wastes generated by its activities so that they can be reintegrated in the value chain, under the logic of industrial ecology.


About biodiversity: our vision and our actions

Given its activities, which are profoundly linked to the living world, preserving biodiversity is of crucial importance for the Group. One of Avril’s specific features is that it is present throughout the vegetable oils and proteins sector and implements actions in favor of biodiversity at several levels.

The Group’s supplies for biodiesel production are in compliance with schemes which requires that raw materials should not come from areas of high value in terms of biodiversity. Regarding the Lesieur’s Fleur de Colza, the brand relies on a dedicated supply chain involving 1000 farmers complying with specifications which takes biodiversity into account. On the industrial level, environmental management systems (notably ISO 14001) induce continuous improvements to mitigate environmental impacts. Avril’s financial subsidiary supports companies which develop solutions and services designed to improve agricultural productivity while preserving natural resources and biodiversity.

More information in this document

Statement on the Convention on biological diversity



Avril, a pioneer in biofuels

As a producer of biodiesel, sold under the Diester® brand, for more than 20 years Avril has been developing a renewable energy that can replace diesel and thus contribute to energy transition in France and Europe. The Group is also investing in 2nd and 3rd generation biofuels.
Find out more about Avril’s commitment to renewable energies.




Sustainable development goals in the Avril 2020 plan

  • To contribute to a 10% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by farmers involved in the rapeseed- Diester® progress initiative.
  • To reduce the Group’s energy consumption by 10%.
  • To ensure that 33% of the Group’s energy consumption comes from renewable sources.
  • To recycle more than 2 million tonnes of sustainably-certified vegetable oils.

* under the rapeseed-Diester® progress initiative

Find out about our sustainable development actions