Sustainable investments in the oils and proteins sectors

SUSTAINABLE INVESTMENTS IN VALUE CHAINS

Through Sofiprotéol, its finance and development arm, Avril is committed to supporting the structuring and development of agricultural and agrifood sectors.​

Sofiprotéol's sustainable commitment

As a finance and development company and subsidiary of the Avril Group, Sofiprotéol focuses mainly on the vegetable oils and proteins sectors. Its role is to support company creation, development and innovation, from farming upstream to consumers downstream. In the form of minority stakes or loans, Sofiprotéol’s commitments are for the long term.

Funding to serve its sectors

As a manager of agricultural funds, Sofiprotéol’s mission is to support all actors in its sectors in order to reinforce each link in the value chain. Investment decisions are taken by Commitment Committees that represent the interests of different stakeholders in the sectors. Sofiprotéol thus provides support for more than a hundred companies employing 110,000 people..  

Socially responsible investment

Sofiprotéol’s undertakings are laid down in its code of conduct:

  • To support projects of all sizes and provide finance for all appropriate sectors, without applying any exclusion criteria.
  • To evaluate projects in terms of their societal qualities based on a grid of non-financial analytical criteria which are in line with Avril’s sustainable development strategy.
  • To finance innovation without requiring short-term profitability, so that farmers can prepare better for the challenges of the future.
  • To reinvest the great majority of the profits achieved in serving the oils and proteins sector or closely-related agricultural sectors.

Revival of the soybean sector in France

For several years now, Sofiprotéol has been working to restore a 100% French soybean sector through the creation and funding of soybean crushing facilities in this country. In close collaboration with seed firms and technical institutes, Sofiprotéol is involving a range of actors in the soybean sector (agricultural cooperatives, cattle feed manufacturers, industry) in this project. The success of this operation has notably given rise to the installation of 25,000-tonne crushing units in Châlons-sur-Saône (eastern France), and then in Vic-en-Bigorre (south-western France), under a project that associates Sofiprotéol, Sanders and Euralis.  The cultivation of soybean has thus climbed gradually to reach more than 140,000 ha in 2016.  As well as its economic and social benefits, soybean cultivation can break the monoculture of maize, and its lower irrigation needs enable a reduction in the amount of water used. The challenge for this French soybean sector is particularly important as it will help to satisfy the need for protein in the human diet. Http://www.sofiproteol.com/

 

A venture capital fund for start-ups

In 2014, and in partnership with the Tereos Group and Bpifrance, Sofiprotéol launched Capagro Innovation, a venture capital fund to support young, innovative and responsible businesses active in agroindustry and agrifoods. Since this launch, 15 start-ups have received support in a wide variety of areas (precision farming, animal health, feeds, health, etc.).

 

Sustainable development goals in the Avril 2020 strategic plan

  • Between 2012 and the end of 2020, to invest €430 million in companies in its sector through Sofiprotéol.
  • Between 2012 and the end of 2020, to co-invest €40 million in venture capital projects in agriculture and the agrifood industry.