Having a responsible attitude towards people, the planet and the product is key to everything that BelOrta undertakes. Thanks to our intensive waste management, sustainable investments at our sites and by promoting a frugal attitude towards food, we are taking care of our planet. BelOrta also bears people in mind through its attention to traffic safety and its commitment to the social economy. Our focus on sustainability also manifests itself at the production level through our unflagging attention for biodiversity, ongoing improvements in quality, and because together we form a short chain as a cooperative.
Not only do we ourselves work in a sustainable way, we also encourage our growers to operate sustainably. Together we will continue to work on increasing the sustainability of the fruit and vegetable chain. BelOrta, our producers and our suppliers are committed to long-term sustainability objectives.
The BelOrta growers prepare their produce to take to the auction themselves so that when they are delivered they are as fresh as they can be. The growers deliver their produce in the afternoon or in the early hours of the morning. They themselves inspect their produce in terms of shape, quality, weight and size. The growers put a sticker showing the quality code on each and every crate: that is how the produce can be identified on every pallet. The quality code corresponds to one specific and uniform quality block. Based on random checks, the BelOrta inspectors check the produce in terms of freshness, food safety, traceability, packaging, sorting and so on.
Even though the produce does not stay at the auction for long, BelOrta stores them in ideal conditions: the temperature and humidity are set to suit the various products. Products stay in the refrigerator for less than 24 hours. They are sold while they are still in the refrigerator. Storage conditions are perfect, with particular attention paid to hygiene, food safety and traceability.
All our produce meets the strict requirements for quality labels, for which high standards are an important factor. For the fruit, the quality label is Eburon; for vegetables it is Flandria. For the rest, all our product range meet the requirements for the GlobalGap and Vegaplan contract documents. Not only do these standards safeguard food safety, they also promote environmental awareness. Producer compliance with these standards is audited externally.
Growers who would like to supply BelOrta with fruit or vegetables must join as shareholders. For this they need to follow a specific registration procedure:
- Membership must be requested in writing (using an official application document) and addressed to the BelOrta board of directors.
- The following information must be provided in the process:
- certificate of registration for VAT and/or the enterprise number;
- information about the identity based on an identity card;
- for companies: include articles of incorporation (recognised representative = at least one of the managers);
- bank account;
- must be a professional producer of agricultural and horticultural produce;
- must be an adult (18 years or above) or to be declared of age through emancipation (enclose certificate) or through marriage (marriage booklet);
- must not be a member of another auction (= unique membership).
- Subscribe to five shares of € 25: the shareholders may award a dividend on the capital during the statutory annual general meeting; in the past a dividend of 6% was awarded (= the maximum permitted dividend for cooperative societies, recognised by the National Council of the Cooperatives).
- Fulfil the obligation to supply under the articles of association (trade all horticultural produce, fruit or vegetables, predestined for sale exclusively via BelOrta).
- Meet the obligations imposed under the articles of association, the internal regulations or resolutions passed by the board of directors and the General Meeting;
- Take into account the specific requirements and decisions per product.
- Complete and sign the BelOrta registration form.
- Provide a ‘payable-on-demand’ bank guarantee to cover the two weeks worth of purchases. In addition, we also work with credit insurance.
- The management screens the prospective customer and the customer is presented to the Board of Directors for final acceptance.
Payment terms: The purchases from Week X (invoicing three times a week on Monday, Wednesday, Friday) must be paid on Tuesday of Week X + 2 (paid into the BelOrta account). Invoices are forwarded electronically three times a week.
Foreign customers are specifically requested to meet the formalities stated below related to VAT legislation for intra-Community supplies:
- Each month, a destination document is sent to confirm that the purchases have been booked as intra-Community acquisitions. The document must be completed in full and signed before being returned.
- On invoicing, an amount is charged as a pledge for an amount equal to the VAT that is owed for national purchases as a security for BelOrta’s VAT liability as a supplier in the context of intra-Community supplies. The pledge is refunded each month after receipt of the completed and signed destination document.
The auction is in the hands of the producers. Those who actively produce fruit and vegetables can – for a limited contribution – become shareholders in the auction. From that point forth, the producer is a partner and is entitled to supply the auction. Indeed, producers are then even obliged to deliver their entire production to the auction; this is what is known as ‘compulsory delivery to the auction’. Every three years, the active producers elect a board of directors from active market gardeners. They appoint a director and a management team; that team then appoints senior employees, office workers and labourers.