A big turnaround at Farmhouse. Until a couple of years ago, the topic of ‘sustainability’ was frequently on the agenda. But today sustainability is at the top of the agenda. “When I’m sat here in the open-plan office with my colleagues, I hear about topics left, right and centre that are related to my job!” says Daniëlle van de Geer (25) with visible delight.
Daniëlle (25) studied business administration at Erasmus University and she has a master’s degree in sustainability. She had been interested in this topic for a long time, but spending six months in Thailand for her studies was the decisive factor.
Upon her return to the Netherlands, she started actively looking for a job in the sustainability sector. She ended up at Farmhouse and it appeared to be a good fit from the first meeting. She started in 2020 and results soon starting showing. “And thanks to all my colleagues, of course. I really do need everyone!”
At Farmhouse, the topic of sustainability has become ‘top of mind’ by now. The sustainability strategy was developed in record time, which pursues ambitions from farm to fork. Daniëlle is fortunate that the management fully supports the ambitions and many of her peers work at Farmhouse. “I think my generation is very conscious about sustainability.” She sets a good example as much as possible. She doesn’t eat meat, goes everywhere on her bike and has recently installed solar panels on her home.
The list of sustainability-related topics that we are working on at Farmhouse is too long to list here in its entirety. If Daniëlle were to highlight three of them, she would start with the improved working conditions at Farmhouse’s affiliated suppliers in Africa and South America, among others.
“Through long-term supplier relationships, social audits and supplier visits, we try to safeguard human rights and strive for continuous improvement of working conditions. We support our suppliers with knowledge and know-how on how to make their activities safer and more hygienic by implementing social standards. Think of better protective equipment in farms and warehouses, safety training and risk prevention. Things that are self-evident here, but not necessarily in high-risk countries.” /p>
Experiments with cargo by boat is another example Daniëlle likes to mention. There are opportunities here to reduce our impact on the climate. However, the time factor is a major challenge when transporting fresh fruit and vegetables by sea. “But promising experiments are now underway to improve shelf life on board.”
Significant steps have also been taken to combat food waste. Where avocados that are unsuitable for consumption used to end up in the landfill, a system has now been set up in which the flesh is processed into oil and guacamole: “By doing this we have managed to reduce the residual flow to virtually zero.”
Once Danielle starts talking sustainability, she is practically unstoppable. “This can be tricky at times. You don’t want to come across as a greenwasher, which I think is the case too often. On the other hand, it would be a shame not to communicate what we are doing, because so much is happening!”