Our fruits and vegetables not only positively impact the health of our consumers but also contribute to the well-being of our planet. Growing fruits and vegetables produces a negligible environmental impact. Dutch growers also use the minimum water needed to sustain plants during the growing process, not to mention that these growers use (almost) no chemical pesticides and have the highest yield per square meter of food producers worldwide. The fact that we can trade these sustainable products is something we are very proud of!
The broad reach of our sales channel means we have an impact on communities around the globe. Because of this, we see it as our responsibility to strive for sustainable food production practices. If one does not know the story behind the product, it is impossible to know whether there are financial, political, or health consequences involved when making a purchase. This is why we always ask new suppliers for environmental and social certificates to ensure they meet or exceed industry standards. We find it important to build long-term relationships with our suppliers, ultimately working together to improve the efficiency and sustainability of the supply chain.
To guarantee the sustainability of our products, we have made it our goal to primarily purchase products from growers who have the “On the Way to PlanetProof” certification. These products are grown and packaged at one location and are often transported from there directly to customers. When fruits and vegetables are marked with this independently awarded certification, it is a signal to consumers that they were produced sustainably and are thus better for nature, the environment, the climate, and wildlife. Growers certified as PlanetProof strive to balance their way of growing with the carrying capacity of our planet. Obtaining the certification requires growers to meet annually updated standards for energy, water consumption, and waste management. The requirements are even beyond what is needed to be considered an “organic” product!
Our goal: By 2025, 75% of products we purchase will be from growers certified as “On the way to PlanetProof.”
One of the certified “On the way to PlanetProof” growers is our very own cucumber nursery, “Voorhof.” In this 4.1-hectare greenhouse located in IJselmuiden, everyone takes sustainability very seriously—all are committed to growing green cucumbers! The Voorhof greenhouse is fully heated by geothermal energy. For this type of energy production, warm water is pumped to a depth of almost 2 kilometres under the earth’s surface. The resulting energy is used by the greenhouse together with two other companies in the area. Using geothermal energy results in a major reduction of CO2 emissions and a whopping 70-90% reduction in natural gas consumption! Besides reducing our consumption of natural gas, the Voorhof greenhouse also uses electricity generated by solar panels on the roofs of the barn. To waste as little water as possible, designers implemented a closed-loop water system in the greenhouse, meaning water not absorbed by the plants is collected by the system and re-used for other tasks. The filtration system also ensures that no polluted water ends up in local groundwater.
In 2020 we will expand the greenhouse to be even more sustainable. We will continue to strengthen its status as an eco-friendly greenhouse, with geothermal energy coming from pumping hot water energy and electricity generated by solar panels. To enhance its sustainability, the greenhouse will also have double-walled polycarbonate glass installed, ensuring a 40% reduction in heat loss! The owner René Kalter considers sustainability an essential theme in his work:
“We must not bu