Sustainability at Best Fresh: "Do it together"

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Sustainability is strongly anchored within Best Fresh: a family of companies specialized in trade and logistics services for fruit and vegetables. Their products contribute to better health, there are 16,000 solar panels on the roof and geothermal heat is used to reduce energy consumption. For more than two years now, sustainability has become official within the company in the form of a CSR department. Emma den Ouden is CSR manager. We spoke to her about Best Fresh's vision on sustainability, her personal motivation and the footprint calculation that Greenhouse Sustainability carried out for Best Fresh.

The importance of collaboration for sustainability

“For me, sustainability means that together we look at how we can create as much value as possible between people, the environment and business economics-wise. Not only now, but also for future generations.” What is striking when we speak to Emma is that she emphasizes cooperation. “Chain projects, for example, make me excited. How we unite as an industry and draw up a covenant to achieve sustainable sourcing, or how we can ensure that we can reduce packaging material while continuing to prioritize the shelf life of products. Best Fresh consists for the most part of trading companies, which means that we bear a great responsibility to both suppliers and customers.” It is not for nothing that one of the pillars of Best Fresh is 'Responsible Supply Chain Management', where the company wants to make a positive contribution to Sustainable Development Goal 12 (responsible production and consumption). Good Employership and Sustainable Operations are the two other pillars that are important within Best Fresh. “Of course we also have to do well ourselves.”

Where is the biggest impact?

The footprint calculation that Greenhouse Sustainability did for Best Fresh helps to gain insight into where the greatest impact is and where there are opportunities for improvement. “Every choice you make, as a consumer and as a company, has an impact. Thanks to the footprint calculation, we can see exactly where that impact is based on a reliable database and scientific insights. We naturally suspected that transport would play a major role, and that is now actually reflected in the figures. The same applies to the impact of the cold stores, although that impact was less than expected.” In addition to transport and the cold stores, food waste is also an important point of attention for Best Fresh. “The CO2 emissions from our food waste are much lower than, for example, transport. But the social interest is great and so we try to keep this as low as possible. It is of course also our responsibility to maximize the value of the products that have come to us with great passion from the grower, the power of nature and suitable transport. For example, we have a partnership with the Food Bank. Fruit and vegetables that can no longer be transported to Sweden, for example, or that do not have the right size, go to the Food Bank.”

Sustainability no longer far away

The fact that sustainability is becoming more and more important within the horticultural sector is already reflected in the number of requests for footprint calculations at Greenhouse Sustainability. Emma also agrees that it is getting more and more attention: “It is no longer vague and far away. Customers ask for it. People are also increasingly seeing the economic importance of sustainability. Many of our growers are already doing very well in that area: hardly any pesticides and integrated pest management, low water consumption and use of sustainable energy sources. That is really something to be proud of.”

Do you want to start calculating and improving your footprint just like Best Fresh? Contact our footprint specialists!

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