Koppert Cress: “We now really know where the most impact is”

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When it comes to sustainability in agriculture and horticulture, the name of Koppert Cress is never far away. The Westland company specializes in cresses: micro-vegetables with a unique taste experience. In 2002 the company was taken over by Rob Baan. He radically changed course. Sustainability and marketing became the spearheads. And with success. The company grew at lightning speed into an internationally renowned partner for chefs, caterers, hotels and restaurants all over the world. Koppert Cress is constantly looking for improvement, both in the product range and in the field of sustainability. To be able to optimize the latter pillar even more, Koppert Cress asked Greenhouse Sustainability to calculate the footprint of the entire company. And the results of those calculations were surprising.

Tara Vester and Stijn Baan, two of the more than 200 Koppert Cress employees, sit relaxed at the long conference table. The entire wall behind them is taken up by an overview of the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals. Everything here breathes sustainability. “Koppert Cress wants to be an example for other companies in agriculture and horticulture,” explains Stijn. “Everyone is always welcome to come and have a look. And that happens too. We regularly have guided tours, when sector members come to take a look, for example in our sustainable greenhouse. Although our greenhouse may not be that impressive in terms of surface area, we do try to apply the most innovative technologies in the field of sustainability. ”

Stijn Baan

"We always experiment with our partners and suppliers. It’s important to offer that opportunity for that and take risks together."

Als voorloper wil het bedrijf blijven innoveren. Wat volgt er dan na een duurzame kas? “We overwogen om onze vrachtwagens volledig op (groene) stroom te laten rijden,” vertelt Tara. “Maar toen realiseerden we ons dat we eigenlijk helemaal niet wisten wat voor impact die omschakeling zou hebben. Is dat wel de beste manier voor Koppert Cress om nog duurzamer te zijn? Of kunnen we onze pijlen beter ergens anders op richten? Op dat moment zijn we aan de slag gegaan met het maken van onze footprintberekening in samenwerking met Greenhouse Sustainability. Dat was een flinke uitdaging, want we hadden nog geen centrale plek in het bedrijf waar alle data die nodig is voor de berekening voorhanden was.”

What has more impact: transport or packaging?

Tara got her teeth into the project and started collecting data, with which Greenhouse Sustainability mapped out the footprint. Because she had to collect data throughout the company, this immediately ensured that sustainability became even more alive internally. “We were suddenly forced to look critically at all our products and processes. And that led to surprising results. We now know that our packaging has a much greater impact than other parts of the company. And so we will start with that first. ”Koppert Cress had previously tested with compostable packaging, but it soon turned out that this is not much more sustainable than plastic. “This made us realize that the most sustainable choice is not always obvious, and that if we really want to bring about change, we have to learn to count in a different way.”

Sustainability can only be achieved by working together

Becoming fully sustainable on your own is not possible. Koppert Cress is dependent on others in the chain. “We really want to make steps together with the other companies in the chain. Of course you cannot expect that all our suppliers will be 100% sustainable overnight. But you do want to collaborate with parties that, just like us, really want to take steps and are serious about it."

Eating plants

Dat duurzaamheid in het DNA van Koppert Cress zit, spreekt niet alleen uit de manier waarop het bedrijf en de processen zijn ingericht. Het gaat er niet alleen om hóe producten worden gemaakt, het gaat er ook om wát er wordt gemaakt. En daar heeft Koppert Cress een bijzondere missie:

"We want to show how cool it is to eat plants.”

Healthy diet is paramount at Koppert Cress. The company restaurant, where every day a healthy lunch based on at least 80% vegetables is served to all employees, is a striking example of this. Because: if you buy safety shoes for your employees to protect their feet, why not also provide healthy food to protect the intestines?

Want to know more about sustainable micro vegetables? Take a look at the Koppert Cress website.. Bent u ook werkzaam in de land- en tuinbouw en wilt u aan de slag met een footprintberekening om te weten waar u écht impact kunt maken? Neem dan contact op met de footprintspecialisten van Greenhouse Sustainability.

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