Peter Maes is Chief Strategy Officer (CSO) at Koppert and plays a crucial role in shaping Koppert's strategic direction and ensuring alignment with the company's core values.
"When Jan Koppert began searching for organic solutions to combat pests and diseases in his cucumber cultivation in 1967, terms like sustainability and (Life Cycle Assessments (LCAs)) didn't exist. That was true pioneering. And we're still doing that today."
Significant difference between reality and policy
"Anyone who thinks we're now sailing with 'green winds' is mistaken. There's a significant gap between reality and policy. Within the framework of European regulations, we are often still categorized alongside chemical pesticides. We find that unjust. However, it's complex to illustrate the added value of our biological products. Our products don't fit neatly into current calculation systems. These systems are still heavily focused on production and transportation. Aspects that are relevant to us – such as positive effects on soil biodiversity and water quality and reduced human exposure to toxicity – remain overshadowed."
Need for different perspectives
"More than 50 percent of our business consists of creatures and living organisms. You can't produce 1,000 of insects with the snap of a finger. That takes weeks. Then, you must deliver these highly sensitive organisms to farmers or growers within a few days, ensuring they remain refrigerated. If we then come out worse than chemical products produced on an industrial scale that can easily sit on shelves for two years or more, it deeply affects us.
In our view, there's a need for more product- or company-specific LCAs. We don't fit into the first nine boxes of the existing systems, so we're placed in the tenth box as a last resort. We find that incorrect.
The system needs to change, and therefore, we need to become even more active in participating in debates and providing our knowledge and input in more places. We're doing this alongside various partners."
Pioneering with footprint calculations
“"We're pleased that we're now part of the Horti Footprint Circle. Along with Greenhouse Sustainability, we're critically examining the methodology of footprint calculation because, as mentioned, our products don't always fit easily within it. The partnership with Greenhouse Sustainability is, in my opinion, an interesting match. Like us, they're true pioneers. People who keep the fire alive are always necessary."
Peter Maes, CSO at Koppert