Sustainability a key focus at upcoming Amsterdam Produce Show -

Sustainability a key focus at upcoming Amsterdam Produce Show

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Sustainability a key focus at upcoming Amsterdam Produce Show

Dutch-based IDH will be highlighting what can be gained from a sustainable supply chain at the Amsterdam Produce Show and Conference (APS) to be held on Nov. 3.

Daan van der Wekken

Daan van der Wekken

IDH senior manager for retail and trade Daan van der Wekken previously worked with the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) - a group with 400 high-profile members including a board of 50 CEOs from large multinationals - connecting retailers with manufacturers to enhance sustainability in the supply chain.

Now at IDH, set up in 2010 with funding from the Dutch Government as part of a practical and targeted trade and aid programme, van der Wekken runs the group's CGF account.

"The organisation [CGF] is representing the consumer goods industry in four key areas – product safety, health and wellness, logistics and IT, and environmental and social sustainability.

"CGF is an incredibly powerful platform, but while it can make many resolutions, the difficulty is what happens once those resolutions have been passed.

"Organisations like us can help. Because of our funding and because we are 100% neutral we can actually get out there and do things around the world."

IDH's projects are wide and varied, touching diverse sectors ranging from Indonesian palm oil to Madagascan vanilla to landscape developments in Brazil. But at the heart of them all is a sustainability ethos that can have tangible benefits the length and breadth of the supply chain.

IDH's Fresh & Ingredients program aims to increase imports of sustainably produced F&I agro-commodities by 25% by 2020 (against the 2016 baseline).

"We have a budget of €10 million (US$10.9 million) for this and around 100 projects ongoing around the world, in West, East and southern Africa, Latin and Central America and India and Vietnam," van der Wekken says.

"We work with 130 partners in the private sector and roughly 25% of those are in the fruit and vegetable sector at this point.

"We have four specific teams, looking after working conditions, climate change (water and waste), inclusion of smallholder farmers and responsible agrochemical management."

While van der Wekken recognizes the IDH budget is not ultimately sufficient to take his sustainability drive as far as he would like, the organization never funds any project fully, entering into joint funding initiatives with public and private sector partners.

In other words, the more private sector partners prepared to fund sustainability projects, the better.

This is partly why he and the IDH team are keen to make new contacts at the Amsterdam fair.

"I work across all commodities, so I know a little about all of them, but I’ll admit I’m not an expert in any of them, so I want to learn," he says.

"Much of our work with the fruit and vegetable industry is with producers, but we do of course talk to retailers about [the types of sustainable projects] they want to see and what products they are particularly interested in from a sustainability point of view.

"I look forward to meeting international retailers, their suppliers and growers in Amsterdam. Come and visit us at booth 126-127 - we’ve got a lot to talk about."

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