Deze keer laten we Daniëlle van de Geer aan het woord, onze Sustainability Coördinator. Waar houdt zij zich precies mee bezig en wat doet Yex allemaal op het gebied van duurzaamheid?
Because I wanted to do something that benefited the planet, I completed the master’s degree programme Global Business & Sustainability. I think sustainability is an extremely interesting and challenging topic. It is woven into all processes of an organisation, which is what makes it so fascinating. I started working for Yex in October, and I deal with both the social impact of our company and the impact on the environment. Yex has already taken many beautiful and meaningful steps regarding sustainability, but we can definitely achieve even more. We certainly cannot do this alone, which is why we work together with parties throughout the chain.
In essence, Yex already supplies sustainable products. After all, a plant-based diet contributes to the health of people and the planet. I am fond of fruit and vegetables myself, and when I lived in Thailand during my studies, I discovered how delicious exotic products can be.
Our exotics come from the most beautiful places in the world. We believe it is important to take responsibility right at the source. For example, by paying attention to the working conditions of the employees of our farmers. Yex has signed the SIFAV covenant: The Sustainable Initiative Fruits and Vegetables. We have external parties perform an audit at least once every two years to check whether our suppliers comply with the agreements set out in the covenant. This enables us to keep a close eye on the working conditions on site.
At Yex we also look for ways to reduce the environmental impact throughout the chain. This includes the reduction of CO2 emissions, efficient water use when growing our exotic fruit and vegetables, and the use of sustainable packaging material. Or better yet: the use of as little packaging material as possible. We do everything we can to combat food waste, which results in interesting initiatives. For example, we have conducted a promising test with sweet potatoes that are no longer suitable for human consumption. These were used at The Insectory, where insects are cultivated for protein-rich fish feed and raw materials for horticulture. It is innovative! We donate products that are still suitable for consumption through the Fruit & Vegetable Brigade to the Food Bank and we explain to consumers how they can best store our products with the help of our Discovered brand. Sometimes seemingly small initiatives can make a big difference.
We are currently working on our sustainability strategy for 2025. And because collaboration is really the keyword for us, we have discussions with various colleagues, customers, and suppliers. At Yex, we value a good relationship with suppliers, and we really invest in long-term relationships. It is precisely because of this that we can tackle something like sustainability together. Our product managers regularly visit our foreign partners and keep putting sustainability on the agenda. Such a visit is also a good way to see with your own eyes how things really work at the production locations and whether that way of working is in line with our vision and ambitions. Even in these times, when travel is almost impossible, we stay in touch with our partners online. After all, we want to keep taking steps with them every day.
Sustainability is a complex topic and I think it is an illusion to think that we will simply be done with it one day. You can always do better! I follow the developments closely, and I am happy to note that attention to sustainability is not a temporary trend. It really remains a hot topic. Even the coronavirus has not changed anything about that. In fact, the pandemic appears to have a positive effect on the environment and that has made many people think. Nice to know it is still good for something …