Category: News
Date published: June 17, 2024

Embracing sustainability brings value

In a world where the health of people and the planet are increasingly intertwined, the role of agriculture is paramount. It's not merely about producing crops; it's about fostering a relationship with nature to ensure a healthier, safer, and more productive future. This sentiment echoes through the words of Peter Maes, Chief Strategy Officer of Koppert, who emphasizes the importance of aligning business practices with sustainability goals.

The launch of 'Future Forward' 

Recently, Koppert launched its 'Future Forward' global sustainability strategy, aiming to integrate sustainability into all aspects of day-to-day business and decision-making. ‘We have been on a sustainability journey for more than 55 years already,’ Maes points out. ‘But it’s not only our products that need to be sustainable; it’s our operations too. For this, we need to get everybody on board so it becomes one global sustainability journey that will benefit us all.’

Sustainability brings value 

Drivers of success are not solely economic but also rooted in a broader mission and vision of the company. ‘Sustainability is not just a strategy but a fundamental aspect of our existence, intricately woven into the fabric of daily work and operations. It adds value, bolsters our bottom line, and enhances long-term viability,’ asserts Maes.

Koppert strives to offer solutions to farmers and growers that not only enhance productivity but also minimize negative environmental impacts. This entails a holistic approach encompassing the development of biological solutions, optimization of production systems, and efficient supply chains. It's about striking a balance between mitigating harm and maximizing positive contributions.

Key focus areas 

The Future Forward strategy is comprehensive, covering many topics. When asked which one is closest to his heart, Maes responded, ‘Biodiversity is a fundamental aspect of sustainability, but it’s becoming a buzzword these days, and that’s not okay. Thinking long term and prioritizing the wellbeing of the planet and society when making decisions is crucial. Minimizing our reliance on fossil fuels and working towards carbon neutrality is vital if we want future generations to thrive.’

The adoption of a comprehensive sustainability strategy, anchored in environmental, social, and governance principles, reflects a forward-looking ethos aimed at driving meaningful change.

‘We have already made huge strides and are moving in the right direction, but this journey now needs to gather momentum to carry us forward into the future,’ Maes emphasizes.

Key to this strategy is the recognition of the pivotal role agriculture plays in addressing pressing global challenges, from climate change to biodiversity loss. Moreover, the imperative for sustainability is increasingly intertwined with value creation and stakeholder expectations. Businesses that prioritize sustainability not only safeguard their long-term viability but also enhance their reputation and attractiveness to investors.

Watch the full interview with Peter Maes