Corporate Social Responsibility is in our genes
Our approach to the Sustainable Development Goals
Corporate social responsibility goes without saying at Rijk Zwaan; it is an integral part of who we are and what we do. We don’t claim to have a solution for all of the world’s problems, but we shoulder our responsibility wherever we can and we put our mission of ‘Sharing a healthy future’ into practice. In that context, we strive to align our activities with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals formulated by the United Nations.
Modesty and conviction
Rijk Zwaan has an impact on some element of each of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and the associated targets. Independent analysis has shown that the main areas in which we already make – or could make – a difference are: ending hunger (SDG 2), creating decent work for all (SDG 8), stimulating responsible consumption and production (SDG 12) and seeking partnerships to achieve the goals (SDG 17). See below for more details of how we do that for each of these four SDGs.
SDG 2: Zero hunger
SDG 2 is to ‘End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture’.
Together with our partners we want to be able to continue to provide healthy products for a growing world population, taking account of and responding to climate change and the limited availability of natural resources (SDG 2.4).
In order to develop new vegetable varieties, we must have continued access to nature’s genetic diversity. That’s why we work with gene banks around the world. For example, Rijk Zwaan finances gathering missions that enable the gene banks to expand their collections and to safeguard genetic sources for the future (SDG 2.5).
SDG 8: Decent work and economic growth
SDG 8 is to ‘Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all’.
We contribute to sustainable economic growth by developing better varieties that can lead to more efficient utilisation of agricultural land and reduce energy and water consumption (SDG 8.4).
At Rijk Zwaan the number-one business objective is ‘to offer our employees an enjoyable and long-term job with attractive pay and conditions’. This is the guiding principle in our decision-making, at every level and all over the world. As a result, we contribute to decent work for all (SDG 8.5).
SDG 12: Responsible consumption and production
SDG 12 is aimed at ensuring ‘Responsible consumption and production’.
One of our breeding objectives is to reduce the use of crop protection agents (SDG 12.4). We are also focused on extending shelf life as a way of reducing food waste (SDG 12.3).
SDG 17: Partnerships for the goals
SDG 17 aims to ‘Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development’.
Appealing and high-quality vegetables support the development of local sales structures and an increase in vegetable production and consumption. The transfer of knowledge is an important starting point (SDG 17.16).
We work very closely with governments, NGOs and other (local) partners, such as through SEVIA: a public-private partnership project which spreads knowledge about vegetable production techniques throughout Tanzania based on the ‘train the trainer’ principle (SDG 17.17).
Biodiversity is necessary to help tackle future challenges
The issue of protecting biodiversity is high on the agenda for politicians and policymakers alike, both in the Netherlands and around the world. Jair Haanstra, Breeding Manager Lettuce, is involved in this within Rijk Zwaan.
We’re all crew on the same ship
People-oriented. A strong focus on values. Caring about employee happiness. These are just some of the terms that spring to mind for Alev Demokan Yapıcı, HR Advisor at Rijk Zwaan Turkey, when she is asked to describe what typifies Rijk Zwaan as an employer.
Longer shelf life means less waste
Which traits determine how long a vegetable stays fresh? And how can Rijk Zwaan improve this at genetic level? Nikos Ntagkas explains passionately all about it. As Post-harvest Researcher at Rijk Zwaan he investigates everything related to the shelf life of vegetables. His desire to contribute to a better world is Nikos’ biggest motivation. You could even call it his ‘mission’.
A joint approach is essential
The World Vegetable Center is striving to tackle poverty and malnutrition in developing countries. How? By boosting the production and consumption of nutritious vegetables in those countries. Arun Joshi, Managing Director of Rijk Zwaan India, explains why Rijk Zwaan is a partner within this project.