In 2018, Royal Agrifirm Group took action on making the food chain more sustainable in its Dutch home market as well as throughout the world. This is explained in the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Report, which published on June 7. As a global player, Agrifirm is rolling out its CSR policy internationally. It mobilizes internal and external knowledge to develop effective solutions for key areas of importance, such as animal health and avoiding the use of antibiotics in the livestock farming. Furthermore, as a cooperative it helps its members give the agricultural sector a voice in the social debate about the impact of agriculture on the environment, and on the human living environment and animal habitat.

‘In the Netherlands we are known as a leader in sustainable agriculture and we are currently actively involved in tackling social challenges in international markets as well,’ says Dick Hordijk, CEO of Royal Agrifirm Group. ‘This is proceeding at a different pace from the Netherlands, with an eye on local needs. In line with our “Better Together” strategy our aim is to exchange CSR knowledge within Royal Agrifirm Group. From the farm to global markets, everywhere we work together with our members, customers and partners on developing a safe and sustainable food chain for future generations.’

International cooperation under a single name

In 2018 Agrifirm conducted an analysis to determine the subject areas of material importance in two of its international core markets: Poland and Brazil. In 2019 a similar analysis will be conducted for China, another key international market for Royal Agrifirm Group.

In 2018 Agrifirm integrated various business units in the Netherlands, Belgium and France under a single Agrifirm brand name and all subsidiaries throughout the world are increasingly more intensively working together as the Royal Agrifirm Group. ‘This enables us to offer our members and customers comprehensive solutions that are created by sharing knowledge and experience within our group,’ says Hordijk.

Healthy animals and reduced antibiotics

A good example of such a solution is the Animal Health Scan, which combines knowledge from various parts of Royal Agrifirm Group with the expertise of the Dutch Animal Health Service (GD Animal Health). In 2018

Agrifirm and GD Animal Health developed this methodology to determine the impact of product innovations on animal health. The Animal Health Scan helps create awareness of how to positively influence animal health by means of feed and a robust feeding strategy (dosing and composition of the ration). This responds to important social values, such as animal health and wellbeing.

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Connecting members and citizens

As a cooperative with some 10,000 members in the Netherlands, Agrifirm aims to be economically and socially relevant for its members. Agrifirm believes in a sustainable food chain for future generations.

With its cooperative program, Agrifirm facilitates its members based on the various roles it fulfils as a cooperative:

  • making the farmer’s voice heard;
  • conducting the dialogue with society and the market;
  • connecting farmers and citizens;
  • initiating and facilitating cooperative projects – solutions that are (too) complex for an individual farmer.

With its program, the cooperative is well aligned with the vision and the 'Better Together' strategy launched in 2017.

This year, in close cooperation with Agrifirm NWE, various projects will be initiated relating to key social themes, such as closed-cycle agriculture, soil health, agriculture that also manages the natural environment and farms with low emissions. Furthermore, promoting entrepreneurship among young people in the agricultural sector is a priority for the cooperative. ‘In 2018, our coaches trained 25 to 30 young farmers and we aim to increase this number to approximately 120 young farmers in 2019,’ says Ruud Tijssens, Group Director Public & Cooperative Affairs. ‘Ultimately, our cooperative approach was developed to offer our members added value as a way of strengthening their position, as well as that of Agrifirm.’

A summary of the Royal Agrifirm Group CSR Report 2018 can be downloaded here. To read the entire CSR Report, click here.