Enjoying a sustainable way of working together

Sustainability, corporate social responsibility (CSR), being future proof. You often hear people say: ‘Isn’t that a contemporary topic?’

No, it isn’t. For a long time, people have been trying to find a better balance with nature. Ten thousand years ago we had a very sustainable life as hunters and gatherers because there was simply no other option. Today, the conclusion will be the same. There is simply no other option than to start living sustainably. We humans have invented all kinds of things, which, of course, is very cool. By doing so, we have moved further and further away from nature and the connection gets lost.

Time to turn the tide

We need to become part of nature again. We humans are taking advantage of nature like any other animal. As David Attenborough says in ‘A life on our planet’: “In this world a species can only thrive, when everything around it thrives too.” So, it is time to consider the consequences of our actions when, for example, we are at work.

Time to look in the mirror

At Ruitenberg BasIQs this means that we ask ourselves questions like ‘Do we harm the environment when we do business with a liquorice supplier in for example the Middle East that we have known for many years?’ If you look at the harvesting method, the liquorice roots are removed from the ground with light-weight tractors. There will always remain roots in the ground to ensure the next harvest in 3– 5 years’ time. Planting new roots is not necessary when harvesting correctly. No fertilizers and pesticides are needed for the plant to grow well, only some water now and then. Water is valuable and scarcely available in the Middle East and this may deserve extra attention.

Time to make a difference

We are also investigating how we can improve ourselves in other areas. In our BREEAM-certified factory, for example, we are striving to make processes even more efficient. Another important project we are working on is to ensure that sustainability becomes part of our daily activities. How? By engaging our team with sustainability every so often; for example, we organized a people, planet, profit quiz, in which the winner received a sustainable shopping package. In this way we combined team building and CSR.

Time to take responsibility

This results in sustainability becoming part of the day-to-day business. Colleagues work together in small teams on a large or small sustainability project. And yes, even the colleagues who initially were not into sustainability, now come up with comments like: ‘But why do we buy raw materials there? If we buy closer to home, it will result in CO² reduction.’ We are doing well as a team, sometimes taking baby steps, sometimes bigger steps, always making progress.

Time to start saving ourselves

If you still think that this subject does not concern you personally, read this quote from David Attenborough: “It’s not about saving our planet, it’s about saving ourselves. We’ve come this far, because we are the smartest creators that ever lived, but to continue we require more than intelligence, we require wisdom.”

Mayke de Bruin, Food Innovator at Ruitenberg BasIQs

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