HAS University of Applied Sciences signs Green Circle Sustainable French Fries Chain covenant

News 29 March 2019
HAS Hogeschool - Green Circles

The partners will work towards reducing greenhouse gasses, promoting sustainable energy and increasing biodiversity and a healthy soil containing sufficient organic matter.

Photograph: Provincie Zuid-Holland

Farm Frites, HAS University of Applied Sciences, Wageningen University & Research and the province of Zuid-Holland signed the ‘Green Circle Sustainable French Fries Chain’ covenant at the Farm Frites site in Oudenhoorn on 15 March. This marks a fertile collaboration, both figuratively and literally. Together, the partners will work towards reducing greenhouse gasses, promoting sustainable energy and increasing biodiversity and a healthy soil containing sufficient organic matter.

Improving carbon neutral chains and mobility

Farm Frites wants to be known as a driver for sustainable business. Collaboration within the chain and with its immediate surroundings is an important aspect. “We strongly support this initiative,” says Piet de Bruijne, owner of Farm Frites. “Over the past years, we have grown into a global organisation, but in parallel with this growth, it is in our DNA to work sustainably. The Green Circle fits in perfectly with our sustainability strategy. In concrete terms, we want to reduce natural gas and electricity-related CO2 emissions to zero in our factory in Oudenhoorn, and we want to work towards a CO2 neutral supply chain. We will realise this ambition by using sustainable energy technologies. Increasing the sustainability of logistics and mobility is also an important topic for us, as well as improving safety. We are also committed to reducing local nuisance due to transport between the Farm Frites factory and the Maasvlakte 2 port extension of the Port of Rotterdam.”

Collaborating with potato growers

Potatoes are processed into French fries at Farm Frites straight from the fields. A healthy soil is obviously crucial, so Farm Frites wants to collaborate with growers in the region to ensure sustainable and healthy businesses, thus guaranteeing local production of potatoes for the future. Wageningen University & Research is involved in finding scientific evidence for the pilots. “To find viable solutions, we need to connect up our own knowledge with that of our partners,” says Bram de Vos, director of the Environmental Sciences Group, on behalf of Wageningen University & Research. “A healthy soil not only has benefits for production, but also for climate-positive agriculture and increasing biodiversity in and around the fields.” HAS University of Applied Sciences brings science and research together, both in its study programmes and as a result of its students’ efforts.

Innovative impact on the agrifood sector

As Dick Pouwels, chair of the Board of Directors at HAS University of Applied Sciences, says, “It is important that circular agriculture becomes the standard, especially for the new generation of students. Joining Green Circles, we as a university are innovating and having an impact on the way the agrifood sector thinks and acts.”

Recognising each other’s interests

Green Circles is a method for a range of partners to tackle complex societal issues together. Due to the high degree of interconnectedness and complexity of these issues, it follows that no individual party can find a solution on their own. “That’s why we work together to find a balance between matters such as quality of landscape, sustainability and issues regarding energy, thus recognising each other’s interests as well as our joint ambitions,” explains representative Han Weber from the province of Zuid-Holland. In addition to the Green Circle Sustainable French Fries Chain, there are other Green Circles also in operation such as the Green Circle for Cheese & Subsidence near dairy factory De Graafstroom. Within the Green Circles, businesses, academic institutions and government work together in an open manner, as equals, using nature as a partner in their attempts to achieve a sustainable society.

About the Green Circles

Green Circles originated from a collaboration in 2013 between the province of Zuid-Holland, Heineken and Wageningen University & Research, aiming to develop a climate-neutral Heineken brewery in a climate-neutral supply chain, a sustainable economy, a pleasant living environment and knowledge for a climate neutral society. Later, Naturalis Biodiversity Centre and The Rijnland Water Board also joined the covenant.