Message from the CEO Chapter 1

‘The potato is a responsible
choice, naturally’

This is HZPC’s first Sustainability Report. Since 2008 / 2009 we have been reporting on sustainability in our annual report. From now on we will report on our progress bi-annually, online. This way of reporting is new. We have, however, been improving our level of sustainability for years.

We are active in agriculture, particularly the agribusiness sector. In this sector, sustainable enterprise is the heart of the business. Those who take good care of their crops, the soil and the environment today, will also be able to feed future generations responsibly.

HZPC is aware of its responsibility. As one of the world’s largest suppliers of seed potatoes, our mission is to contribute to the development of responsible food for a growing world population. We are ambitious, but at the same time, realistic, because the potatoes developed by us are a responsible choice, naturally, on many fronts.

Our company faces great challenges for the future. How will we feed more than 9 billion people responsibly in 2050? How do we ensure nutritious food? How do we ensure that sufficient and affordable food can also be produced in countries with water scarcity and a limited amount of agricultural land available? We ponder over these questions on a daily basis.

We specialise in plant breeding. This allows us to develop our potato varieties to grow in the most challenging areas, and getting the propagating material to produce more, whilst simultaneously using less water. This also allows us to reduce the use of fertilisers and pesticides to a minimum, or to make the potato even more nutritious and healthier than it already is.

We work from grower right up to consumer. Knowledge sharing is an important part of our sustainability strategy. Knowledge enables the prevention of disease and crop failure, lets us work more efficiently and combat food waste, and allows a healthy diet to be maintained.

Sustainability within HZPC is directed at the development of responsible basic food for all, and at reducing the carbon footprint of our own business operations. We have taken specific steps in these areas. In the coming years we will roll these steps out structurally across our business operations at subsidiary companies around the world. Moreover, we want to place more emphasis on details in the coming period. It is our strong belief that major ambitions are accomplished when attention is paid to matters that, on the face of it, appear minor. 

To properly anchor sustainability at every level, we need the input and involvement of all our employees, breeders and growers around the world. They are the ones who help to fulfil our sustainability mission.

Gerard Backx