“In the next 20 years, farmers will face many problems. To make their farms resilient against global warming, they will need to rethink their farming model and become future-proofed.”
Peter Spaargaren is Head of Global Agro-Sustainability for Doehler Holland B.V., a member of the Doehler Group. He is a long-standing member of SAI Platform’s Crops Working Group and has been involved in multiple projects and importantly is a member of the FSA Steering Committee.
How long have you been involved with SAI Platform?
I’ve been a member since 2014. One of the first things I did when I became Head of Group Sustainability at Doehler was to join this platform. To me, and Doehler, being part of SAI Platform is aligning with your customer base and demonstrating clearly that we walk our talk.
This is also why I’ve been part of the Farm Sustainability Assessment (FSA) Steering Committee for the past four years. It’s really good to be connected to people who have an elevated mindset about where we’re heading.
What does 20 years of SAI Platform mean to you personally?
One of the greatest things SAI Platform has done is to standardise sustainability and become the leading global standard. It’s also a platform for us to share knowledge and initiatives and where we can align, link and roll out.
Looking ahead for the next 20 years or as far as you can, what do you think are the big challenges in the food and drink industry?
Global warming will change the world drastically. In the next 20 years, farmers will face many problems. To make their farms resilient against global warming, they will need to rethink their farming model and become future-proofed. A tremendous amount of them are simply not ready and this concerns me.
How can the food and drink industry, in the form of SAI Platform, help farmers?
I believe we should put considerable effort into helping farmers develop the resilience to make their farms climate-change ready. The Regenerative Agriculture Programme and FSA 3.0 together are powerful tools to enable this.
As far as the food and drink value chain itself is concerned, I’m glad we are facing up to the challenge of doing what we can to improve conditions for workers. For instance, it took courage for us to speak up in Turkey and launch the Harvesting the Future project.
In what ways do you feel there’s hope for the next 20 years?
The EU Green Deal is good news. It makes me happy to see that companies can no longer get away with treating workers badly. There are now 30 countries with due diligence in their legislation. The beauty of this is that it makes brands accountable and it’s good that this includes the whole supply chain.
The other thing is that there’s much more willingness to work pre-competitively together than there was 10 years ago. This is vital because the problems in front of us with global warming and everything related to it will be tremendous.