Furthering sustainability together with Green Circles

A beautiful location and sunny day provided a perfect start for the ‘Green Circles’ sugar beet circular economy. On 18 April 2019, Suiker Unie, the province of North Brabant, and Naturalis Biodiversity Center signed a covenant to jointly pursue further sustainability. This kick-off revolved around sustainability and cooperation and was attended by more than 150 guests from various organizations.

Paul Mesters (CEO Suiker Unie), Koos Biesmeijer (Naturalis Biodiversity Center), and Anne-Marie Spierings (province of North Brabant) signed the covenant to establish long-term sustainability cooperation between Suiker Unie as a company, the province as a government institution, and Naturalis Biodiversity Center as a knowledge institute.

In addition to presentations by Marjan Minnesma (Urgenda) on the urgency of sustainability-related cooperation and Jan Kempers (Heineken Netherlands) on success stories at Green Circles Heineken, there were also roundtable sessions. The roundtable participants from various organizations discussed ideas and potential areas of cooperation. These discussions focused on five themes:

  • Biobased
  • Greening of the living environment
  • Energy
  • Logistics
  • Circular agriculture

At around 4:00 PM the wrap-up began with freshly cut asparagus from host and hostess René and Anja Ooms's farm, where the event was hosted – the perfect end to a day spent discussing sustainability. All the highlights were recapped while drinks were served. The Green Circles kick-off was a resounding success.
Suiker Unie's ambition
Suiker Unie's ambition is to be the greenest, most innovative, and most successful sugar beet processor in the world. They are already well on their way: all the sugar beet growers are gold-level certified with the Sustainable Agriculture Initiative and the CO2 emission per kilo of sugar has already been reduced by 40% since 1990. Ultimately, Suiker Unie intends to stop using fossil fuels altogether and make the entire sugar beet chain fully circular. The key will be collaboration: so much more can be achieved in partnership than working alone.

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