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Dutch agrarian sector has lowest environmental impact in the world

The Dutch agrarian sector has the lowest ecological footprint in the world. The agrarian production in the Netherlands has been using residual and waste streams for years, and CO2 emissions are greatly reduced by the use of biomass. Additionally, our country scores high internationally in combating food waste. In this, the sector is a frontrunner by using the latest technology in the field of Smart Farming, such as sensors, data-analysis, or using field maps through drones or satellite images. When companies within and outside of the sector start working together, this could also give an additional boost to closing circulations in other sectors. Dutch bank ABN AMRO concluded this in the Dutch publication: 'Agrarisch: circulair van huis uit'.

Circularity as agrarian tradition
Dutch agricultural products have the lowest environmental impact in the world. This can mostly be measured by the high yield per kilograms of product, by the high-quality productivity of the agrarian sector. In 2015, the use of pesticides decreased to less than half compared to the levels in the 1980s. Agriculture and horticulture also use natural enemies and organic means to combat pests, and the use of antibiotics in animal husbandry decreased by 64.4 per cent between 2009 and 2016. The agrarian production has been using residual and waste streams for years. For example, residual products from the food industry are the most important ingredient in the animal food industry. Plant residues are also used – as material for building materials, textiles, cardboard, chemicals and synthetics – and biomass is used to lower the CO2 emissions. Waste is counteracted by economical handling of raw materials and efficient food production. To this end, sensors and data-analysis offer many options. Farmers and horticulturalists are also involved in the production of as much as 42 per cent of renewable energy in the Netherlands, while only using 4.9 per cent of all energy.

International leaders through circular entrepreneurship
ABN AMRO now finances mostly independent agrarian companies, but sees opportunities for chain financing in future. This is driven by the transition to a circular economy, which requires a different way of financing. For this, it’s necessary to have insight into the new earnings models and the financial performances in agriculture and horticulture. The Dutch agrarian sector offers many perspectives for profitable earnings models, and this commands much respect globally. By using residual products and reducing wastage, entrepreneurs can individually reduce costs and increase revenue with less environmental impact. When companies within and outside of the sector start working together, this could also give an additional boost to closing circulations in other sectors. Contracting firms are an important link in a circular agrarian sector. Because they lease machines to many farmers, they collect a lot of data. By coupling machine data to external data, such as field maps through drones or satellite images, wastage and the use of chemical means and fertilisers can be reduced. Contracting firms that are leading in this, develop themselves into ‘Smart Farming as a Service.’ ABN AMRO is researching how to contribute to this, so that they and their customers can ensure the Dutch agrarian sector can maintain its international position as a leader.

Source: ABN Amro

Publication date: 8/9/2017


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