Potato wholesaler Vanka was founded in 1938 by grandfather Johannes van Kampen, and is now being run by the third generation. After 80 years, Vanka is still focused on the future. That’s why doing sustainable business is so important to the company. Vanka is dedicated to sustainability in various fields, explain Lennard van Kampen, commercial manager of Vanka, and Valéry Lauer, responsible for marketing and communication. To this end, they work with various links in the supply chain.
Lennard: “For example, with the growers we’ve made sure the use of active means within production has been decreased by 80 per cent.”
Innovations such as a new washing plant and the use of robotics ensure water usage has been halved and the use of electricity has been reduced by more than 50 per cent.
Besides, Vanka is proud of their newest factory, which is completely CO2 neutral and which uses a heat pump and green electricity from Nuon for their energy supply. Lennard: “Considering the sustainable developments globally, we think it’s wise not to be dependent on gas.”
Vanka also thinks about sustainability in the field of packing and transport. Valéry: “We’ve reduced our CO2 emissions by optimising shipments from our factories to the retailers, among other things. Besides, with the retailers we’re looking at options to make packaging more sustainable. For instance, we managed to reduce film thickness without sacrificing packaging quality.”
Vanka shares the following sustainability recommendations:
1. As a company, you shouldn’t be standing still
“Make sure you’re informed of developments both nationally and internationally, so that you’re always ready to take the next step. Be informed of sustainable options, by going to seminars, for example. Continue to invest in your company, in your people and in the future.”
2. Work on sustainability with partners
“You can’t become more sustainable on your own. You’re stronger together, and you’ll achieve results faster together. We work with partners in the supply chain, such as growers and retail. Besides, we consider Nuon a reliable energy partner in the field of doing sustainable business.”
3. Choose sustainable measures that suit your company
“You have to support the sustainable activities you’re carrying out, otherwise there’s no point. As a company, you have to be enthused by it.”
4. You have more impact as a market leader
“As a market leader, we can have more impact in the field of sustainability than smaller organisations. We take our responsibility in that. We want to add something to our society and save as much as energy as possible.”
5. Look beyond country borders
“In the Netherlands, we’ve already achieved a lot, and our growers work sustainably. However, we also buy potatoes abroad, and we’re still working hard to achieve the same things there.”