Sustainability to create long-term value
“Sustainability is definitely here to stay,” continues Paul. “It’s a hot topic that is now on every board table. Stricter regulations have increased the sense of urgency.”
“But the pandemic has also changed the way we look at doing business. Sustainability is a once in a lifetime innovation opportunity to capture business opportunities, while creating long-term value for all your stakeholders. Companies need to focus on ESG: environment, social, and governance. Using ESG principles will help them measure and report the environmental, social and governance aspects of their business combined with financial considerations.”
Hannelore Raes confirms: “The train has left the station. You should definitely be on it.” As co-CEO of Agristo, Hannelore leads a worldwide player that develops and produces frozen potato products. The company provides customer brands to retail clients, as well as potato products to food service clients.
“Sustainability was already high on our agenda before the COVID-19-crisis. We are part of an industry that impacts the environment. It’s important that we keep that impact as low as possible. As a family-owned business, sustainability is part of our DNA. Our decisions need to have a positive long-term effect. That goes hand in hand with sustainability. If we have two investment options with each the same return on investment, we always choose the most sustainable one.”
Agristo focusses on sustainable energy with the construction of solar panels and sourcing from a green steam power plant: “50% of our energy consumption must be green by 2030. We also want to reuse water as much as possible. We are already reconverting water that we draw from the Leie into drinking water. In addition, we want to further reduce our water consumption. And we also want to switch to more inland navigation to reduce the number of trucks on the road. By 2030, we want to reduce our total carbon footprint by 30% per tonne of product.”