Editorial Board Natural Capital

Editorial Board Natural Capital

14 December 2015

There are currently various programs to help companies work smarter and more efficiently with natural resources, biodiversity and ecosystems (otherwise known as natural capital). In addition to the Natural Capital Help Desk, Platform BEE (Biodiversity, Ecosystem and the Economy) has started a program called ‘Natural Captains’ for leaders in the area.

Natural Captains

In this program, dozens of forward-thinking Dutch companies challenge the others and themselves to take real action. The common goal is to achieve measurable results in the sustainable use of natural capital in business practices or the supply chain. (more…)
Sustainable Banking

Sustainable Banking

6 October 2015

The financial sector realizes that sustainability is important for the long-term success of businesses. Financial institutions such as banks, pension funds and insurers are making more demands on how businesses conduct themselves in the ESG (environmental, social and governance) sectors. They do this in order to better estimate the financial risks of investments, but moral and sustainability considerations also play a role.

In the Netherlands, the ASN Bank and Triodos are the known leaders in the field.

Financial sector on our home turf

(more…)
The First Assessment of the Vietnamese Potato Project

The First Assessment of the Vietnamese Potato Project

28 September 2015
How can the introduction of Dutch potato varieties in Vietnam contribute to food security? This is the central question for the project 'Growing out of poverty with potatoes'. The project is partially funded by the Dutch government and carried out by a consortium led by the Vietnamese company Fresh Studio. In the project, farmers are trained in the area of good agricultural practices and tests are carried out on Dutch varieties in order to get them registered (approved) for the Vietnamese market. The project takes an innovative approach by also helping the Vietnamese consumer to become more familiar with potato consumption and its advantages. (more…)
Decent Work in International Supply Chains

Decent Work in International Supply Chains

21 August 2015

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment commissioned Nyenrode Business Universiteit and consultancy firm CREM to conduct a research project concerning the impacts of global supply chains on the compliance with the 'decent work' norms defined by the International Labour Organisation (ILO). These ILO norms have been incorporated in various international treaties and statements, and agreed upon by many countries around the world.

The research team examined regulatory practices in 20 countries and corporate practices in 5 sectors in order to detect innovative instruments employed to improve decent work via global supply chains. (more…)
Recycling Plastic Waste from the Water

Recycling Plastic Waste from the Water

12 June 2015
Waterproof Media is a young company that is looking for innovative solutions to make the world a bit of a better place. One thing they are looking at is new applications for waste plastic found in the water. The company asked the Natural Capital Help Desk to figure out the amount and composition of waste plastic along the coast and in inland waters. They also wanted to know about the current processing practices and recycling initiatives in this area. (more…)
Scan your impact on Natural Capital

Scan your impact on Natural Capital

13 March 2015

Not all companies are aware of the importance of natural capital for business operations: all of world’s natural resources, such as geological resources, soil, air, water and biodiversity. Companies depend on natural capital to various degrees; the way a company deals with it could involve risks and opportunities.

Working with Royal HaskoningDHV, CREM has developed an online Natural Capital Quick Scan for companies that operate on national and international markets. (more…)
Green washing or honest advertising?

Green washing or honest advertising?

4 February 2015

More and more labels announcing environmental benefits, such as “100% organic” or “Good for the environment”, adorn consumer products. With these labels the producer suggests that this product is more environmentally friendly than other similar products. But what if it was legally mandated that all such products must be 100% biodegradable? Would it still be allowed to make these self-proclaimed ‘environmental claims’?

There are existing regulations for the use of labels and claims for some products, like the energy labels on fridges, washing machines and lights. For other products, where there is no existing regulation, ensuring the truth of these environmental claims is the responsibility of the Dutch and EU advertising commissions. (more…)
10 Tips for Communication about Sustainable Fashion

10 Tips for Communication about Sustainable Fashion

9 December 2014
The conference ‘Groen is de rode draad’ (‘Green is the common theme’) took place in October 2014. The conference, which covered transparency in the fashion and textile industry, was organized by Dutch textile industry associations MODINT and VGT. During a breakout session, three experts shared their understanding of communication and sustainability in the sector. The conclusion from the audience was: if you do business sustainably, you also need to communicate about it (92% agreed). (more…)
CSR in Egypt

CSR in Egypt

25 October 2014
On the 14th of October in Cairo, the conference ‘CSR in Egypt: Building on Experiences in the Netherlands’ was held. The central question was what Egypt can learn from the Dutch approach in order to stimulate companies in the area of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and to see what role the government can play. The conference was organized by the Dutch Embassy, in cooperation with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the Egyptian Ministry of Trade, Industry and SMEs. (more…)
Smallholder Farmers Closer to Certification

Smallholder Farmers Closer to Certification

5 September 2014

The current market is increasingly asking for certification as a guaranty for sustainability. Smallholder farmers are also confronted with this trend. However, smallholder farmers often lack the right skills and motivation to keep records of their input use and other agricultural data. These data are needed to demonstrate compliance with the respective certification standard.

In order to give this group a hand, CREM, on behalf of the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO), has developed a handbook for smallholder farmers who would like to be certified according to the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB) standard. (more…)
Overtime in Africa Floriculture

Overtime in Africa Floriculture

1 September 2014

Long working hours with lots of overtime are a common feature in the floriculture industry in East Africa. Regular excessively long workdays can be dangerous for workers’ health and have a negative effect on their productivity. A healthy balance between regular work times and overtime is therefore very important.

MPS – the administrator and developer of floriculture standards in the area of sustainability – has included a maximum amount of overtime in its SociallyQualified (SQ) Standard. This overtime must also be voluntary and not structural. (more…)
Sustainable Hospitality Now More Visible

Sustainable Hospitality Now More Visible

12 August 2014

Restaurant owners who have filled out theirestablishment’s sustainability profile on the online restaurant guide IENS.nl, can also now showcase their sustainability story on www.duurzamereten.nl, a website about making food more sustainable. The Dutch trade association for the hotel and catering industry (KHN), IENS.nl and CREM worked together to couple the sustainability profile on IENS.nl to one on duurzamereten.nl.

Restaurant owners are thus encouraged to be transparent about their sustainability activities. At the same time, the consumer gets more insight into restaurants’ sustainability initiatives. (more…)

Cacoa Production in the shade

Cacoa Production in the shade

26 May 2014

During the yearly meeting of the Society for Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) in Basel, Switzerland, CREM gave a presentation about shade-grown cocoa, its relationship with biodiversity and ecosystem services and payment for these services.

Shade trees provide ecosystem services

Cocoa produces best under shade trees, which is where you find the natural habitat of the cocoa tree. Cocoa trees in such a system (with 40% shade) benefit from diverse ecosystem services: control of sicknesses and pests, better water management and maintenance of soil fertility. Shade trees provide products such as wood, nuts and fruits, which give the farmer additional income. (more…)

Dos and Don’ts of Communication about Sustainable Fashion in the Store

Dos and Don’ts of Communication about Sustainable Fashion in the Store

9 May 2014
How can clothing stores lead consumers to make a sustainable choice? More demand for sustainable fashion can stimulate producers to invest more in sustainable production. CREM and some fashion companies went looking for answers. In assignment from the Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment, they researched communication strategies for conveying the sustainable aspects of clothing in the store. (more…)
The Mobile Fish, From Boat to Plate

The Mobile Fish, From Boat to Plate

28 April 2014
An app about fish, the fishery and cooking with fish. The Vissersbond (Fishery Union) has developed an app called VIS! (fish in Dutch) that can be downloaded in the app stores. CREM did research for the Vissersbond about how the app could better meet consumers’ needs and how consumers could be persuaded to download the app to their smartphones and tablets. The results of this research and other new ideas were brought together in a communication and strategy plan. (more…)