The end product is always very important, but before our high-quality fruit and vegetables reach you, they have already travelled a long way. We therefore not only have an eye for those delicious natural products, but also for the process that precedes them. The responsible entrepreneurship that we feel so strongly about is rewarded with quality labels.
For us, corporate responsibility means, among other things, minimising the negative effects of our activities on the environment and on society as a whole. We are therefore always willing to enter into dialogue with our stakeholders in order to further improve our CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) thinking and to phrase objectives.
We are also aware of our role in the lives of our employees. Their well-being determines the representation of the cooperative on a daily basis. Therefore, we always consider their health through the use of electric forklifts, stackers and through medical examinations. We also provide opportunities for training so that everyone can develop and grow. Our employees also help determine policy, because we always want to engage in dialogue about social issues. The safety of everyone is guaranteed by the safety charter.
Our diversity policy stipulates that no distinction is made between people of different origin, age, gender or talent.
At the grower
The production process starts with our growers. This means that they occupy a very important place in the sustainable chain. That is why we support them with training, targeted advice on the deployment of their personnel, food safety, the use of natural resources, CO2 reduction and profitability.
Our growers often work with seasonal workers from foreign countries. The growers offer them support in all possible areas and where necessary, such as during reception and administration. This way, the seasonal workers become more involved in the company. In addition, our growers also attach great importance to staff training. First aid courses are provided and the seasonal workers are given the opportunity to learn Dutch on the job.
All members of the Cooperative make efforts to reduce their ecological footprint as much as possible — and they do so with conviction! To this end, they use innovative systems such as water pumps, energy screens and solar boilers. Common sense also plays a major role here, because our growers make good use of rainwater that is collected in silos and basins.
We also consider our communication very important and we pride ourselves on communicating transparently about our entire production process.
The modern consumer
Without you, our customers, we would not exist. And modern consumers are critical, and rightly so, about what they eat. These modern consumers want to know the origin of their fruits and vegetables, and we are happy to provide them an explanation. Not only do we promise a quality product, we also provide proof of it. We do this every day, with passion and pleasure.
All our efforts to meet this need can be read in our sustainability report. In there, we talk about the sustainability strategy of Coöperatie Hoogstraten, highlights and achievements in personnel policy, quality research, evolutions in our mobility and our environmental policy.
The importance of bees and bumblebees
To grow Hoogstraten strawberries, we call on the help of thousands of diligent bees and bumblebees. The latter we mainly use in the greenhouses, and they build their 'nest' in one of the foil boxes we provide there. Both bumblebees and bees pollinate the strawberry plants. Only after successful pollination will the fruit develop into deliciously sweet strawberries for you to enjoy.
Our sustainable strawberry punnet
For decades, strawberries were packaged in the familiar plastic "tub". We wanted to break that habit. We were looking for a new packaging that was innovative, distinctive and sustainable. In consultation with the supplier, a customised packaging machine was developed in which the punnets are placed directly in the boxes. In this way, we can now deliver loads of fully-filled strawberry boxes.
The result: a more cost-efficient packaging concept with considerable labour savings for the production companies. The punnet is completely free of plastic and we use high-quality, food-safe ink for the print. With its attractive design and premium look & feel, the punnet definitely stands out on the shelf!
A sustainable personnel policy determines the strength and manoeuvrability of a company. The well-being of our employees is central to Coöperatie Hoogstraten. We are aware of the role we play in the lives of our employees.
Health, vitality and safety are also an integral part of our business operations. We continuously strive to monitor and improve ergonomics through preventive and corrective measures. We also devote a great deal of attention to the development and personal growth of employees. An integral and permanent career policy is central to this. We also resolutely opt for a diversity policy that makes no distinction between people of different origins and in terms of age, gender or talents.
Safety: safety plan
Social dialogue: our staff get a say in our policies
Health: electric forklifts, stackers, medical examinations, ...
Striving for minimal environmental impact
A sustainability strategy is not complete without an environmental strategy. As a horticultural company, we naturally place the environment in a high position. We now have more than 5,000 solar panels on our roofs, which is good for a yield of 1.12 MWh, or about 15% of our entire energy requirement.
In addition, we collect rainwater, which we channel through the pipes of our cooling systems. The result is splendid: in ten years, our mains water consumption has been reduced by no less than half.
All members of Coöperatie Hoogstraten make efforts to reduce their ecological footprint as much as possible and they do so with conviction! They use innovative systems for this, such as heat pumps, energy screens and solar boilers. Common (agricultural) sense also plays a major role here, because our growers make grateful use of rainwater that is collected in silos and basins.
Coöperatie Hoogstraten has been a loyal participant in the VCDO Charter for many years. By signing this charter, we commit ourselves to result-oriented and continuous work on sustainable business. Every year, we strive to achieve the proposed action points within the 17 sustainability objectives of the United Nations (SDGs).