Anouk Wentink, Sustainability Officer

Department: Corporate Affairs

“In fact, the whole of ForFarmers is ‘team sustainability’”

Have you always wanted to be a Sustainability Manager?

“Haha, I really can’t remember how far my passion for my profession goes back. The fact is, I’ve been working in the world of sustainability for more than ten years. The thing that really drives me is that I want to fully commit myself to the issue of how we can sustainably feed all people in the world. There isn’t a single best way of achieving this, you have to make your own choices. Companies too. This is a current topic of discussion. I was therefore instantly enthusiastic when I started my role as Sustainability Officer at ForFarmers, supporting the implementation of sustainability. Even though my role is relatively new, that certainly doesn’t mean the sustainability theme is new within ForFarmers. Although it is now given more focussed attention.”

Afbeelding: Anouk Wentink_in-line

Why did you join ForFarmers?

“I don’t come from a farming background, but my grandparents had a farm in the countryside in the east of the Netherlands and I was born and bred in West Friesland, so I literally grew up amongst dairy farms. So why did I decide to join ForFarmers? That certainly wasn’t a difficult choice. We are a growing international company which is continuing to professionalise itself; also in the field of sustainability. One thing I instantly noticed was the hands-on mentality. That’s something which suits me down to the ground. And, not entirely unimportantly, sustainability is one of the core values. For example, when you see how many residual flows from the food industry are being processed into animal feed here, you can justifiably say that sustainability is in our DNA. There are many opportunities to make sustainability concrete. Especially as we’re active in a sector with a major social impact.”

Do you work with a ‘sustainability team’?

“Yes and no. There isn’t really a separate team, but sustainability affects many of the company’s facets, so in fact, the whole of ForFarmers is our ‘sustainability team’. This means plenty of alignment and cooperation throughout the entire organisation. Sustainability involves the safety of our employees, our CO2 footprint and food safety, right through to innovations and purchasing. The latter includes the origin of our raw materials, to name but one. I have a facilitating, coordinating role and make sure what we’re doing in the sustainability field becomes clearly visible to everyone. It’s certainly also a driving role, to actually really do what we have agreed to do as a company and to raise our achievements in the field of sustainability up to a higher plane.”

What challenges you?

“Sustainability is a somewhat vague, general term to many people, which is very much over-used. I see it as a personal challenge to translate this broad concept into concrete and practical actions, making sure every employee within ForFarmers can provide their own contribution. One of my tasks is to monitor all sustainability efforts within ForFarmers and to subsequently make these visible by producing internal and external reports. This should lead to increased awareness. Many people are not yet familiar with the major role played by livestock farming in this upgrading of residual flows, which fits perfectly into ‘closed loop’ agriculture. Our pursuit for ‘more with less’ links into this too: how we can use fewer raw materials, yet gain more from this? This is how we put our For the Future of Farming mission into practice, by making more efficient, smarter and better use of, for example, raw materials, energy and residual flows.”

Are you involved with sustainability in your private life too?

“Absolutely! I have written a sustainable cookery book together with Floortje Dessing (a Dutch television host and writer): ‘De groene garde’ (The Green Whisk). We used this book to translate the global question of how we can sustainably feed all people in the world into our own kitchens. Sustainability has to be concrete and practical - both in our private lives and at work.”