The Sustainable Development Goals as a roadmap to plant production

#12, May 2021

Marga Vintges and Mario van Vliet

Greenport West-Holland

Marga Vintges and Mario van Vliet, from Greenport West-Holland, shares how its Annual Plan for 2021 is related to the Sustainable Development Goals.

Greenport West-Holland is an ecosystem and cluster organisation dedicated to Greenhouse plant production (fruits, vegetables, floriculture and ornamental plants and production systems) in the region that covers a large area of South Holland. The horticultural industry in South Holland is a global horticultural cluster for innovative and sustainable food supply, health and happiness. Greenport West-Holland is committed to a vital and sustainable future for the horticultural cluster, and to increased social and economic impact. In the Annual Plan for 2021 the Greenport presents its ambitions, tasks and activities. The actions are to the Sustainable Development Goals. Within the different tasks Key Performance Indicator (KPI) will be defined. Some KPI will be strongly related to the SDG, especially where the cluster aims to be climate neutral in 2050. Before the and of 2022 all cooperation’s of growers will have included the SDG 12 in their formal goals.

Not only does the horticultural cluster in Greenport West-Holland have great economic value, but it also offers solutions for social issues and is able to make a positive contribution to the living environment. In short: horticulture contributes to a better world, for example by producing healthy food and greening the living environment. In doing so it also contributes to achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

Our strategy is “Feeding (and Greening) Megacities

Via our leadership in knowledge & innovation we increase awareness of strengths and opportunities, within the Triple Helix,

to strengthen innovative capacity. The innovations are used to be sure that in crowded area it is possible to produce healthy, nutrient rich food, that, with a sophisticated logistic chain has a short Farm to Fork time.

The Feeding & Greening Megacities strategy is pointed out in our vision that our cluster is responsible for production of health (healthy food and green environment) and happiness. It is a difficult theme, because the relations between certain food and health and green environment and health are well known but not officially (scientific) proven.

This SDG is very important too, because of the necessity of well-educated young people that would like to work in our sector. And we support plans related to Life-Long Learning. We speak about a Human Capital Agenda.

This SDG is very important because of the necessity of water in horticulture. Therefore a certain water supply and sustainable water use is needed.

We support a lot of water projects. And in the last three decades the water us within the greenhouse production decline enormously. For example, for tomatoes nowadays 12 litre water are needed per kg.

Partners of the Greenport West-Holland have signed the Greenport West-Holland Energy Agreement.

The aim of the agreement is to be partners in the realisation of projects on harvesting warmth and energy from the sun on the use of head and cold storage and geothermal energy and to create innovative warmth grids.

Increase the Value & Margin of the Horticultural Cluster

Greenport West-Holland remains a leader in product and process innovation, offers access to knowledge and experts, and increases the general willingness to share this knowledge.

Smart & Efficient Logistics

Top international position as a Sustainable Innovative Hub. Greenport West-Holland as a development platform for innovative and sustainable logistics solutions as it is situated very near to the port of Rotterdam, which is Europe’s most important logistic hub. Knowledge development and innovation are supported. For example the development of a Cargoloop.  

Future-oriented Integral Area Development

Greenport West-Holland contributes to the modernisation and restructuring of the West-Holland horticultural region with a comprehensive vision on mobility, energy, and water supply.

The lack of space is a real Dutch problem that has to be solved.

In relation to SDG 6 and 7:

Greenport West-Holland aims to be the first climate-neutral and circular Greenport in the Netherlands and support knowledge development and innovation to use less water and biologic pest control and to become totally a circular ecosystem.

Another important issue is to get more insights that leads to reducing Food Waste.

In relation to SDG 7:

Greenport West-Holland aims to be the first climate-neutral and Greenport in the Netherlands.

The most important action: the use of warmth (in development) and carbon dioxide coming (realised) from the industry in the port of Rotterdam via a smart grid structure.

In relation to SDG 12:

Adopting and implementing the ‘Plastics in the Greenport’ programme in collaboration with ‘Circular Metropolis’.

Robust Ecosystem; Greenport West-Holland as an inspiring example of an innovative and sustainable horticultural cluster.

Greenport West-Holland is a decisive, results-oriented Triple (quadruple) Helix network.

It works to realise a future-proof, economically vital cluster!!!!

Marga Vintges, strategic Advisor at the Municipality of Westland and the Greenport West-Holland.

Mariovan Vliet, Self-employed entrepreneur/freelance. Communications Manager