The ‘Affordable Better Farming’ research report concludes that a substantial reduction in livestock, combined with a shift to organic farming cannot only solve the nitrogen crisis, but also save society a net billion euros a year. The main benefit is mainly to be found in avoiding damage to public health, climate and nature. Farmers who retire or switch over are fully compensated in the plan. The report calculated three scenarios, with more and less reduction of livestock and organic farming.
It is remarkable that entrepreneur Engelsman was asked by Greenpeace to be speaker at the report presentation, because Greenpeace has always maintained considerable distance from the business world. The Eosta top man was elected No. 1 in newspaper Trouw's Sustainable Top-100 in 2017, and in his ‘Green Speech from the Throne’ he outlined a future for agriculture that is closely in line with the conclusions of the 'Affordable Better Farming’ report. Eosta has won several sustainability awards for its True Cost of Food campaign.
In his explanatory statement to the presentation, Volkert Engelsman said: "The nitrogen crisis is an excellent opportunity to retire the one-sided profit definition of fattened up chickens”. It is time to start calculating properly, so costs and benefits, but this time all costs and benefits, are included. With our unrivalled agricultural expertise, we are better positioned than any other country to take the lead in a multifunctional agricultural and food policy that no longer allows itself to be held hostage by the post-war desire to maximise yield per hectare. This study by Ecorys proves that it is economically better to design agriculture in a multifunctional way."
Engelsman elaborated on the green transition currently taking place behind the scenes in the financial sector. "Today's financial risk analyses look at climate, biodiversity and all kinds of other social and ecological criteria. This is difficult for politics, but the financial sector has no other choice. Otherwise, you risk investments that don't pay off. For example, Rabobank is now sitting on a huge mountain of stranded assets in agriculture, as a result of bad choices made in the past."
According to Engelsman, the transition that the report advocates is inevitable when you look at the policy changes that are taking place at European level. The European Commission wants to reform agricultural subsidies in a new Green Deal, supported by Ursula Von der Leyen and Frans Timmermans. The European Central Bank is also making a shift towards greener standards under the new President Christine Lagarde: instead of untargeted quantitative expansion, the ECB will impose sustainability requirements when up buying bonds.
According to the report, ecological farming with (much) fewer animals not only solves the nitrogen crisis, but it would also provide a solution for other persistent problems caused by intensive livestock farming, such as problems with the climate agreement, fine particles, odour nuisance, Q fever, water pollution and deforestation.
Link to the original report of Ecorys/Greenpeace https://storage.googleapis.com/planet4-netherlands-stateless/2020/01/797...
Article in the Dutch newspaper Trouw about the report https://www.trouw.nl/binnenland/greenpeace-weet-wel-hoe-nederland-uit-de...
Eosta - with Nature & More as a consumer brand and transparency system - was founded in 1990 and over the past 30 years has developed into a European market leader in organic fruit and vegetables. Eosta is known for sustainability campaigns such as The True Cost of Food, Natural Branding (in collaboration with laser specialist Laser Food), Dr. Goodfood and Save Our Soils. In 2018 the company was awarded the King Willem I Plaquette for Sustainable Entrepreneurship and the European Business Award for the Environment. See also www.eosta.com and www.natureandmore.com.
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Monique Mooij, Eosta
T: +31 6 117 443 86