Two new members joined the MPS Board of Experts (BoE) on 11 May 2021: Lan van Wassenaer and Ronald van Marrewijk. They both have ‘something’ with sustainability. Van Marrewijk: “I think it is important that we deal with the planet more consciously, because we cannot burden our children and grandchildren with this.”
MPS and MPS-ECAS both have a Board of Experts who have a say in the development, management, policy and requirements of the MPS standards. It is therefore an advisory body to the MPS board: it ensures that the standards are aligned with daily practice. Decisions taken by the Board of Experts are ratified by the Board. The members of the BoE also ensure that social support is created for the certification standards.
Van Wassenaer and Van Marrewijk have both joined the MPS Board of Experts. Van Wassenaer has also joined the MPS-ECAS Board of Experts. As of 27 May 2021, Maartje Vullings has also joined the MPS-ECAS Board of Experts.
Awareness about behaviour
Ronald van Marrewijk guides growers in obtaining a certificate and has been a grower for 27 years. In 2012 he graduated in agricultural business administration at the HAS in Delft. He therefore brings a lot of practical experience with him. According to Van Marrewijk, environmental certification raises awareness among chain parties. “I hope that entrepreneurs become more aware of their behaviour towards the environment. Moreover, certification contributes to improving the conditions for employees.” Van Marrewijk will regularly speak with growers to guide them with certifications, sharing his knowledge from practice and taking a practical look at the certification rules.
Lan van Wassenaer practices a completely different sport: she studied environmental biology and agricultural economics and obtained her PhD on the subject of ‘decision-making in crises’. After her PhD at Wageningen University in 2008, she started working at Wageningen Economic Research (formerly LEI) as a senior researcher, where she focuses on risk and information management in agrifood. She also fulfills the role of Strategic Senior Scientist in which she contributes ideas about topics that are important to stakeholders in agri-food chains. Within the BoE, Van Wassenaer will mainly focus on digitisation (data and automation) and governance arrangements.
“Certification contributes to making the chain more sustainable by translating the ambitions of entrepreneurs into concrete objectives”, says Van Wassenaer. According to her, making sustainability performance visible and measurable through certification improves the position of products. “I also think it is important that information about sustainability is properly recorded and ultimately translated into the price of a product. I think it is important that the administrative burden for entrepreneurs is limited.”
Van Marrewijk mainly sees challenges in circular horticulture with which major steps can be taken towards further sustainability. “There are many initiatives, such as geothermal energy, but major steps still need to be taken.” He himself has a heat pump and solar panels at home. “Awareness about your behaviour is important so that we leave the planet in good shape.”