Sustainability is hot – a subject that is topical today and bound to remain so in the future.
The Belgian fresh fruit and vegetable sector has accordingly charted a future-oriented sustainability plan. Minister-President of the Government of Flanders, Kris Peeters, who also holds the agriculture portfolio, today unveiled the quality label “Responsibly Fresh” at the Fruit Logistica fair in Berlin
Products with this label are produced with attention for a balance between people, planet and profit.
Minister-President of the Government of Flanders, Kris Peeters : "The Flemish fruit and vegetable sector has always been a trendsetter -- a real pioneer. Today they prove that this is still the case. They are leaving crisis year 2011 behind and investing fully in the future."
"With the 'Responsibly Fresh' sustainability label, the sector shows that it is tackling successfully the challenges of 21st century on the economic, ecological and social front."
The efforts of Belgian producers and cooperatives of producers on the sustainability front are to be recognised henceforth thanks to the new quality label Responsibly Fresh. To get this label, producers and cooperatives have to satisfy recognised quality systems as well as specific sustainability conditions.
But the efforts on the sustainability front cannot be captured in a snapshot. It takes a continuous process because sustainability can only be achieved through continuous efforts from producers and auctions, today and in future. Accordingly, the time parameter has been included.
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Responsibly fresh logo
The collective sustainability label comprises the individual progress reports and thus reflects the development of efforts in the sector.
Producers and their cooperatives are inspected by external bodies before the Responsibly Fresh label can be affixed on fruit and vegetables. The Verbond van Belgische Tuinbouwcoöperaties (VBT) [Union of Belgian Horticulture Cooperatives] is the owner of the Responsibly Fresh label and the current participating cooperatives are BFV, Coöbra, LTV, Mechelse Veilingen, REO Veiling, Veiling Borgloon and Veiling Hoogstraten.
The sustainable commitment of the Responsibly Fresh label contributes to a wide assortment of fruit and vegetables that are reliable, of good quality and healthy for consumers today and tomorrow.
To that end, growers opt deliberately for low impact, biodiversity, proximity and food thrift. A description of how producers and cooperatives are to achieve sustainability is provided for each of these themes. A brief overview:
A logo with a story
- 1. Low impact
Growers with the Responsibly Fresh label have an economical approach to soil, energy, water, plant protection agents and fertilisers. They rely on integrated growth with attention to prevention, monitoring and intervention.
- 2. Biodiversity
The participants opt for a varied production and support scientific research for new varieties and growing techniques. In addition to a wide range of new, quality products, this also entails a better environmental quality where diversity is maintained.
- 3. Proximity
The structure of the producers’ cooperatives ensures a short, integrated chain. Both suppliers and customers are in the vicinity, and as a result, there is transparent pricing for producers, one-stop shopping for distributors, and affordable quality for consumers.
- 4. Food thrift
Well thought-out storage techniques, customer-oriented portions and continuous anticipation of the demands and wishes of the market go hand in hand with food thrift. Growers and cooperatives with the Responsibly Fresh label want to bring fruit and vegetables to the consumer’s plate as efficiently as possible in this way.
The new logo reflects various aspects behind the Responsibly Fresh story. First of all, it refers to the round shape of the globe. Fruit and vegetables actually grow from the earth, and in order to continue to do so, the sector looks after this earth.
The letter G is also recognisable in the new logo. It stands for ‘global,’ for ‘green’ and for ‘good citizenship.’
Responsibly Fresh is moreover a label for fresh products, as can be gauged from the leaf in the middle of the letter G; for there are quite a lot of leaves growing in the fruit and vegetable world.
Finally, there is also the colour mix which refers to the rainbow, a phenomenon that occurs when it rains while the sun is shining. And that is what sustainability is all about: combining or striking a balance between seemingly contradictory elements: people, planet and profit.
Responsibly Fresh is a label for all fruit and vegetables of the participating producers’ cooperatives from asparagus to blackcurrants. The logo will be used in combination or integration with existing product labels of the participating cooperatives. It will be affixed on all packaging and replace the former “Green bow” of Environmentally Friendly Cultivation. This indicates that the step to Responsibly fresh is a logical development after a period of environmentally friendly efforts.
For more information: www.responsibly-fresh.com