12 October 2017 — Volkert Engelsman, founding director of fresh organic importer and distributor Eosta, has been awarded top place in the annual Dutch Sustainability Top-100 list compiled by daily newspaper Trouw. Recognising the Dutch entrepreneur as “a greengrocer with a radical vision,” the list jury acknowledged Engelsman’s pioneering leadership in the field of sustainable food and farming, specifically in True Cost Accounting.
Founding director of Eosta – the organic produce importer and distributor – leads list of Neth-erland’s Top 100 sustainable companies
Eosta, based in the Netherlands, was founded by Engelsman in 1990 as a distributor of fresh organic fruits and vegetables. With 100 employeessuppliers across six continents and customers in Europe, the US and the Far East, it’s now a leading organic specialist in Europe. Since 2016, Engelsman has been active in promoting True Cost Accounting as a pathway to sustainability, giving speeches at congresses and think-tank events worldwide. True Cost Accounting is a new form of bookkeeping that makes the true price of food production visible, including environ-mental, social and health impacts.
The jury especially appreciated Engelsmans commitment to making True Cost practical, by bringing the numbers to store shelves in Europe, and putting hidden costs on organic apples, pears and other products.
Engelsman used his acceptance speech to call for new partnerships in the sustainable move-ment, especially in the finance sector. He said: “Many financial institutions are starting to real-ise that there is something wrong with our definition of ‘profit,’ if it results in the destruction of our natural habitat and makes life miserable for 90% of humanity, including our children’s children.
“As a movement we need to help financial institutions such as banks, accounting firms and institutional investors to start making better choices. The main flow of capital is still being driv-en by an outdated profit definition, which is basically killing the planet.”
New profit definition
Thanking Eosta's partners in its recent True Cost Accounting campaign, which included the FAO, WHO, NCC, Triodos Bank, EY and Soil & More, Engelsman stressed the need for a new profit definition that includes human and ecological values.
“There's nothing wrong with profit, but you have to calculate it fairly,” he argued. “Don't swin-dle yourself into profitability by averting costs to future generations..”
Engelsman also highlighted the good work being done by Eosta's organic farmers and growers worldwide, who “put sustainability into practice every day by improving soil fertility, guarding biodiversity, sequestering soil carbon, improving social conditions and producing healthier products.”
True Cost of Food
In June 2017, Eosta published a report about True Cost Accounting, which aimed to
calculate the impact of its business on natural (planet) and social capital (people). One of the first companies worldwide to publish such calculations, Eosta looked at the natural and social impacts per kilogram of product as part of the pilot study, and consolidated the numbers for the company as a whole.
This resulted in a practical dashboard for investors to assess impacts on financial,
natural and social capital. The report was presented in Stockholm to Peter Bakker,
president of World Business Council for Sustainable Development, and in Wales to HRH Prince Charles.
Eosta and its flagship brand Nature & More have presented numerous sustainable
campaigns and innovations in recent years. In 2017, Eosta received international press coverage for its Natural Branding technique, which involves marking organic fruits and vegetables with laser technology in order to save plastic packaging.
Eosta was also at the forefront of the international Save Our Soils campaign – supported by Julia Roberts and the Dalai Lama – the same year. Other projects involve working with open-pollinated vegetable varieties, pro-active health care and local social projects in cooperation with growers.