a.s.r., Rabobank and Vitens to join forces for a better soil management
a.s.r., Rabobank and Vitens intend to jointly develop a dynamic soil label in order to contribute to healthy farms, preservation of the value of agricultural land and affordable groundwater extraction. The parties recently signed a letter of intent to this effect.
Vitens, the largest water company in the Netherlands, Rabobank, the leading food and agri bank and a.s.r., insurer and the largest private agricultural landowner in the Netherlands, have a common interest that they will work towards: improving the soil for healthy agriculture. In doing so, the initiators are responding to the appeal by Minister Schouten of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality in her Soil Letter to the Lower House to manage our soil in a more sustainable way.
Such a label, in the style of the energy label for homes, gives agricultural entrepreneurs much better insight into the soil they use and how they can manage it more efficiently and sustainably. The label can be a means of offering financial benefits to farmers who deal with their soil in a sustainable manner. For example by offering more favourable interest rates to farmers who demonstrably manage their soil better, rewarding more sustainable soil management through EU agricultural subsidies and through access to impact investors whose prime considerations are investments with a social purpose.
The initiators a.s.r., Rabobank and Vitens had already previously investigated the possibility of a soil label. The dynamic soil label that the parties have in mind proved to be perfectly possible. However, more data from more relevant parties is needed. For example, the parties who have already developed an initiative for improving the soil. Vitens, a.s.r. and Rabobank are now joining forces to develop a dynamic soil label in which the expertise and data from all relevant parties come together. The initiators are now also calling on other parties to help develop the soil label. This autumn, the initiators will organise a meeting with all existing and new parties. The aim is to achieve a truly dynamic soil label with all the available knowledge and data.
Jelle Hannema, CEO of drinking water company Vitens: “Together with our partners, we are working on achieving a clean living environment. In this context, we consider good cooperation with the agricultural sector to be very important. We do not have to purify everything that does not end up in our groundwater sources anyway. This initiative will enable us to keep our supply of drinking water affordable.”
Dick van den Oever, Director of Landelijk Vastgoed (rural real estate) at a.s.r.: “It fits in with a.s.r.’s tradition as land investor to invest in something that has perpetual value. We lease the land we own to farmers for a protracted period and it is in both our interests to use it sustainably. In light of this, we have welcomed this initiative.”
Ruud Huirne, Director of Rabobank Food & Agri: “The soil label is an important instrument in helping agriculture to become more sustainable. In this way we can help farmers who consciously opt for farming in a different way. This is important for the level of support in society for the sector. Moreover, it also benefits these farmers themselves, because the measures we take are good for their own soil.”