Better Agriculture: How GNT is building a greener approach to crop cultivation

Sustainability is key to making GNT fit for the future. We create EXBERRY® Coloring Foods from fruits, vegetables, and plants and know that sustainable agriculture is the only way we can ensure the long-term supply of our raw materials.

We’re a vertically integrated food color manufacturer and monitor the entire supply chain in the majority of cases, from the seeds used to the cultivation and harvesting of raw materials, all the way through to finished products. This puts us in a strong position to ensure the crops are grown as sustainably as possible. In addition, around 80% of the crops come from fields located within approximately 200 km (or 125 miles) of our factories.

Targets for 2030

Nonetheless, we know that we can do more to boost sustainability. As such, we’ve created an ambitious sustainability roadmap for 2030 that covers four key pillars – better products, better operations, better agriculture, and better for people. Our better agriculture strategy contains three targets:

  • Enroll all current and newly contracted farmers on sustainable agriculture training programs
  • Implement ten biodiversity projects
  • Implement five social livelihood projects along our supply chain

Sustainability schemes

At present, 60% of our contract farmers are trained in sustainable agriculture practices and we plan to hit 100% by 2030. This means that all those growing black or orange carrots, radishes, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, or turmeric will have achieved certification through Global G.A.P. (or an equivalent scheme), FSA (minimum bronze), or both. The schemes will support best practice on topics including biodiversity, soil health, water management, integrated pest management, economic practices, and health and safety.

Boosting biodiversity

We’re also introducing ten biodiversity projects to support natural ecosystems and promote high yields over the long-term. A healthy agricultural ecosystem offers greater resilience against challenges such as extreme weather events and plant disease.

Our biodiversity projects will focus predominantly on creating thriving habitats for nature within our European supply chains. From 2023 onwards, we will establish annual flower meadows, away from cropland, to provide a habitat for insects and small mammals in 5% of our Dutch, German, and Belgian growing areas. Furthermore, we will adjust crop rotation and include additional catch crops in our radish and carrot cultivation. Catch crops are grown to utilize nutrients during winter or after the growing season. This can protect nutrients from being washed away and can even fix nitrogen from the air. Growing these crops will provide permanent vegetation, improve the soil structure, and support biodiversity. In combination with flowering strips, they will also create a window for ground-nesting birds to breed undisturbed in the field.

We will also support projects to improve livelihoods across our sourcing areas globally. This will include work to train farmers so that they can carry out their work more effectively and sustainably.

To find out more about GNT’s ambitious targets, read the company’s ‘Sustainability Report 2021’ now.