Pillar 1 - Environmental stewardship

Improvement of logistics
and packaging

Local for local cultivation in Europe

How do we limit the transport kilometres for propagating material and potatoes? This question is high on our agenda. We aim to produce as much as possible locally. In 2014/2015 HZPC produced more than 17,500 ha of seed potatoes in Europe. 70% of this production took place in the Netherlands.

HZPC has 5 seed potato producing countries in Europe, not including the Netherlands. 74% of seed potatoes sold in these countries were locally produced five years ago. We want to increase this percentage. This is why we incorporate local for local cultivation. In specific terms this means that in the UK, France, Germany, Poland and Finland, HZPC cultivates seed potatoes locally for the local market, because these countries are HZPC production locations. In other words, cultivate close to home, where the consumer's market is. This local for local strategy means that transport kilometres are limited for seed potatoes.

However, export to the surrounding countries will always continue to take place from the Netherlands. This is true because a number of these producing countries will continue to show a demand for high-quality seed potatoes from the Netherlands. These seed potatoes will be multiplied  in the relevant country, for several years. After this period they are released onto the local market for the production of ware potatoes. Sometimes clients also have a preference for Dutch origin. In that case export from the Netherlands is the only option.

Export to other countries in Europe, the Middle East and Africa mostly occurs from the Netherlands.

Share of seed potatoes produced locally, of the overall seed potatoes sold in European producing countries (outside of the Netherlands):

2009/2010 2010/2011 2011/2012 2012/2013 2013/2014 2014/2015 2015/2016
75% 74% 78% 79% 80% 81% 82%

Optimisation of transport of seed potatoes

HZPC provides partial transport of seed potatoes. The task of distributing seed potatoes is based in the Netherlands. The seed potatoes are exported around the world from various distribution centres. For this reason, more transport movements take place in the Netherlands compared to other countries. The challenge is to arrange the logistics as efficiently as possible in order to limit the number of transport movements.

Transport by truck has an impact on the environment and is costly. Fewer trucks on the road contribute to better traffic flow. This is why we use the inland waterways more frequently. More than 1,710 containers (carrying 25 tonnes of potatoes per container) were transported by water to the ports of Velsen and Rotterdam in the period 2014/15. Water transport has delivered a CO2 reduction of 1.0 mln. kg (-38%) compared with road transport.

Use of sustainable packaging

We talk to our suppliers regarding their sustainability efforts. Packaging companies represent an important group of suppliers. Each year a large volume of jute bags are used for the packaging of seed potatoes. These are mostly 50 kg and 25 kg bags. Jute is a natural product which has been used successfully for many years for the packaging of seed potatoes. It ensures conservation of the seed potatoes' quality during transport and storage. An important advantage of jute is that it is a natural product and is 100% biodegradable.

The jute that is used for the production of potato bags originates from Bangladesh for the most part. The producers of jute bags that HZPC does business with are working on improving the sustainability of the local production of jute. Read more about our suppliers

We use various forms of packaging for seed potatoes

  • 80% jute (100% biodegradable)
  • 15% Big Bags (Polyethylene)
  • 5% loose transport


The pallets we use for transport are made of wood from responsibly managed forests. We have looked into making the transition to returnable, partially reimbursable Euro pallets. This is not possible at present because Euro pallet sizes do not cater to our needs.

The pallets that are shipped to countries in the Middle East or Africa stay there. They are used in those countries for various purposes by local companies and by the population. Return of these pallets is impossible, for phytosanitary reasons.

Big Bags
The vast majority of the Big Bags are reused. We have looked into how we can effectively collect the proportion that are not reused. At present, setting up this infrastructure still seems very complex and inefficient due to the small number of Big Bags.