Green Deal
The EU has the ambition to be the first climate neutral continent by 2050, EU president Ursula von der Leyen and and vice president Green Deal Commissioner Frans Timmermans declared in december 2019. This will happen, as the European Committee plans, "by turning climate and environmental challenges into opportunities across all policy areas and making the transition just and inclusive for all." It's a huge ambition. As soon as it came out, it was criticized for not being very specific on the criteria and metrics. And thus not being specific on the results the spending of €1 trillion of public money breeds on its way till 2050.

Agriculture and Food are an integral part of the Green Deal. In a dedicated chapter called the 'Farm to Fork Strategy' , the goals for the food systems were announced. The Commission will take action to:
  1. reduce by 50% the use and risk of chemical pesticides by 2030
  2. reduce by 50% the use of more hazardous pesticides by 2030
  3. reduce nutrient losses by at least 50%, while ensuring no deterioration on soil fertility
  4. reduce fertilizer use by at least 20% by 2030

Furthermore, the Commission will reduce by 50% the sales of antimicrobials for farmed animals and in aquaculture by 2030. It will boost the development of EU organic farming area with the aim to achieve
(25 % of total farmland) under organic farming by 2030.

It would be a shame if this time we do something and then ten years later realize it was not the right thing to do
Drawing Board
“The Green deal is very important", say Marttin. "If we get the criteria right, we have funds available to get it going. For the Green Deal it is crucial to sit down as an industry and ask ourselves, what do we want to achieve? If we want a carbon neutral Europe, we have to go back to the drawing board. If all of the resources are scarce you have to balance all of them. You need to know what you want and set the criteria right. It would be a shame if this time we do something and then ten years later realize it was not the right thing to do.”

Smart Use
A conversation between business, farmers, academia, governments, and NGO's is absolutely necessary, Marttin explains. The Green Deal is only going to work if those parties gather, create a common understanding, and show the way. Suddenly Marttin says "we need to have a Paris Agreement on Food. To agree on what is right and to choose direction." In order to put the Green Deal money to what he calls 'smart use' according to society's common goals and ambitions, we need to define the changes that will have the biggest impact on reducing our food footprint on nature. Smart use is about making choices and acting on them

Unless we start talking facts instead of frames, Marttin says, that won't happen. An intellectual transition is needed as perceptions of sustainability are unclear and fuzzy or even outright wrong. For example, Marttin doesn't accept the idea of sustainability per unit of weight. The so-called unsustainability of milk versus analogue milk products should be accounted for in terms of nutritional value.

Berry Marttin, Rabobank
Berry Marttin has been with Rabobank since 1990. As an Executive Board member he is responsible for the bank's international food and agri strategy. He joined the bank as a management trainee, shortly after completing his degree in business administration in Brazil. During his years at Rabobank, he gained extensive experience as an international banker, both in wholesale and retail banking business.