Although we had hoped that the effects of COVID-19 would remain confined to 2020, we saw that 2021 continued to be dominated by the global pandemic. That placed great demands on our subsidiaries and all our employees, as it was simply impossible to return to the ‘old normal’. However we look at it, our world appears to be subject to major changes. In the Netherlands, we are firmly in the grip of the nitrogen crisis. We often say that the chain is our strength. However, we are well aware that the chain is vulnerable right now.
In spite of the challenges that we saw in 2021 and are still seeing now, we managed to remain loyal to our principles and do business in a responsible way; by being resilient. Anyone who walks into a bookshop or searches online for an appealing management book frequently comes across the word ‘resilient’. Not only literature, but also daily practice, shows that any time we are faced with times of uncertainty, risk or loss, we are simultaneously presented with the opportunity to learn from it. We see that we can make use of adversity to apply new working methods, routines or behaviour, or to take it on board as wise lessons. Resilient people or organisations accept facts and situations that they cannot change and are simultaneously solution-oriented, can improvise and don’t look back too often.
Although we are not very aware of it, resilience forms an integral part of our identity. In spite of setbacks, such as temporary closures of a few subsidiaries in 2021, lockdowns and major uncertainties in the market as a result of rising raw material, transport and energy prices, we have been able to take positive action. In 2021, the takeover of Van Dam Beheer b.v. was approved and there has been continuous investment in the quality improvement of the organisation. However, at the same time we are very worried about the prospects for the agricultural sector in the Netherlands. That is due to the nitrogen policy that was presented by the Rutte IV cabinet. In our view, the basic principles of this policy are not sound and we are seeing the major impact on agricultural entrepreneurs and the countryside. We will continue fighting for a sound and sustainable future for the farming sector in the Netherlands.
Such a sustainable sector does however mean that you have to continue developing. In this CSR report, we show our actions and results for our strategic pillars: our market position, food safety, animal health and welfare, sustainability and good employment practices.
At the same time, we seize the opportunity to look ahead, because how will we develop adaptive strategies as an organisation in order to rise to challenges and secure the continuity of our family business? At present, we are working hard to make our sustainability performance more transparent. That way, we want to account for our ecological contribution even better and more transparently, both in a positive and negative sense.
I want to thank our customers, suppliers and cooperation partners for their collaboration with the VanDrie Group in 2021. I also want to express my thanks to my colleagues for their tireless efforts and hard work in difficult circumstances. We will continue unabated with our strategic efforts and focus on improvement, quality and innovation at the VanDrie Group in the coming years. This ability, supported by the resilience and flexibility of the organisation, will help to make a valuable impact on sustainable livestock farming and the animal protein chain in which the VanDrie Group is active. In this way, we will continue adding value for customers, veal farmers, employees and the other stakeholders with which we collaborate.
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I hope you enjoy reading this report.
Director Corporate Affairs
30 June 2022