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Industry leaders create unique connections on Power Day

Tuesday, 27 June 2023

The Power Day during GreenTech Amsterdam brought industry leaders together for an inspiring and connecting programme. The main goal of this event was to combine knowledge and power to create unique connections and provocative discussions, but also to start a platform where participants can find each other for picking the low-hanging fruits for a sustainable future.

The participants of the Power Day at GreenTech were challenged in creative sessions to make new connections with other industry leaders, throughout the production chain. They were encouraged to think outside the box by looking at the sector in a different way, becoming aware of the importance of collaboration and getting to know each other and each other's field better. What are the things to work on for the future and what inspiring ideas can you already pick up today?

Creating new value
The kick-off was provided by Peter Maes, Chief Strategy Officer at Koppert. Greenhouse horticulture is in transition and it requires sustainable leadership to maintain its position. “We are facing major challenges: what does that mean for us and horticulture in terms of sustainability?”, he wondered. According to Maes, it is better to step in now than to be forced. There are challenges in the areas of biodiversity, emissions, food safety and food security, crop protection, economy and politics and society and they require new coalitions and cooperation models. “The sector must therefore reinvent itself and create new value.” 

Kim Schotborgh, Exhibition Manager - GreenTech Global said: “To meet the demand of our target group, we needed to do something different, something new. A side event for a specific group of people where new connections were created with an interactive character. The slogan of the event: Dare to color outside the lines!

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It’s all about storytelling
The inspiration sessions hosted by high-level moderators and co-organized by Peter Klapwijk (2Harvest) focused on the themes: Energy & Climate – Marit Nieboer (Movemeant); Water, Substrates & Nutrients – Sjoerd Nieboer (Beanstalk); Plant Health & Resilience – Jolanda Heistek (Greenport West Holland); Labour & Robotics - Maren Schoormans (Honest Agtech); Greenhouses and Logistics & Supply Chain. An important conclusion after the sessions: it's all about storytelling. Be transparent in the chain, but also towards politics and society. Let’s go through some more observations and recommendations from the various sessions:

ENERGY & CLIMATE: The challenge with 'Climate & Energy' is to get the story across the stage: towards consumers and politicians. Involve people in energy and climate-neutral cultivation, show what is already happening, and don't just get stuck in your own bubble. An important topic in this is true pricing: a fair price for a fair product. Tell the story with a positive attitude. That's the basis, that's where it starts.

PLANT HEALTH & RESILIENCE: This theme is also mainly about storytelling. Greenhouse horticulture is pre-eminently the sector that can produce fresh and healthy food for a healthy lifestyle. But how do we get that in the mind of the consumer? Knowledge and education are crucial in this, as is the role of the government in stimulating a healthy way of life. The story must also include biology and technology: solutions for sustainable cultivation in the future.

GREENHOUSES: What is the purpose of greenhouses in the world? That was the main question during this table discussion. A greenhouse is actually a mix of high-tech, scale, a sustainable ways of growing good food and efficiency. In parts of the world, greenhouses are too far from the consumer: get food more to the region, without losing sight of its affordability. Another focus is knowledge. Where else do you learn to be a horticulturist? Make knowledge and education widely accessible to growers worldwide.

LOGISTICS & SUPPLY CHAIN: What is the pain and gain in the value chain? Growers often maintain connections with their customers/suppliers but forget to look further down the chain. Intrinsic collaboration is necessary to understand what is happening in the entire chain. This can be done by looking for new connections. Once those connections are there, the next step is to exchange data. Inspire retail with your product, so that it can distinguish itself towards its end customer.

LABOUR & ROBOTICS: Labour is becoming a problem, both in terms of availability and affordability. Robotics is a good solution to take over part of the work. Nevertheless, there is still a need for people, but with different knowledge and skills. It is important that data and expertise are shared. That is not obvious everywhere in the world. In addition, robotics and artificial intelligence require a lot of energy and computing power. To what extent will that energy be available in the future?

WATER, SUBSTRATES & NUTRIENTS: If we want to talk about sustainable production, a major challenge lies in the economical use of water and nutrients. That’s not something to achieve with the 10 percent of high-tech companies, but more with the 90 percent mid- and low-tech companies. By facilitating these companies to use their resources more efficiently, better results can be achieved. Also, ensure a balance of the ecosystem in the horticultural business. Technical innovations can help with this.   

Themes for 2024
GreenTech Amsterdam looks back on a constructive meeting, with interesting findings. The takeaways from the table discussions serve as the themes for the next edition, says Mariska Dreschler, Director Horticulture – GreenTech Global. “The Power Day is an inspirational event for the future, in which the value of new, creative connections becomes increasingly important for industry leaders.” 


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