Gamechangerz in Food ESG in practice

5 January 2024

5 January 2024

On December 7, the 11th edition of Gamechangerz in Food took place, focusing on ESG and CSRD. It was an interactive breakfast session where participants were able to listen to inspiring presentations from GfK, Royal A-ware, BDO and Verstegen over a delicious breakfast. The presentations were followed by round table sessions where participants could share their own experiences and perspectives on the topic.

The first presentation was by Milan Peeters, Teamlead Advanced Solutions at GfK, who was able to tell us all about sustainability and the consumer. According to Milan, there is a growing group of people in the Netherlands who are concerned about the environment and are taking action on it. In addition, Dutch people feel that producers have the most important responsibility in reducing environmental damage, remarkably more than, say, the government or retailers. Despite a large group spending more money to buy sustainable, price is still currently a barrier to choosing sustainable products more often for 62% of European consumers.

During the roundtable session on this topic, we raised the question of whether it is possible to explain a higher price for more sustainable products to consumers. It appeared that participants felt that current differences within a category cannot always be justified. Legislation and fair rules would help make the playing field for durable items attractive.

Then Corine Kroft of Royal A-Ware took the floor and explained to us how a milk flow strategy was successfully implemented. By translating consumer demand from the retailer into concrete milk needs and finding farmers to match, Royal A-ware brings players together to set up a profitable chain for specific types of milk. This chain collaboration has been achieved through a long-term focus with long-term partnerships, making chains shorter, more efficient and sustainable.

In discussing this topic, we wondered whether in an ESG strategy financial interests of stakeholders often take precedence over social interests. The conclusion around the table was that financial performance tends to continue to guide decision-making. However, social costs are expected to be increasingly tangibly included in the business case, both in the long and short term.

From a different perspective, Gijsbert Bruijnes of BDO also took the floor. He indicated that the CSRD legislation is a major challenge for companies and that failure to comply can result in an economic crime, with the expectation now being that many companies will have great difficulty getting their affairs in order.

The tip he conveyed to participants was that, above all, you need to get started pragmatically with CSRD and, in addition, ensure that dual materiality is completed in the first half of 2024. Doing this analysis is art and not an exact science. Name 3-5 themes to work on and make a plan to collect the data with the right quality. The participants also realized that they need more time, but that it is important not to wait any longer and just start this “marathon.

Marianne from Verstegen closed the morning with an inspiring video on nutmeg, an ESG initiative. In it, they explained how they make the chain transparent in a smart way, working with farmers in a fair way. It is a great example of how the chain can work together, where all stakeholders can realize benefits. During the discussion on this topic, participants found that ESG chain collaboration encourages transparency and common goals and standards. However, they found that its success depends on equality and interests between parties.

Conclusion of the morning:

Most participants have already made nice strides in putting ESG and CSRD into practice, but there are also plenty of companies that are still struggling. Collaboration and commitment ultimately make the difference. Implementing CSRD is a marathon, one that you had better start quickly, rather than wait and see. Seek out chain partners as well as industry peers and realize that it is not an exact science.

Next Gamechangerz

This edition was the last of 2023 and preparations are underway for Gamechangerz in 2024! The next edition is for the retail industry and will take place Jan. 31 at Meta Benelux Headquarters. The topic is “Human versus Tech” and the focus will be on the role of Tech in the retail landscape.

Don’t want to miss this? Then send an email to