Podcast: How Rabobank is growing a better world together

Every week, Harm Edens of BNR radio interviews internal and external experts on why a bank is aiming to build a better world. In this first podcast, he speaks to Stefan Wink, Brand Strategist at Rabobank.

Rabobank has promised to tackle the food security question. Worldwide. Stefan Wink, Brand Strategist at the bank, agrees that this promise is nothing if not ambitious.

“It’s important to realise that it isn’t a matter of Rabobank solving everything on its own,” he says. “We are tackling food security side by side with our partners. We’ve explicitly asked our clients to work with us.

“Following an internal reorganization, the time was right to come out with a new message, a new worldwide mission. That mission is ‘Growing a better world togther’. In fact, working with and for farmers is something we’ve been committed to for decades. We are known around the world as the bank for the agrifood (F&A) sector. That might be why the ‘Growing a better world campaign’ has been so well received. We have had a lot of positive interest, from large F&A firms in China, to NGO’s, to people who want to work for us on the mission.

“We are ideally placed to connect parties along the supply chain”

- Stefan Wink, Brand Strategist at Rabobank

“We are dividing the journey towards food security into small steps. And we need to show how Rabobank can add value: we have clients throughout the supply chain, which means we are ideally placed to connect different parties. In fact, the whole supply chain needs to be involved to make sure issues are dealt with thoroughly.

“Kickstart Food is our umbrella program. We want to speed up progress on food security by sharing clients’ best practices with others in the sector around the world.

The Kickstart Food foursome

“Kickstart Food is made up of four strands. Kickstart Earth focuses on agricultural land. After all, the earth will have another two billion people to feed by 2050. We need to do that without further soil depletion or deforestation. We already have some great examples. For instance, one of our clients has a project in Brazil that shows farmers that they can actually grow more if they rotate their crops. Now we need to scale-up initatives like this and bring them to other countries.

“Kickstart Waste, the second strand, is designed to reduce food waste. A third - some 90 billion euros worth - of food is wasted per year around the world. Two-thirds of that is on the production side, and the other third by consumers. That has an enormous impact and will take decades to resolve. We are working with all sorts of stakeholders, including the packaging industry, farmers and consumers, to reduce it.

Towards a fairer supply chain

“We aim to reduce uncertainty in the supply chain through Kickstart Stability. We want to make the supply chain fairer, because some parties, like small farmers, tend to earn very little. We are also looking at things like succession – who inherits the farms when this generation retires - which is an issue in many countries.

“Kickstart Nutrition is all about ensuring more people have access to the nutrients they need, which is crucial for good health. Again, it is a question of rebalancing. In the western world we have an over-supply, as exemplified by child obesity. In developing countries people lack knowledge of what nutritious food is and we want to help provide that.

“No-one can act on their own any longer”

- Stefan Wink, Brand Strategist at Rabobank

“We are all part of the same planet. Problems like climate change affect everyone because they are interwoven with migration and other social issues. No-one can act on their own any longer and in any case, no-one can achieve anything on their own. It all comes back to ‘Growing a better world together’.

Local matters

“In the Netherlands, the mission encompasses three more programs: self-suffiency as the state reduces its contribution to educational and pension expenses; building strong local communities – what can we all do to build a better a better world on our doorstep; and entrepreneurship. We want to ensure small and medium-sized companies keep growing by investing in innovation and new possibilities. We are also the largest start-up bank in the Netherlands. Wouldn’t it be something if we could prompt all start-ups to contribute to the food security question?

Achieving change together

“We can do a lot by sharing our knowledge, networks and financial musle, but we cannot achieve our mission on our own. Our aim is to be a catalyst and work with others to create real change.”

Click here to see the ‘Growing a better world together’ video commercial.

This article is based on the first podcast in a weekly series on Rabobank’s ‘Growing a better world together’ mission. The original podcast is available in Dutch.