A breeder’s corporate social responsibility in practice in Uganda
For its employees, breeding company Royal Van Zanten is a true pioneer in the field of human capital. Having been presented with the Silver Award for Export Companies last year, and with its wide range of social facilities, this employer is an important pillar in Ugandan society in the regions where its production locations operate. In addition to providing fair wages, the organisation is investing in healthcare, transport and training for its employees.

Sports as a unifying factor
Sports are forging the organisation, its employees and the local population into a real community. This makes sports training sessions and games invaluable for the internal sense of community, motivation, health and the connection with the local living environment of Royal Van Zanten’s cutting production locations. In Uganda, football, volleyball and tennis are forging a company community that also includes its local community. 

Social impact provided by breeder gives local community both security and opportunities
Employees are receiving financial advice and assistance in managing their money. Helping employees save is enabling them to buy their own land or build a house. The employer is also offering small loans that employees can use to realise a dream like starting their own business. One employee, for example, started her own design company and is now producing beautiful designs and printed matter. Her talents are being realised more than ever, and she is using her profits to pay the school tuition for her nephews. She is also providing the Dutch cutting producer’s employees with printed T-shirts and sportswear.

Environment
A look at its propagation facilities hones in on important sustainable certifications such as MPS GAP, ABC level 1 and Socially Qualified in practice.

Environmentally-friendly cultivation
In addition to traceability of trade, safety of employees and hygiene, environmentally-friendly cultivation is an important aspect at the production locations in Kampala and Wakiso. In the greenhouses, scouts check the crops thoroughly for insects, fungi and viruses which is carried out per cultivation area, one by one, six days a week. Based on the overall condition of the Chrysanthemum or Celosia crops and the presence of harmful organisms, an extremely targeted crop protection program is made. This cultivation approach – in particular the implementation of the specific crop protection method – makes Royal Van Zanten a leader in sustainability. In line with its focus on biodiversity, the organisation also places great emphasis on the so-called Integrated Pest Management (IPM): a method in which sustainable and environmentally-friendly cultivation is a major pillar.

No waste
The plastic waste stream from Royal Van Zanten has also been reduced to zero. A local entrepreneur turns the used plastic from the propagation facilities into sustainable building materials. Working together with the local community and simultaneously recycling materials is proving fruitful.

Werken bij Royal Van Zanten

Working at Royal Van Zanten

“Growers are increasingly having to contend with diseases and pests as a result of changes in production methods or the banning of environmentally hazardous pesticides. By responding promptly to new diseases, I have been able to get to grips more easily with troublesome chrysanthemum and lily viruses."

Bas Brandwagt, Phytopathologist

“At our lab in Rijsenhout I work with a team of researchers on improving varieties by means of quality controls, new germination techniques and DNA research.”

Wim Rook, Head of Laboratory

“The great thing about working for Royal Van Zanten is that I get the chance to bring together the interests of the growers, the trade and the breeders, and everyone forms part of the development and the sales process. Working together in the supply chain is hugely important for the future.”

Jeroen Meeder, Area Export Manager Pot plants

“Royal Van Zanten has given me the opportunity to take courses and qualify as a breeder. I’ve been a breeder for five years now and I’m beginning to see the first results of my labour... and I’m very proud of them."

Dave Geerlings, Potchrysanthemum Breeder

“I am proud of our new pot Bouvardia – an elegant plant from our own ‘breeding kitchen’ with lots of ornamental qualities. Developed in conjunction with our partner grower, this pot plant is now available in four separate colours.”

Harry van Straaten, Team Leader, Breeding

“Breeding is teamwork, and besides assessing selections and choosing varieties that go on to win awards, I get to travel between the Netherlands, Kenya and Columbia to obtain the best results for our Alstroemeria range.”

Wim Haytink, Alstroemeria Breeder

“I really enjoy working for Royal Van Zanten because of the many flowers and plants here. After a few years in the Gladiolus department, I have now been working in the Lily breeding department for three years. Even without specialist training, Royal Van Zanten is giving me plenty of opportunities to grow.”

Adriaan Zweemer, Assistant Breeder
Bas Brandwagt, Phytopathologist
Wim Rook, Head of Laboratory
Jeroen Meeder, Area Export Manager Pot plants
Dave Geerlings, Potchrysanthemum Breeder
Harry van Straaten, Team Leader, Breeding
Wim Haytink, Alstroemeria Breeder
Adriaan Zweemer, Assistant Breeder