A 1st for both VDE Plant and Greenhouse Sustainability

April marked not one but two celebrations around sustainability in the agri chain! VDE Plant, grower and breeder of tropical and air-puryifying plants, made an exciting announcement during the Horti Footprint Chain Program event. The organisation has concretised its Carbon Footprint, the details of which are publicly available in the Certifeye Wallet.

This makes VDE Plant the first member of the Certifeye platform to post its Carbon Footprint data to the Certifeye Wallet. The announcement also comes as a first for Greenhouse Sustainability, an organisation that has been working diligently to identify and reduce the environmental impact of companies. In collaboration with VDE Plant, they have now issued a Carbon Footprint statement and made it available as a shareable uniform declaration document in the Certifeye Wallet for the very first time.

VDE Plant has no secrets

Sustainability is of paramount importance to VDE Plant, which is reflected by the publicly sharing of the environmental impact of their products. The 16 categories included in Greenhouse Sustainability’s “Declaration Footprint Calculation” are made publicly available in the organisation’s Certifeye Wallet. This Wallet can be accessed from within the application, but also through a QR code printed on their products that allows for users outside of the platform to view the declaration. This is in line with Greenhouse Sustainability’s mission statement: “No words, but actions”. By making all sustainability information available, VDE Plant will be able to demonstrate how they are progressing down the path towards sustainability over the years.

One CO2 size to fit all?

Greenhouse Sustainability has been active in the agricultural sector for years, helping organisations calculate the impact of their operations on the world around us. This benefits not only the participating companies, but also their customers, since the information about their suppliers allow them to make informed choices about the sustainability of their chains.

Greenhouse Sustainability’s 1st lies in the standardisation of these calculations. Thanks to the declaration, which from now on can also be placed in the Certifeye Wallet, the CO2 impact of products can be seen in a glance. The calculation method of this tool corresponds to the so-called Flori-PEFCR. These are the European calculation rules for determining, for example, the carbon footprint.

For now, this declaration is based on information provided by the party being investigated. The next step: a Carbon Footprint certification based on externally verified data.

We look forward to seeing what the future of standardisation of environmental impact will bring. Are you also interested in this topic? Contact us at info@certifeye.com, and we will be happy to think along with you.

Greenhouse Sustainability, Certifeye, and the future of the Carbon Footprint

Naturally, we are keeping an eye on developments. Together with, among others, Greenhouse Sustainability, we are looking at how we can easily present the information about a Carbon Footprint using the Certifeye Wallet. The wallet growers can already use to easily share Certificates with their trading partners. 

Certificates Versus Data 

In fact, a Carbon Footprint does not differ much from a certificate. It has assessment guidelines and calculation rules, which are based on the European Flori Product Environmental Category Rules (FloriPEFCR). You could compare such a calculation with the results of a certification audit, as those results are then documented in a report. Then, there is proof the calculation has been performed in a presentable format, which can be seen as a certificate.  

Full Control Over Who Can See Your Data 

We ensure that both the certificates and results of a Carbon Footprint calculation can be stored in the Wallet and, if necessary and desired, shared with trading partners. When it comes to the sharing process, we have a very clear policy: the owner of the information is the one who decides who is allowed to see what. If, when entering a contract with a customer, you determine that that customer may have insights into your obtained certificates, you can easily arrange this in your Certifeye Wallet. Of course, this does not mean that everyone can see this information. Only those to whom access has been granted can see it. The same applies to the Carbon Footprint and all other documents you upload into your Certifeye Wallet. 

Using the Wallet to display certificates and/or the Carbon Footprint has the advantage that you do not have to wait for a request from your customers. As soon as you receive a new version of a document, you easily place it in the Wallet and all customers you have given permission to are immediately informed of this update. That saves quite a bit of e-mail traffic. 

In the coming period, there is plenty to do regarding the different aspects of certification and of course the Carbon Footprint. We closely observe all regulations and adjust our platform where necessary. 

Do you have any ideas or experiences you would like to share with us concerning the topic of certification and other types of compliance documentation? We would love to hear from you! Please contact us at info@certifeye.com. We are always open to breaking new ground when it benefits our users’ supply chains. 

Will Certification be Redundant in the Future?

Technology is developing faster and faster, and this makes it possible for new applications thereof to become reality. If you combine different technological applications, you can collect data that you no longer have to verify, if the technology that has been applied is proven suitable. This is an interesting topic for a discussion on the future of certification within the agribusiness sector.

On January 19th we had a meeting in cooperation with the Wageningen University and Research (WUR), welcoming visitors from various sectors of the agribusiness. There was representation from flowers, flower bulbs, food, animal feed, and certifying bodies. We are exploring the possibility of a so-called PPP, a public-private partnership in the field of innovation.

The introduction was given by Mr. Koos van der Meij, affiliated with the WUR. The intelligent sprayer was used as an example and is equipped with four different technologies. First, an optical scanner for crop recognition, a GPS system to determine location and area, a volume meter to determine the amount of liquid sprayed and an infrared scanner to determine residues. Combined, this information presents the amount sprayed per area on a given crop. That data can be recorded as validated data  to fulfill required records within an agricultural operation.

This can be called remote viewing and assessment. The increase in different technological applications gives room for other human actions and limits for example the travel of auditors etc. Is this far away? Perhaps, but far away is currently coming closer very quickly. The latter is reason for ManualMaster and Certifeye to be at the forefront of these developments. And what better way is there to do that, than in a consortium of companies that use their knowledge to come up with new applications of existing and developing technology?

Are you interested in thinking along with us? Please get in touch via info@certifeye.com or through our contact form stating PPS Decentralized Validation. Our colleague will contact you as soon as possible.

Global Baskets in Certifeye

Starting with the latest Certifeye release, it is possible to work with so-called baskets. A basket is a collection of certificates in different areas that suppliers may have to deal with, through which they can demonstrate that they meet a certain standard.
An example of this is the FSI Basket of Standards. This is a set of certificates related to three areas of business operations: Good Agricultural Practice (GAP), social, and environment. By placing your certificates on Certifeye, your customers can see at a glance which certificates are available and whether your set of certificates suffices to comply with the FSI Basket. This is particularly useful looking at the enormously diverse landscape of available certificates within the three themes.

How does it work?

The FSI Basket provides a system of logic (based on an and/or construction) that allows the producer to meet the requirements of FSI through different certificates. If the producer uploads a widely known and accepted certificate, he can use it to meet the requirements in, for example, the social theme within FSI. Another producer can do the same with a different certificate, as long as both documents are listed as options in the desired basket.
This feature also makes it easier to give suppliers from at-risk countries a fair chance in assessment based on the certificates that they do possess.

What will you request?

The predefined Global Baskets are only one of two basket types. Enterprise Business License users can also create their own baskets. This allows you to see whether your suppliers meet the specific set of requirements that fit your organization at the blink of an eye. In short, this option makes managing your administration a little easier.
Would you like to know more about the baskets, or do you need help setting them up? We are happy to help you on your way! Please contact us at info@certifeye.com.

Through Standardization to Innovation in a Supply Chain

“Trust, Autonomy, Movement”

With these words, Fred Vahlkamp, the founder of ManualMaster and Certifeye, and Ilja Botha opened the Quality PopUp event: a day where all eyes were focused on the future. The future of the flower, plant and food industry, but also the future of sustainability, collaboration within supply chains and technological developments that make this possible.

Conference center and restaurant De Dyck located in the picturesque Woubrugge  welcomed guests with snacks grown on their own soil. A truly inspiring place to discuss different ways to make the sectors more sustainable.

Innovation in a Standardized World

The first speaker, Daan de Vries of MPS Groep, took us into the world of standardization and innovation. Some of the introduced concepts were Chain Transparency 2.0, HortiFootprint Calculator, and industry-wide developments such as FSI 2025.

“The first step is taking a good look at how the chains work and mapping out who supplies whom.” explains Daan. “Then various involved companies share the results, which in turn form a complete overview.”

In that regard, sharing data is of great importance. While every member of a chain knows the details of their own customers and suppliers, it can pose a great challenge for a more complex chain. Daan: “What if someone uses pesticides, all the way at the start of a supply chain? If some grower further on in the supply chain wants to farm biologically, this might be a problem, as the pesticides from the start of the chain may kill insects used by the bio grower.” This is why it is crucial to know what is expected in both directions of a chain, in order to guarantee the quality and respect the wishes of the customers. Daan also refers to the end of a chain: “Retail has certain requirements a breeder must respond to, otherwise they can no longer sell their products. So in the end you really have to collaborate and communicate with each other.”


MPS presents a practical example with the Chain Transparency 2.0 project. The streamlined and open communication has led, among other successes, to a 45% reduction of pesticides among MPS-ABC certified companies.


“Collaboration is more intensive than simple data sharing. Organizations need to trust each other with information and their analyses, as the problems that pose a challenge to a single company can be tackled and solved together.”

This joint effort, known as non-competitive collaboration, is commonplace in MPS projects and applies as well to the FSI 2025 project that is aiming to achieve 90% sustainable procurement by 2025.

These projects are often based on certification and standardisation. However, certification can also lead to innovation. When in the early 1990s the European Union focused on uniform standards, many companies found a new niche opportunity.

“What you see is that most of those existing certifying organizations have become a top-up. On one hand they form a niche, but at the same time they are the front runners who offer certification to producers who want to develop beyond the common set of standards. This way, they take an extra step towards what they find important.”

“Non-competitive collaboration plays an enormous role. It is less common for innovation to happen inside the companies. Instead, it is now taking place between the companies”

Daan had a clear answer  to the question about the feasibility of achieving sustainability goals within a limited period of time. “When switching from fossil fuels to sustainable energy, for example, you can get stuck on the fact that building a nuclear power plant takes 10 years. How do you do that with goals for 2030? You should think in terms of transitions, continuously taking steps and improving the situation. And then you might just as well complete the energy supply goals in 2050, right?”

Sustainability Dialogues

While enjoying sandwiches and asparagus soup from the restaurant’s vegetable garden, participants spent their lunch exchanging their views on the future of data validation. These conversations were inspired by statements found on each table.

One of the discussed statements

This hearty meal was followed by a tour around the restaurant’s garden. With more than 100 plant species, the garden can sustain the kitchen almost entirely with their own harvest. In the near future, Restaurant de Dyck will expand its business operations to include animals in the circular process. Food residues serve as food for animals, and the animals are ultimately also used in the kitchen.


Goals of the Present and Dreams of the Future

Speaker Koos van der Meij from Wageningen University & Research gave us a bird’s-eye overview of the current and future technology in data validation.

The ecosystem of developments started with mechanization and steam power, followed by mass production, electricity, computers and automation, and finally we have the current “Industry 4.0”: Cyber Physical Systems.

This phase goes hand in hand with supply chain thinking and the data ecosystems associated with them. The data exchange works well as long as each link passes on the information in a way that matches the systems of their relevant relations.

“And what if there is a link in the chain that does not pass on the data? How does that impact the value of your data in the chain?” The solution for this problem is the transition from a supply chain to a supply community. “The flow of goods remains the same, but it’s no longer linear. You then become a spider in the web”. Koos adds: “Standardization is crucial in such a community”.

Besides participants engaged in production and transport or sales, the so-called community services also play a role. These are, for example, certification institutions            such as MPS, or software suppliers such as Certifeye. “What value will these services add in the future? Is it necessary for a grower to be certified?” – asks Koos. “The technological equipment can ensure that you do not audit the entire production of a specific supplier every year, instead you certify each product piece by piece”.


Of course, this requires an enormous amount of dataprocessing. It is already going well in many places at the moment. Think, for example, of exercising with a smartwatch or even a simple weather forecast. Koos explains the important elements here: “First of all, we need standardization of data, so that it is consistently clear what expectations are set. Then you have sensor management, for example deciding where the temperature gauge will be placed in a truck with goods. Finally, all this digital data must of course be strongly secured against, among other things, DDOS attacks.”

In the context of data collection in the food industry, Koos names a few scan types: DNA scan, collagen scan and a molecular scan. “Components formed by these different scans lead to a fingerprint of the scanned object. Such a fingerprint shows, for example, how many kilocalories and carbohydrates this apple contains.”

Such technological improvements were made possible by the blockchain technology. The system sends information to the database and links it with the correct type of fruit data. In the future, this information can go directly to the customer, and enable them to check whether the specifications of the apple meet their requirements. Eventually, all this information returns to the scanner.


Visitors had a chance to experience this process of food analysis live. During the demonstration of the molecular scanning system called SCIO, people enjoyed watching the extract of an exact composition of an apple without damaging it in any way.

Where will this technology lead us? The public immediately got a taste of these developments. What if a biological barcode could be sprayed on the apple, so that every apple would be identified immediately, even without a sticker? Is fruit taste definable at the molecular level? What consequences will this have for both the hospitality industry and retailers?

Fortunately, we can also discover the taste of an apple the old-fashioned way! This was made possible during the Quality PopUp thanks to the volunteers of De Kleine Wereld from Gorinchem, a school for special needs students, who provided the apples with organic quality stickers at the end. We would like to thank these involved students for their hard work!

Did you miss this Quality PopUp, but are still interested in the future of data validation and sustainability? Wageningen University & Research will organize the PPP Consortium in 2023, which will include the concept of Circle of Community and safeguarding organic goods. Are you interested? Please contact us through info@certifeye.com with the subject line: Interest in PPS WUR. You will then receive a call from our colleague involved in the project. In the near future you can also take part in an initial orientation on the University grounds.

Transparency, the road to sustainability

In the flower and plant industry everyone seems to know each other and everything seems to be connected, even though there is healthy competition present. Suppliers, growers, trading companies and buyers form all kinds of different trade chains. At the same time, various organisations are created wherein different parties unite, or through which work is carried out for the sector as a whole. Nevertheless, the world of flowers and plants seems reasonably well-organised. This is mainly because most of the trade is carried out by a limited number of organisations. In my opinion, these trading companies, including auctions, are therefore an important link in the chain if you want to achieve something in the sector as a whole. 

How we treat our planet and its inhabitants is an important theme. This requires a critical look at your own footprint on Earth and the way in which you yourself, but also your suppliers, deal with nature and with the people involved in your business operations. Meanwhile, standards and values can differ quite a bit. Certainly because these are also shaped by cultural aspects, the degree of development of a country and the circumstances in which a country finds itself. 

In order to create a form of measurability and comparability, standards have been defined on the basis of which a company, or rather its business operations, can be assessed. Such an independent assessment entitles the holder to a certificate if the result is positive. That certificate guarantees partners in the chain that what has been assessed complies with the set standards. You could call it proof of trust. 

Transparency with a bit frosted windows 

To ensure good cooperation in the field of sustainability, it is important to realise which information benefits both the organisation and the chain without jeopardising its competitive position. This means that it must be possible to make data relating to the sustainability of companies and products available to the chain in which a company is located, without necessarily having to specifically name anyone. 

Of course, this can get in the way of credibility. For example, if a trading company states that it works with growers who are certified in accordance with certain standards, then as a buyer I have to assume that this is actually the case. At the same time, it is not desirable in every trading situation to disclose which suppliers you do business with. This tension requires a neutral player who can validate the data. The neutral party then makes the data available to the trading partner or the chain in which it is located, according to the wishes of the owner.  

Validation of data 

You must be able to trust that data. Validated data, which means data of which the source and value can be determined with certainty, is the key to a very transparent working method in which everyone can make choices about what is and is not shared. That process starts with getting information from the source. And the source is your business partner. It is the business partner who owns the information he or she wishes to provide to you, the customer. Now, I distinguish three forms of validation of the information that is provided. Indicated with 1, 2 or 3 stars. They are as follows. 

* Information that a party provides about itself. For example, a certificate issued by a certification institute. This is a representation of the reality of the party in question and is therefore, in principle, still susceptible to error and fraud. 

** The same information, but already viewed once and authorised by another party in the chain or authorised by you as a buyer, for example after consulting a portal of a certification institute. You actually assume and approve the factuality of the data obtained. Here too, however, there is a smaller risk of error. 

*** Although the data obtained is provided via the owner, it comes directly from the source, for example a certification institute. The data cannot be modified by anyone except the source. This is the most optimal form of data provision. 

Why are three stars valuable? 

If data is awarded three stars on validation by an independent platform such as Certifeye, and that data cannot be manipulated in any way by the owner of that data, then you are also able to provide anonymous transparency on the degree of sustainability in the chain. After all, the three stars based on the validated data have been determined independently and cannot be changed. None of the parties in the chain can influence those three stars. This enables you to show that you do business with suppliers who meet the requirements set by the customer, without disclosing the name and surname. 

The last crack in this approach can also be solved by making a link with an ERP system of an organisation. This provides insight into the data available at the time of the transaction and at the time of execution (time of purchase, receipt of goods and delivery). This can still be done anonymously. 

Link with the ERP, the basic administration of companies 

Certifeye has worked hard to enable a link with the basic administration of a company. This means that during the procurement process, up-to-date information about the supplier is available in the system. This can be certificate information, certification reports if the grower makes them available, but also things like a carbon footprint or an own digital questionnaire to assess a grower as a supplier. In short: the complete supplier assessment is available if required, and that secures the transaction in terms of quality and sustainability.  

Can it all go a step further?  

Yes, it can. Because ultimately, a certificate or a questionnaire completed by a supplier is a snapshot. And although you can assume that a day, week or month after the audit, a business operation will not suddenly look completely different, there is no certainty of this. So the question is whether we can’t synchronise the measurement of the current state of affairs with the daily operations of a company. You could call it an audit during the daily operations. Technology makes more and more possible and the speed at which technology is developing is so fast that thinking about the future can simply be about tomorrow and the day after that. Would you like to think along with us? 

Will you be there on 9 June? 

We would like to talk to you about sustainability and what tomorrow and the day after will look like. And also what transparency in the chain means to you, whether this is between suppliers and customers or between so-called coopetition. Would you like to share your views on this with professionals who, with the same objectives, are seeking their way in the landscape of quality, sustainability and transparency? We invite you to join us on 9 June for an open discussion on the future of data processing. 

Please note: This event takes place in Dutch. Read more about the Quality PopUp: Het borgen van Kwaliteit in de Keten.

Written by: Fred Vahlkamp, founder Certifeye

The colours of collaboration

To maintain a strong, sustainable supply chain, it is crucial that all participants work towards a common goal. Exchanging information and striving for high quality products creates a situation where growers and consumers alike know that their products are processed in the best possible way. Today, Mark Schellevis of the growers’ association Colours of Nature explains the benefit of suppliers’ collaboration within one product group. 

The origins of this organization go back more than 17 years. Since then, the composition of the organization has developed into a total of 11 nurseries divided among 8 members, who are collectively committed to the cultivation of (mini)gerberas.  

Sharing knowledge lays at the foundation of this cooperation. The association members are given the opportunity to discuss their observations and experiences during weekly meetings. The conversations touch upon a wide variety of topics: sustainability, consumption of raw materials and their costs, but also advice on cultivation and crops. Mark indicates that as the growers of Colours of Nature focus on a single flower variety, the know-how within the organization is extensive. Thanks to these meetings, any potential problems can be tackled together, making the association stronger. This partnership between growers also has other tangible benefits: When growers buy their supplies collectively, they can profit from wholesale transactions. 

In addition to mutual support, Colours of Nature uses various systems to compensate growers accordingly to the quality and quantity of their delivered products. The flowers are examined by the quality manager according to a set schedule, whose feedback is shared with the members on a weekly basis. This way, all growers know whether their products excel at certain criteria or if there are potential improvements which can be applied. Thanks to this shared effort, the products supplied by Colours of Nature consistently meet the set requirements. Thus, the association works together through all ups and downs, offering continuous and transparent assistance to its members. 

The knowledge and high degree of cooperation are made possible by the professionalism and commitment of the members. Colours of Nature has a great regard for sustainability and obligates their growers to, among others, obtain the MPS-ABC, MPS-SQ and MPS-GAP. certificates. The company manages these certificates for their growers via the Certifeye application, allowing all parties to streamline a large part of the required certificate management. Mark summarizes his experience with Certifeye: “The process is automated to such a degree that we hardly think about it anymore. We receive almost no certification related emails anymore, because everyone is subscribed to the right certificates and immediately receives renewed documents as they appear.”  

When asked about the future of the association, Mark answers with specific developments within Colours of Nature. With the arrival of EveryD Flowers Hoge Geest in January, the assortment of Colours of Nature has been expanded to include large-flowered gerberas. Is this the beginning of an expansion strategy for the organization? “The plan is to keep growing in a healthy and continuous way”, concludes Mark. 

CO2 footprint in the Wallet

Demonstrating compliance is more than just providing the right certificates. The demand from the market can be diverse: documents such as laboratory results, or filling in questionnaires, can be deciding factors while establishing new trade connections. Certifeye keeps a close eye on these developments in the market, with the ecological footprint in this month’s spotlight! 

We see that growers request their carbon footprint analysis from the specialized organizations more and more often. says Fred Vahlkamp, founder of Certifeye. Gaining an insight into one’s footprint involves looking at the consumption of electricity and gas in the company, but also at the way goods are transported and the role of other relevant emissions. This demand is fuelled by the market, as trading companies and customers are showing an increasing interest in a complete overview of the CO2 emissions of their supply chains. 

One of the parties that makes it possible to get an overview of the CO2 footprint is Greenhouse Marketeers. This organization enables taking steps towards sustainability in an accessible way, by first providing insights into a company’s carbon use, and then giving specific advice on how to achieve a reduction in emissions. And as it happens, this aim for accessibility and transparency corresponds well with what Certifeye stands for” Fred says. 

This overlap is one of the reasons why Certifeye is currently in touch with Greenhouse Marketeers to create an automatic API link between the Certifeye Wallets and the requested CO2 footprints. Thanks to this connection, new burdens are lifted from our users, resulting in a reduction of administrative work. This way, the Certifeye platform can offer a comprehensive overview of the user’s sustainability status, without the need for additional tasks. 

We are very much looking forward to this development. Moreover, in the context of our “Collect and Connect” motto, we are always open to new opportunities and cooperation with organizations in various sectors and areas of compliance. Are you interested in a possible cooperation? Do not hesitate to contact us at info@certifeye.com! 

Requirement baskets

We are constantly striving to make certificate management easier for our customers throughout their entire supply chains. One of the solutions we are launching with this goal in early 2022 is the use of requirement baskets. Fred Vahlkamp, founder of Certifeye, explains what this feature is all about.

The Certifeye network is becoming increasingly valuable as more suppliers, growers, trading companies and buyers join the platform. This leads to better insights and simplifies sustainable decisions. Based on their own administration, parties in the chain can easily identify and choose the partners that meet the right requirements.

These requirements are often assessed through certification. According to Fred, this has led to a complete mosaic of certificates, codes and audit methodologies. “We are close to a situation where one could speak of a certificate overflow, with different standards sometimes serving the same purpose,” he adds. “Companies want to demonstrate their partnership as well as transparency, for example, regarding social and environmental practices”. This compliance can be achieved through various certificates with overlapping criteria, which can lead to an increased workload of assessing and comparing the available documents.

To streamline the process of comparing certificates, Certifeye will soon introduce the Requirement baskets. This feature allows a requester to preselect the standards needed to prove compliance within a specific area or scope. “Baskets enable an ‘and/or’ construction, where you can request a combination of various certificates at once. Depending on the conditions set in the basket, the grower immediately knows whether the available certificates meet the requirements,” Fred explains.

Therefore, the retailers have the freedom to put together their own selection of comparable certificates. In addition, there are baskets of standards that are already known in the market, created by organizations that are active in the field of sustainability. “There are several advocacy groups that already have established their own sets of requirements. This type of pre-made combinations will also be present in Certifeye by default.” That way, it will be easier for all customers to use the new feature and save time on their administrational tasks. Especially now that questionnaires can be included in the system, with environmental footprint results and lab analyses coming soon, a complete administration can be created. As the owner of the documents, you will always remain at the helm and decide what you share with whom!

The advantages of the basket are also clear for primary producers. The steps necessary to demonstrate that they satisfy their customers’ demands are minimal. “In such a way, communication between the grower and the trading company becomes much more efficient. We continue to believe that a grower should not spend more than half an hour a year to ensure that all their customers are updated,” Fred concludes.

Lustrum ManualMaster Congress

It was the eleventh of the eleventh, in the charming Periscoop Theater in Gorinchem when the 5th ManualMaster congress took place. We, as their sister company, were proudly present at this special edition.

The set expectations were great: With the topic of sustainability and future addressed by speakers like André Kuipers and Raimon Loman, this congress would be inspiring and informative. And it was. 

Once the visitors settled in the room, accompanied by the song “Jolene” performed by Close Harmony – True Colors, they were welcomed by the town crier of Gorinchem. He took the audience on a poetical journey through the many aspects of the beautiful stronghold, followed by the first speaker of the conference taking the floor. 

Raimon Loman of Dutch Flower Group illustrated the growing importance of sustainability in the sector. What started as a side task as a sustainability ambassador, has grown considerably over the past 10 years into several fully-fledged positions in a wide range of organizations. Transparency, CO2 emissions, living wages, and crop protection products are a few examples of topics contained in the sustainability targets that DFG strives to achieve in its long-term plans, in order to make the chain, the people, and the planet better, one step at a time. 

However, these targets were not the take-home message of this enlightening session. Raimon strongly believes in his mission to make the market more sustainable, which has also been the constant factor in DFG’s numerous collaborations with both competitors and various agencies: “We can’t do this alone, we need the whole sector. We have to do this together.” 

This theme of cooperation and transparent processes was flawlessly carried on by André Kuipers, who has literally seen this world from the other side. The tone was set quickly when the first photo of the Earth from the moon appeared on the screen: “We saw that we are all in the same boat. The boat of space rocket Earth. This is all we’ve got.” 

First of all, André outlined the importance of space travel and the indispensability of satellite information for a range of fields, varying from daily GPS navigation to targeted crop monitoring and food security projects. Especially in the Netherlands, the satellites serve an unexpected yet crucial purpose: detecting changes in the height of dikes, even by one millimeter. When it comes to sustainability, satellites are invaluable as well. Observation of melting polar ice and the resulting water flows are examples of topics that are constantly on the radar of (inter)national research and management agencies. 

The presentation progressed from earthly to space applications. The visitors learned which systems are used for the quality of life of astronauts in space. From Microsoft Office to temperature control, system management, and food growing on board; it is all about streamlined software and the countless teams of all ages and backgrounds that work on it together.  The best example of this is the International Space Station. Since 1998, this station has been expanded with both residential and research components from different countries which are united in science, regardless of (old) political disputes. With the first component from Russia, an American coupler, a Canadian robotic arm, Japanese and European living units, and finally Dutch solar panels, this global cooperation might as well deserve a Nobel Prize! 

Of course, it is of great importance that the new generations of scientists also develop this passion and desire for cooperation. The current SpaceBuzz program was set up partially for this purpose. In this programme, children are given the opportunity to discover space travel through a school project and carry out various educational tasks, before finally experiencing the launch of a spaceship in virtual reality in a spaceship simulator. We would like to thank Team SpaceBuzz again for making the simulator available during the conference! 

After the break, the visitors were updated on the new developments within ManualMaster, followed later by an explanation of a new system on the platform that makes it possible to internally consult experts within certain fields via the platform. This new way of interaction further stimulates professional development and cooperation within organizations, which benefits everyone involved. 

This informative update was followed by a presentation by Mirko Vaars, data scientist at research & prototype studio BIT. Various topics were covered: robotics, LiDAR scans, and software for daily use. Fred Vahlkamp, founder of ManualMaster and co-presenter of the evening, got the chance to demonstrate this software. The speech-to-text application shown is a very promising tool that makes it possible to make reports directly in the ManualMaster software via speech. New developments like this are continuously being worked on and tested to improve the user experience, driven by market demand as well as by the organization’s CoLab sessions. 

The afternoon ended with several short, personal stories told by Fred. Stories that made the audience hang on his lips. This way, the conference ended with a powerful message: “When we do things, let’s please do them together. In the end, that is the most important asset we have.”