Green Week at Maastricht University – Campus Venlo

The postgraduate master’s programme in Global supply Chain Management and Change strives to stay up-to-date with trends in the industry.

During the Green Week on 11-15 March, students found themselves in a diversified and energetic learning environment.

On Tuesday, the group visited local tomato producer Sunny Tom. As a surprise, tomato production turned out be strongly oriented towards the usage of hightech equipment.

This entails on the one hand productivity measurements, but for the greater part, the equipment is used to control and maintain a sustainable production.

For instance, you find a nifty water and heating system that is regulated by the outside temperature, thus reducing electricity consumption for heating.

Apart from hightech solutions, Sunny Tom embraces the application of non-toxics. Organic/biological spray is used to get rid of bugs and prevent damage to the plants.

Overall, the aim is to produce tomatoes with lower CO2 footprint.

Later on, the master probands attended a mind-blowing presentation on social media by Gwen Noteborn from Maastricht University. Fortunately, technology did its job and Ms. Noteborn was able to hold a Skype conference talking about the evolution of social media, diverse platforms, creative social media tactics, and trends.

In the end, students presented their favourite company pages on Facebook and Ms. Noteborn elaborated on the strategy behind.

Day two offered information on controversy in food production and eco-labeling. First, Micha Reuter from Fontys University of Technology and Science presented his work on green shopping attitudes in Germany.

Putting the students into groups and providing them with various products that are labeled as being ‘green’, the students were given the opportunity to examine different attributes assigned to eco-friendly food and how these criteria should correlate in order to really be ‘green’.

After this, the movie ‘Food, Inc’ alarmed participants by showing insights on the modernization of life. The illusion of having a choice in the supermarket where consumers are overwhelmed by 47.000 different products on average (in the US) is obvious when taking into account the small number of four to seven producers.

The next presenter was Jan de Wilt (innovatie netwerk) who gave an introduction into agriculture in the Netherlands focusing on agroparks and food conscience. He also elaborated on the network’s project called ‘Meat your Own’ which aims to get consumers and farmers together and create more transparency in food supply.

The second day ended in the beautiful and modern Scelta Institute where students where cooking their own food with mushrooms as the main ingredient. Of course, they enjoyed the privilege to taste the results.

On day three, the group met at Ewals Cargo Care in Venlo. The multinational logistics provider invited the students to learn about the company’s operations and more in particular, about its innovations towards lean and green logistics.

Marc Mous, Manager Sales Engineering and Sustainability, explained how transport routes are calculated with the company’s custom-made optimization software and presented several transport solutions such as the Ewals Megatrailer. Mous also gave feedback and advice on the students’ presentations on green supply chain management and logistics.

The final day of Green Week revolved around global and local concepts in sustainability, with student presentations and a talk by Roy Vercoulen from the Cradle-to-Cradle Institute. Although familiar to many students, scientists, and corporates, the C2C concept still needs to be promoted as it requires the right attitude, commitment and persistence in order to make a company 100 percent sustainable.

Vercoulen showed the requirements for C2C certification and the positive effect of Cradle-to-Cradle on the environment and companies in a transparent way.

His presentation was followed by that of Ward Ooms from the Open University in Heerlen. Ooms is doing his Phd on innovations in the Limburg region and presented his intermediate results.

In conclusion, much was experienced during Green Week 2013 and participants called it a true success.

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By Prof. Janjaap Semeijn and Fontys intern André Kuppenbender

Green Week Venlo is organized by Prof. dr. Janjaap Semeijn for Supply-Chain Management and Change students .

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