Henk van RikxoortHenk van Rikxoort is the Lead Farm Intelligence at the Rainforest Alliance. He is initiating and leading global innovation and ICT for development programs within the organisation. Currently, his main focus is farmgrow.org, an initiative that is expanding the use of individual digital farm development plans for cocoa producers in West Africa. Henk joined the Rainforest Alliance in 2013 and pioneered the climate change program as well as the first-mile program which grew into important elements of the organisation today. Before the Rainforest Alliance, he worked in agricultural, climate change, and development consulting. Henk holds an MSc in Rural Innovation and a BSc in Tropical Agriculture from Wageningen University.
How does satellite technology make the process of tracking sustainability measures efficient?
Certification is becoming an industry standard today as consumers are becoming increasingly aware of social and environmental issues and the importance of certifications in addressing them. How have these certifications evolved in the last decade or so and what does the future look like?
- Evolving from a general approach to very specific and adaptive to different contexts, countries, crops and regions – so it becomes more relevant and effective
- Evolving from a pass-fail method to recognising and rewarding step by step improvements
- Evolving from paper-based systems in the field to digital and data-driven ones
Some of the conservation efforts begin with the smallholder farmers whose lives are intrinsically linked to the forests and biodiversity that surround them. What has your experience been like in driving a change among these farmers to ensure sustainable and climate-resilient practices?
Scientific research has identified that certification programs enhance both rural livelihoods and ecosystem health across a diversity of crops, farms, and countries. A few studies have also confirmed the positive impact that Rainforest Alliance and UTZ certification programs have had on forest quality and farmers respectively. Could you tell us how certified farms and its farmers improve over time compared to non-certified farms?
Although several agribusinesses around the world have committed to ensuring traceable and sustainable supply chains, only a handful of them managed to achieve the goals. What are your recommendations for agribusinesses to prioritise sustainability and work to attain these goals?