Volkert Engelsman, founding director of fresh organic importer and distributor Eosta, has been awarded top place in the annual Dutch Sustainability Top-100 list compiled by daily newspaper Trouw.
Recognising the Dutch entrepreneur as “a greengrocer with a radical vision,” the jury acknowledged Engelsman’s pioneering leadership in the field of sustainable food and farming, specifically in True Cost Accounting.
Eosta, based in the Netherlands, was founded by Engelsman in 1990. With suppliers across six continents and customers in Europe, the US and the Far East, it’s now a leading European specialist in organic produce.
Since 2016, Engelsman has been active in promoting True Cost Accounting as a pathway to sustainability, giving speeches at congresses and think-tank events worldwide. True Cost Accounting is a new form of bookkeeping that makes the true price of food visible, including environmental, social and health impacts.
The jury especially appreciated Engelsmans commitment to making True Cost practical, by bringing the numbers to store shelves in Europe, and putting hidden costs on organic apples, pears and other products.
Engelsman used his acceptance speech to call for new partnerships in the sustainable movement, especially in the finance sector. He said: “Many financial institutions are starting to realise that there is something wrong with our definition of ‘profit,’ if it results in the destruction of our natural habitat and makes life miserable for 90% of humanity, including our children’s children. There’s nothing wrong with profit, but you have to calculate it fairly.”
“As a movement we need to help financial institutions such as banks, accounting firms and institutional investors to start making better choices. The main flow of capital is still being driven by an outdated profit definition, which is basically killing the planet.”
New profit definition
Thanking Eosta’s partners in its recent True Cost Accounting campaign, which included the FAO, WHO, NCC, Triodos Bank, EY and Soil & More, Engelsman stressed the need for a new profit definition that includes human and ecological values.
In June 2017, Eosta published a pilot study named ‘True Cost Accounting for Food, Farming and Finance’. The study resulted in a practical dashboard for investors to assess impacts on financial, natural and social capital. It was presented to Peter Bakker, president of World Business Council for Sustainable Development, and in Wales to HRH Prince Charles.