Children’s Council advises the ‘bosses’ of FrieslandCampina about sustainable dairy farming

18 May 2017

What can FrieslandCampina do to stimulate its member dairy farmers to run their farms in a more sustainable way? This question was put to the Children’s Council of FrieslandCampina, a group of children from the 7th and 8th grades of primary school De Bolster in Amersfoort (the Netherlands) at the beginning of this year. After an extensive study, the children presented their findings to the ‘bosses’ of FrieslandCampina on 16 May. This meeting was chaired by Laurentien van Oranje, founder of the Missing Chapter Foundation (MCF) and initiator of this project.

The Children’s Council earlier visited a dairy farm of the Kuijer family in Soest (the Netherlands), one of the member dairy farmers of FrieslandCampina. During this visit, the children asked a lot of questions about sustainable energy, care of the cows, manure surplus and CO2 emission. Experts of FrieslandCampina assisted in answering the questions. The answers were taken into consideration in the recommendations made to FrieslandCampina.

Resourceful

One of the recommendations to stimulate the member dairy farmers to work in a more sustainable way at the farm was to install a so-called water purification sandglass, which collects and purifies rainwater. This water can then be given to the cows as an alternative for tap water. Also investing in windmills at sea and converting manure into biogas as fuel for the milk tanker trucks were among the resourceful recommendations. ‘We already saw a lot of solar panels at the farm, but the efficiency of solar panels is not as high as that of windmills. The investment will be recovered within 8 to 11 months’, Nora of the Children’s Council explains. Finally, the Children’s Council has some ideas about the perfect cowshed equipped with lying beds, brushes, a milking robot, sufficient lighting and ventilation and in which classical music is played. ‘These are all ingredients for taking good care of the cows, as this will eventually result in the largest amount of the best milk’, according to the children.

Presenting the recommendations

Push the adults

‘I was most touched by the naturalness with which the children say that sustainability is such an urgent issue. We as adults will immediately start making some calculations’, says Frans Keurentjes, Chairman of the Board of Zuivelcoöperatie FrieslandCampina U.A. Pointing at the urgency, ensuring the required appreciation and sharing the good stories are the ultimate keys to creating a sustainable mindset.

‘You must keep pushing, for we adults need this sometimes’, Roelof Joosten, CEO Royal FrieslandCampina N.V., added to this. ‘It is all about your future and this inspires me to carry the load with even more strength. I am glad with your ideas and we will start working on them.’

‘You must keep pushing, for we adults need this sometimes’ – Roelof Joosten

CEO Roelof Joosten is glad with the ideas

Cooperation

This is the second time that FrieslandCampina asked a Children’s Council to think along. Previously, FrieslandCampina was advised on how to help the people in the Netherlands to live healthier. Since this time, the communication has been improved, also on the packaging. In 2014, FrieslandCampina entered into a three-year partnership with the Missing Chapter Foundation and UNICEF Netherlands (both websites in Dutch). The core of the cooperation is twofold: give children a say in social issues that determine the future through a so-called Children’s Council and inspire decision-makers to think about existing issues from a different perspective.