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6th BioBorrel in Amsterdam: “Organic at a Crossroad”

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The audience at BioBorrel in June 2018
The sixth BioBorrel edition was well-attended. Photo ©

The sixth edition of the event series BioBorrel had been attended by around 80 stakeholders from the organic sector, as the Dutch online magagzine Bio Journaal reports. For the first time, the presentations were held in English, as one Christophe Barnouin, CEO of the French organic company Wessanen, was one of the speakers at the event.

Eymert van Manen commented on the success of BioBorrel: “With this round we want to create more communication between companies from all areas of life in the organic sector. Again and again, we are positively surprised by the participation. Over the last one and a half years we have built up a network of around 500 different people and companies.”

Organic in a deadlock?

By giving a short presentation titled “Organic at a Crossroad”, Ronald van Marlen, board member of Stichting EKO-keurmerk, discussed the growing market in contrast to the original organic standards. Van Marlen argued that the current laws do not encompass all principles of the organic value chain and that this puts organic pioneers under pressure. “We were the innovators within a niche, but now we are trapped in the system.”

Ronald van Marlen holding his presentation.
Ronald van Marlen expressed his worries about current developments within the organic sector. Photo ©

Within his talk, van Marlen also mentioned his observation that the word organic is disappearing as more and more alternative terms for organic are being used today. He expressed his worries about these developments and that he thinks the organic sector is not ambitious enough: “It is important to speak out.”

A vision of sustainability beyond organic

Christophe Barnouin of Wessanen. Photo ©
Christophe Barnouin of Wessanen giving an overview of the developments in his company. Photo ©

Within a further talk, Wessanen-CEO Christophe Barnouin presented how his company wants to define a vision of sustainability that goes further than just being labelled organic. He visualized that in countries with the fastest growing organic markets, the amount of whole food shops is decreasing as consumers have started buying their organic products via other channels. He underlined that it is part of Wessanen’s concept to attract attention with its products: “It is our purpose to offer better products.”

Four visitors at the BioBorrel.
Sofie Vanhove, Arthur Zwart (both Yogi Tea) with Rianne Hoekstra of Holland and Barrett and Feijo Blesgraaf of GreenSprout. Photo ©

After the presentations, the event provided space for further discussions and the opportunity for networking. The next edition of BioBorrel is expected to take place on 17th September 2018.

Please also read:

EU Organic Regulation: news, challenges and chances





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