PILLAR 3 Social impact

Social responsibility


Invest in human capital

We foster a long-term relationship with our employees. For us, being a good employer means continually investing in human capital: craftsmanship, well-being and vitality. We believe that our employees make the difference when it comes to strengthening the solidarity between our customers and suppliers (growers) and our organisation. That is why we build positions around the talents of our employees. By placing responsibility low in the organisation, our employees have the freedom to take initiative themselves.

Living up to our values

We have an identifiable common direction. This direction is what we stand for; it proclaims our right to exist as a company and how we want to associate with one another. Our employees can identify with our mission and corporate values. They were, after all, involved in the identification and establishment of these values, which serve as the moral compass for the choices that are made within HZPC.

To us, sustainable HR means: results

Increasing the sustainability of HR helps us contribute to the achievement of (long-term) operating results and the continuity of our company. This implies that the mission, vision and goals of the company must be converted to corresponding HR objectives. It also asks for people who are able to steer their own contribution to match what we need as a whole as a company. Based on our business strategy, we have established six HR result areas:

  • Strategic HRM
  • Strategic personnel planning
  • Training and personal development
  • Salary and employment conditions
  • Vitality and well-being
  • Reporting and information

To us, sustainable HR means: responsibility

At HZPC we focus on taking individual responsibility. This calls for people who are equipped to make choices on a daily basis, based on their own knowledge and insights. There is sufficient opportunity to take initiative and responsibility within HZPC.

To us, sustainable HR means: employability

Long-term employability (maintaining earning capacity and flexibility) is central in our policy. This calls for people who are able to anticipate (future) changes throughout their career on a constant basis. This refers to changes that come into play in the environment and within HZPC.

We work towards sustainable employability in different ways. We work with, among other things, the 'House of workability'. The house symbolises the manner in which someone can be deployed during his/her career. It is based on people's own responsibility to remain employable. On the basis of this model, the employee initiates a discussion with his or her supervisor.


Sustainable employability is further stimulated by:

  • Life-stages schemes (including schemes which make it possible to continue to work to an older age)
  • The recruitment of new colleagues with a view to the future (in other words, not just filling the job openings that are available, but getting an idea of the candidate's opportunities for advancement within HZPC)
  • Offering development opportunities aimed at current positions as well as possible future positions within HZPC. 

Great Place to Work®

In 2016, the first Great Place to Work employee survey Trust Index© was carried out. The Trust Index© expresses how employees experience HZPC on the factors of trust, pride and pleasure. These are three important pillars that influence people's performance. 76% of survey participants agreed with the statement, "All in all, I think HZPC is a great place to work". With 95% and 93% respectively, HZPC scores well above the average (= 70%) in the Trust Index on the themes of fair treatment regardless of race or orientation.

Topics for improvement are appointing and coordinating people, and attracting people who are the best fit for HZPC. The most important results from the survey were discussed with the teams in 2017. After this, plans of action were drafted for improvement. This included looking at how people or teams can become more involved in recruitment and selection processes internally.


HZPC employs 340 permanent employees. There are no fewer than 23 different nationalities employed in our company. The intercultural group of employees is growing. Currently, 8% of our employees belong to this category. Collaboration without borders is evident amongst all the different nationalities. This makes our company unique.

Inflow and outflow

The outflow of employees will increase during the coming years because of the number of employees reaching retirement age. A certain degree of outflow is positive because it increases the advancement opportunities for HZPC colleagues. This is also true for the recruitment of new employees with additional skills and experience (acquired in a different setting).


Inflow 2014/2015

Outflow 2014/2015

Inflow 2016/2017

Outflow 2016/2017

7.5% 2.5% 9.5% 2.6%

At HZPC we do everything in our power to retain employees whose working capacity is limited as a result of illness. This means care for our employees and adaptations to the work environment so their working capacity can still be utilised.


HZPC invests in the training and coaching of employees in various ways. To stimulate development, we have been using StudyTube, a digital learning environment, since 2017. 280 licences for StudyTube were purchased in 2018. This will be part of the further roll-out of the digital learning environment in the coming period.

Young HZPC

We founded Young HZPC for employees under the age of 31. The objective of Young HZPC is to strengthen the relationship between young colleagues in different departments and to give them a voice within HZPC so that their added value can be utilised to the fullest extent. Young HZPC is also responsible for international interconnection between young employees.

Internships and traineeships

We have good contacts with various schools, training institutions and universities. Working with interns and trainees is encouraged within HZPC's various international subsidiaries. Students either undertook work experience, worked within the framework of their graduation project or worked at HZPC in a trainee role in 2016/17. Their fresh input is valuable and gives us a chance to become acquainted early on with potential future employees, customers and suppliers.

Sick leave

Our rate of sick leave, viewed over many years, is low. 1.68% (2013/14) and 1.74% (2014/2015). However, the absenteeism rate of 3.8% in 2016/2017 shows an increase. This is mainly attributable to a number of long-term illnesses.

HZPC makes every effort to prevent work-related complaints. The identification of risks at the workplace (by carrying out and following up on the Risk Inventory & Evaluation amongst other things) forms part of this. There is a protocol for field staff for working at heights.


Composition of the personnel base 2016/17
(subdivided per SBA - Strategic Business Area)


The division between male and female within the different locations


Prevent child labour

HZPC has test fields in various climate zones, where new varieties are tested based on local conditions. These test fields are also located in poverty-stricken areas. Child labour is a deeply rooted problem in these areas. In our opinion a child belongs at school, where he or she can build a future. We therefore do not accept any child labour in our test fields. A code was developed in 2015. It is mandatory for test field operators to sign a declaration stating that child labour is not taking place in the test fields. Plantum's statement against child labour formed the point of departure in this regard and it was customised for HZPC.

Working group for the Prevention of Child Labour

We do not want to limit the prevention of child labour to the development of a code. To ensure that no child labour takes place, audits and a social program will also have to be looked at. The development of the plans for this is the responsibility of the working group for the Prevention of Child Labour. This will be put together in early 2018 and will then start with the implementation of the program.

Food program pilot in Egypt

In our previous report we talked about a food program pilot in Egypt. By offering children training in combination with a food program, we can combat poverty and prevent child labour. The project was not sufficiently viable. The working group for the Prevention of Child Labour will look at the options and viability in the future.

Dialogue with suppliers

We are also entering into dialogue with suppliers on this topic where child labour may possibly appear in the value chain; one particular area to consider might be suppliers of jute bags, for example. We made an inspection visit to the jute manufacturer in Bangladesh so that we could see the working conditions with our own eyes.