Rijk Zwaan regains top spot in Hillenraad 100

Vegetable breeder Rijk Zwaan from De Lier, The Netherlands, has returned to the number one position in the Hillenraad 100 – the annual overview of the 100 most significant companies in Dutch greenhouse horticulture. The 2012 ranking was announced on Friday 26 October during the ‘Hortigala of the Year’ event in Leiden, Netherlands.
Rijk Zwaan, which previously came first in 2009 and 2010 and a close second last year, has now once again returned to the top spot in the Hillenraad 100. In its jury report, the Hillenraad expert committee, chaired by Willem Vermeend, stated that Rijk Zwaan is regarded as a shining example of entrepreneurialism both within and outside of the sector: a solid company exhibiting strong growth, profitability, solvency and an enviable global market position. In addition to having an impressive personnel strategy, RZ belongs to the Dutch cream of the crop in terms of its R&D activities, which include collaboration with the various knowledge institutes and even direct competitors in the Virtual Lab for Plant Breeding. Its ‘Youth Ocean’ initiative is particularly special; this creative think tank of university students reports directly to the company’s board of executives and demonstrates how RZ is already laying the foundations for the next generation of top-quality employees and top-quality seeds alike.

Internationalisation and collaboration

The theme of this year’s Hillenraad 100 was ‘Excelling by combining’. According to the jury report, just some of the reasons that Rijk Zwaan deserved the number-one position in the ranking included the company’s ability to successfully combine knowledge and expertise from many different disciplines internally, and its high degree of external collaboration, predominantly internationally, both within and beyond the vegetable production chain. True partnerships and long-term relationships are the vegetable breeder’s top priority.

Director Marco van Leeuwen, who represented Rijk Zwaan at the ‘Hortigala van het Jaar’ event, comments: “Needless to say, we are thrilled to have achieved the number one position again. Our focus on placing our employees and partners at the heart of our approach is clearly paying off and we are delighted to see that this is not going unnoticed. This ranking is a fantastic outcome and we’d like to extend our heartfelt thanks to our staff and our partners for helping to make it possible.”

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