Scaling HaagseZwam | Deloitte Impact Foundation

Article

Scaling HaagseZwam

Contributing to waste reduction, circularity, employment opportunities and a-quality mushrooms, all in one initiative, supported by the Deloitte Impact Foundation

The Netherlands is one of the largest consumers of coffee in the world. Annually, we import 150 million kilos of coffee to be turned into delicious espresso’s, cappuccino’s, americano’s and more. But did you know that after the preparation, only 0.2% of the coffee ground has been used? The remaining 99.8% is often labelled as “waste” and is burnt, producing CO2 emissions in the process. Though, not in The Hague! Social entrepreneur Annelies Goedbloed from HaagseZwam uses coffee ground as soil to grow mushrooms and micro-vegetables. And not only does she turn “waste” into products, she also creates job opportunities for people who have a distance to the labour market.

From waste to raw materials

“At HaagseZwam, we perform honest, sustainable, circular and social entrepreneurship”, Annelies explains. “We know that residual grounds can be used in a better way than they are now, so that they generate value for nature and people. We do business and act in a sustainable and circular manner with the lowest possible footprint. This means that we work locally in and around The Hague and collect the coffee grounds and deliver our products by bike. We also do this with people who would like to work, but for whom it is difficult to participate elsewhere in society. The main part of our colleagues have a distance to the labour market and work on growing, picking, cutting, cleaning, transporting materials. Additionally, we provide internships for students to work and learn in this environment which is different in its approach to labour. I aim to create an environment in which everyone counts.”

Societal challenges

“It’s admirable to see how Annelies has built an organisation which impacts society in so many ways”, comments Deloitter Edwin Jong, who leads the Deloitte Impact Foundation initiative that supports HaagseZwam and six other social enterprises in The Netherlands. “HaagseZwam touches upon many societal challenges such as waste reduction, responsible production and employment opportunities for people with a distance to the labour market. We are very proud to help them scale their organisation, so that we can increase impact on each of these aspects!”

Scaling impact

Annelies explains: “I don’t dream of becoming a large, international company. I believe in our local concept and there’s still so much to do in The Hague as kilos of coffee waste is still being thrown out every day. Also, too many people with disabilities find themselves unemployed and many people are yet to discover our premium quality, healthy products! This is why I’m grateful for the support of Edwin and his colleagues, who are helping us professionalise and scale. 

In the past weeks, we talked a lot about ‘defining a vision and focus’ for HaagseZwam. What do we want to be famous for? What difference do we want to make? Edwin’s colleague Coen Persijn from Deloitte’s Marketing department is helping me translate these ideas in to concrete plans to brand our company. His ideas have opened my eyes to the possibilities and importance of knowing how to be found in the market, to make this impact we desire.”

Necessity leads to creativity and innovation

Annelies: “When COVID-19 hit, the market changed. This was a shock at first, but the necessity to adapt urged us to think outside the box and find new ideas on how to use coffee grounds to grow more than mushrooms alone. We are now proud to announce our new line of micro-vegetables and have proven to ourselves and the world that we play an important part in the circular food chain.”

“And there is more to come!”, Edwin adds. “We check-in regularly to see what else we can do to support you in your mission. Whether it is checking contracts, financial administration, strategic advice or anything else. Deloitte’s 7000 colleagues in The Netherlands, with all their breadth and depth of expertise are ready to step in at any time. I personally look forward to our next session, together with the other six social enterprises in the programme, in which experiences will be shared. This process could be the starting point of a more standardised ‘growth model’ to be scaled towards more social enterprises and impact exponentially more people in the future.”

The Deloitte Impact Foundation

Through the Deloitte Impact Foundation, Deloitte is committed to bring a positive impact to society. We share our core competences, knowledge and network in societal initiatives to make an impact in the fields of education & employment, sustainability and endurability. Read more about the Deloitte Impact Foundation and view our other initiatives.

Did you find this useful?