There have been more discussions about Royal FloraHolland lately, than ever before. Given our central position as a marketplace, it’s understandable that all our activities are closely monitored. The opinions have been diverse and generally very outspoken. I’m afraid I can’t ignore the topic here.
There’s a lot to do about our strategy. This strategy didn’t come out of the blue. It wasn’t made up by someone behind a desk, either. Our strategy is based on trend analyses from within, as well as outside, the sector. Think, for example, of the ongoing shift from clock sales to direct sales, digitalisation, internationalisation and sustainability.
We discussed these things intensively with all the different stakeholders three years ago. In the form of member sessions, discussions with our customer platform and conversations with members and customers, either one-on-one or in more formal, organised meetings. All to talk about and test this strategy. Neither the members nor the customers questioned the essence of it at that time. In fact, I’ve always felt there was a broad support.
Critical look at things
However, when it comes to the implementation of the strategy, that’s no longer the case. With the shared interest of the cooperative and the sector in mind, the Members’ Council were the first to take another, critical look at things. Other stakeholders subsequently shared their opinions, too. Each from their own perspective or interest.
We don’t ignore the different views. We felt, and feel, that we must keep up the pace and we’ve been looking for intensive collaboration in this regard. Our participation in Blueroots is a good example. Imposing obligations regarding digitalisation or sustainability has never been a principle.
Measures in these areas were introduced because it seemed they could help keep up the pace. They were introduced on the basis of our shared ambition of making the floriculture sector future-proof and maintaining the position of flower country the Netherlands as an international hub. We’ve had explicit requests from various directions to keep up the pace.
In our recent communications, we pointed out that we’re developing our services to suit the segmentation of growers as well as buyers. Our aim is to offer more specific services per segment, without losing the overall advantages of scale. Certain aspects of our strategy aren’t compatible with a one-size-fits-all approach.
We listen carefully to the different views that are held within the sector, but sometimes, we just need to make a clear choice. Considering the enormous diversity among our thousands of growers, buyers and service providers, there’s no other option. And we make these choices based on the strategy that we’ve been communicating consistently during the past three years.
Steven van Schilfgaarde,
CEO Royal FloraHolland