Blog Simon van der Burg: Our social responsibility

I sometimes wonder what it is we’re doing here in Kenya – growing flowers or supplying the entire region with all sorts of things? Our company is inspected by the MPS/SQ and the Kenya Flower Council each year. To make sure we’re doing all the right things. One to four inspectors visit us for two to four days and they review each and every aspect of the company.

The most important point is always: how do you treat your employees and what do you do to contribute to the local community? I’ve always learned that you have to make sure people are proud to work for you. That doesn’t just happen by itself, so we make clear that everyone is equally important at our company. Whether they’re cleaning the toilets or taking care of the bookkeeping. Everyone should be happy to go to work. With staff that’s motivated, Kenya is a great place to grow roses.

Nonetheless, these kinds of inspections still make us slightly nervous. Are we going in the right direction? Is everybody participating? Things like that. It was our turn again last week. We received the final report on Saturday. Everything was in order and there wasn’t a single employee that was unhappy. Something that all of our 2,000 employees can be extremely proud of! From top to bottom.

And this doesn’t just reflect how we manage our nursery. It also says something about how we give back to the local community. We build classrooms, police stations, day care centres, construct new roads and plant trees. We’re involved in nature conservation; we’re protecting the Ngare Ndare woods and the Mount Kenya woods. And all our efforts are so worthwhile.

We’re based in a great place, with great people. The most beautiful place to grow roses, and we’d like to keep that way. Part of the equation is that all our flowers are distributed through FloraHolland’s auction clock. This is by far the fairest and most transparent way. Everyone has the same opportunity to buy our flowers. The only people who haven’t understood this yet are those of FloraHolland themselves.

Patience is a virtue. We’ve just spent a whole year waiting for rain. Now we’ll just wait until the penny finally drops at FloraHolland.

 Simon van der Burg

Rose grower, Kenya




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