Dutch Flower Group, Waterdrinker, Royal Lemkes and Royal FloraHolland are going to increase their focus on a sustainable, future-proof floricultural industry, where plants and flowers are cultivated and traded with respect for people and the environment. To this end, they signed the manifesto ‘Speeding up Sustainability and Transparency Together’ on the 23rd of May.
With this manifesto, the four parties, all members of the Floriculture Sustainability Initiative (FSI), want to give FSI a boost. The ambition of FSI is that by 2020, 90% of the flowers that FSI members trade on the international market, will be produced in a sustainable way. Considering the current situation, the floricultural industry still has to do a lot of work, before all growers will be working in accordance with the certifications.
The participants said that, “If we want to continue giving our wonderful plants and flowers a prosperous future, sustainability is paramount for the international consumer. They expect a sustainable product. The definition of sustainable is in that case, that a plant or a flower is produced in accordance with international standards regarding social and environmental aspects. Those standards ar outlined in the various certifications that growers should obtain and are checked by independent inspectors on a regular basis.”
The initiators feel that floriculturists should become more aware of the fact that there is no future for them without sustainable products and Dutch growers should take the lead in this. “The Netherlands is obliged to do this, in their role as a global player in the trade and production of plants and flowers”, said Lucas Vos, CEO of Royal FloraHolland.
The four parties want growers to obtain the necessary certifications and they want to stimulate, support and facilitate them with that process. According to FSI, there are 14 different quality labels that could be used; the most common ones in the Netherlands are MPS-GAP and GlobalGAP. FSI doesn’t really mind about the exact label on the packaging, as long as growers adhere to the standards formulated by FSI. Existing certification labels, such as ‘Milieukeur’ and ‘PlanetProof’, can be benchmarked against this, but this certification label hasn’t been benchmarked yet. The FSI members aren’t keen on the introduction of new labels and certification marks, for example by individual retailers formulating their own sustainability requirements.
Dutch Flower Group, Waterdrinker and Royal Lemkes each invited 25 of their growers, all top companies, for a debate about the manifesto.
There’s already been another FSI member who indicated they want to sign the manifesto too. The four initiators won’t say who that is, though. They’d rather leave it up to their colleague himself, to announce this. They do hope that more FSI colleagues will follow.
The forerunners of the floricultural industry, together with the ‘Initiative Sustainable Trade’, founded the international platform Floriculture Sustainability Initiative in 2012. FSI brings together growers, traders, Royal FloraHolland, industry organisations, certification bodies and NGOs, to work together on making the international floricultural industry more sustainable.