Environmental certification is good for the image of the marketplace05 November 2019
During the member sessions in June 2019, members discussed the objective of all suppliers having an environmental certificate by the end of 2020. Most growers support this goal and recognise the need for it, but is it achievable? And what does it mean for members who don't yet have a certificate?
Robin van der Knaap (De Wilgenlei) and Karolien Tesselaar (Tesselaar Alstroemeria) are part of the Sustainability Leading Team, which helps members obtain an environmental certificate. "The Sustainability Leading Team wants to make environmental certification accessible to everyone."
Meeting the requirements
Two topics have priority for the Sustainability Leading Team. "A marketplace where it is clear that the products supplied have been sustainably produced, and the packaging," explains Robin. "These topics have the highest impact." Karolien: "If you are transparent and register your resources, you can show exactly where a product comes from and which resources a grower uses. Transparency is important to demonstrate that products have been produced responsibly" Robin agrees. "An environmental certificate means that a grower meets the requirements. If large buyers demand a certificate, soon you won't be able to sell your product without one"
Getting behind it
Robin and Karolien acknowledge that there is still a lot of work to be done before all growers have an environmental certificate. Robin: "Currently, roughly 60% of our members are not yet certified. There may be various reasons for this. The costs are relatively high for small growers. Some growers are also considering quitting within a few years, and therefore believe certification is too much work. Other growers have insufficient capacity to do so. We make no value judgment, but trade is starting to move on all sides: time is rapidly running out." Karolien: "If we all get behind it, we will create a positive image for the marketplace and we will all benefit from that."
The plan is to help growers with digital registration and certification. Robin: 'Our focus is initially on digital environmental registration, after which we will look at certification and the FSI 'basket of standards'. Ultimately, it's all about this transparency, and digital environmental registration is the first step towards certification. We have agreed with the Members' Council and Royal FloraHolland that, by the end of 2020, all suppliers will actually have digital environmental registration, with a best-efforts obligation to certification. We all feel drawn to help with the digital environmental registration." It is not yet clear how this help will take shape. That's what the leading team is working on right now. So, no mandatory certification yet by the end of 2020, but a digital registration obligation? Robin: "We would prefer not to oblige anyone, but if you're being realistic, you must admit the market is obliging us to do it."
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