Fluwel research

What is the environmental impact of the Dutch flowerbulb sector?

For the past few years, customers have been asking a question that is not only important to them, but also to exporters and producers, and that is: what is the environmental impact of the flowerbulb sector? Are the flowerbulbs I am buying in a web shop ‘organic’? Are flowerbulb companies damaging our environment?

First of all it's important to distinguish between a few concepts that are often confused or vague: sustainable, organic, and environment-friendly.
  • Sustainable means that something has a long life expectancy. With sustainable improvements, we can provide this day’s generation in their needs, without jeopardizing the needs of any future generations.
  • Organic means something has been made of biological materials, or that it has been made during a natural growing process. Organic and biological are synonymic, and organic agriculture and production means that pesticides, herbicides and other products that may cause harm to our environment are used as little as possible, or not at all.
  • Environment-friendly means that the natural habitats of plants and animals are taken into account. When we are being environmentally friendly, we try to disturb the natural habitat as little as possible and to permanently change nothing.

photo: Flickr/Peterbijkerk.eu

Sustainability at Fluwel
What people are wondering is: to what extent can these concepts be applied to Fluwel?

"When we think about sustainability, we do not only think about what happens out on the land, but also about what happens in our warehouse. Then, we are talking mostly about the energy we use. We would first like to tell you that one of our biggest investments can be found in the Belkmerweg, almost next to Fluwel: our windmill. This windmill annually generates about 5 million kWh. In 2015, the exact number was 5.111.111 kWh. The amount of energy we used that year was 428.459 kWh, which resulted in a surplus of 4.682.652 kWh. We supplied that energy to the energy market, with which we actually contributed to the use of green energy in the Netherlands!

"Then, we get to organic. We can promise you that all the flowerbulbs we export, are sent to you in the exact same condition, as they were when they come into our warehouse. We do not add any pesticide, herbicide or chemical protection to the flowerbulbs we receive. From this point of view, it can be said that Fluwel is 100% organic. But, we also get our flowerbulbs imported from other growers. And what exactly has happened to those bulbs, we cannot know. We cannot tell you whether or not those flowerbulbs have ever seen one of those chemical additions, so that is why we would rather tell you about the flowerbulb sector in general, so you can plant your flowerbulbs without any worry this year."

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