"I prefer to speak of sustainable development rather than sustainability. That suggests a proactive and lasting approach. Sustainability is not just the latest craze.” These are the words of Stefanie Miltenburg, Sustainability Program Manager at Royal FloraHolland, one of the accelerators of the Floriculture Sustainability Initiative (FSI).
"Fortunately, people are increasingly realizing that the earth is not an infinite source of raw materials. Or a bottomless pit. We must do everything in our power to manage people and the environment as sustainably as possible."
For Royal FloraHolland, sustainable development means close cooperation between the company, the members of the cooperative and the (chain) partners in the floriculture industry. "17 Sustainable Development Goals have been set on a global level. We are examining which goals are important to us and in which areas we have an influence. We are working together with our members on this. The Members' Council is the logical place to discuss this, prior to discussing it externally."
Stefanie has noticed that people often consider sustainability to be a container concept. "It is important to clearly identify the themes that are important for our sector. That is why we have mapped out these themes in recent months, creating structure. It is essential for Royal FloraHolland to realize and maintain sustainable production and a sustainable marketplace." Stefanie gives concrete examples of the activities the company and its members currently want to prioritize. "We are urging members to start working with digital environmental registration and certification. And we want to reduce single-use packaging. We do this together with the Sustainability Leading Team (which consists of members) and through member consultations."
FSI is the leading initiative within the international floriculture industry with regard to sustainability. It was established by the sector and currently has more than 50 members. "As an accelerator, we are working together to set the standard for sustainable production and trade. This is now mainly linked to an FSI-recognized certificate. That is why we are encouraging our members to go along with the market demands." Stefanie has noticed an increase in the supply of certified products. "For Dutch growers, a MPS-GAP or Global G.A.P. certificate is currently the best choice. It is a misconception that members must be members of FSI in order to be certified."
Respect for people and the environment
Royal FloraHolland is currently working on making certificates more visible in Floriday and thus in the sales channels. "This offers growers an opportunity to market themselves and distinguish themselves. It also allows customers to buy more efficiently." Together with FSI, the accelerators want to respond to pressing issues and recruit more members. "With more members there is more support and there is more pressure on the end customer to make the same demands. We must also be transparent towards the consumer and show where our flowers and plants come from. In particular, we must demonstrate that they have been produced with respect for people and planet. In this way we contribute positively to the reputation of the sector so that everyone can continue to enjoy beautiful flowers and plants."
Souce: Royal FloraHolland