“There is no future without sustainability”

Sustainability is at the heart of the Dutch Flower Group (DFG). It has been fully integrated in the company's strategy. “We believe that we have to take responsibility”, says corporate social responsibility manager Raimon Loman. How does the world’s largest export company in flowers and plants do this?

With a turnover of more than 1.5 billion euros, the company realizes that it can make an impact on the floriculture chain. "Thanks to our scale size, we can take initiatives to work sustainably and to raise awareness about the theme of sustainability, but we cannot do this by ourselves. Sustainability concerns everyone."

Transparency
DFG is working on corporate social responsibility with all companies in the family. "That is one of the pillars of our strategy. For example, that means transparent and fair trade, sustainable deployment of employees and a volume of at least 90% of sustainably purchased products. Furthermore, our buildings are energy-efficient and CO2 reduction is an important theme." DFG's activities in the area of sustainability are connected to the so-called Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. "Every company in our family has a sustainability ambassador who is responsible for sustainability only. The strategy is provided by DFG, but the individual companies make the policies. The only objective that DFG truly enforces is the FSI objective that by 2020 90% of our purchased flowers and plants has to be produced sustainably."

Setting requirements
"We need to work towards sustainability together in the chain in order to make a true impact." That is why the company is one of the Accelerators within the Floriculture Sustainability Initiative (FSI). "It's more convincing when everyone spreads the same message: you have to reach growers and customers." DFG is helping to create a transparent chain, from source to end client. "DFG follows the FSI 'Basket of Standards', but certifications are a guarantee, not an objective. In order to achieve the objective of 90% of products produced sustainably by 2020, you must have started long ago, otherwise you won't make it. I think it would make an enormous difference if Royal FloraHolland starts setting requirements for supplied products soon to increase transparency in the chain and to give us, as a chain party, insight beforehand into grower certifications related to the products. This is necessary if we want to increase sustainability."

Footprint
Raimon believes that transparency and measurability will become even more important in the future. "What is the impact of the choices that you make, where are the opportunities to increase sustainability together? That is why we want to make our footprint transparent. This way, we can act and advise based on facts. We also want this transparency from our growers and suppliers. Which packaging materials are more sustainable, which crop protection products does the grower use, and to what extent and how often, what is a living wage? These are a few important questions that need to be answered. Then we can decide together how we can increase sustainability. This applies to our companies, but also to our growers and suppliers. The whole chain has to become more sustainable because there is no future without sustainability."

Source: Royal FloraHolland


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