The ambition is to make our marketplace sustainable and thereby future proof. That is the reason that, as of 1 January 2022, environmental certification will be mandatory. So many growers, so many differences. Some are still at the start of the process, for others it’s as easy as pie. We love to share all of these stories. In the spotlight this time is Bianca van Eijk from agapanthus nursery Eyco. They have had an environmental certificate for years, but now they are encountering a problem anyway.
For Eyco, specialised in growing agapanthus in Pijnacker and Portugal, the environmental certificate is nothing new. They have been MPS-ABC certified, A+ since 2007. Bianca van Eijk, co-owner of Eyco, doesn't know any better than registering her water usage, energy usage, manure and crop protection products every single month. Cor van Eijk, father of Bianca and her brother Danny, started the company in the 90s of the previous century, at a different location. Even back then, being an entrepreneur, he was conscious of the energy and water usage and the type of manure and crop protection products he used. Bianca: "You are paying attention to costs, work as effectively as possible, and as a nature lover, you automatically make sure that you do not use any products that are really bad. Nowadays, sustainability is much more of a topic. You read more about it, you talk to other growers, and learn from their tips and ideas. That is certainly a good thing."
Searching for solutions
The nursery in Pijnacker is situated in a modern greenhouse, and the cultivation takes place in open soil. Sustainability is a complex theme, according to Bianca. "We are a small grower. We use relatively little amounts of energy and we do not use energy all throughout the year. Many big sustainability projects such as geothermal heat, solar panels and wind energy are just not interesting for us. It would only cost us a lot of money, which we would never be able to earn back. That is why we are looking for different ways to work as sustainable as possible. By registering through MPS, we can keep track of this. We definitely use as many organic products as possible. We try to use as little crop protection products as we can. In addition, we are also looking into different cultivation techniques, to allow us to use less water. This is how we try to keep improving our sustainability. Every little bit helps and we are looking for solutions ourselves."
Ready in a few clicks
Every quarter, Eyco receives a new certificate and report with an overview and graphs of their use. "The more you work with this system, the easier it becomes. With just a few clicks, I'm done. But I can imagine that people who have less experience with the internet and various systems, can have a little more trouble with it. To my father, this is all a bit complicated as well. However, do not let this stop you. I always say: if you don't try it, you can't know what you're missing. And yes, you have to keep track of what you are using. But it can also provide you with a lot of insight. Gather all your information, take a moment and in our case, we are done within an hour a month."
You'd say that it s all going well. The environmental certification is going smoothly. Yes... and no. In 2007, when Eyco was founded, there wasn't any choice. MPS was the only supplier of environmental certificates. "In that regard, I'm very happy that Royal FloraHolland has ensured there is another party. There is more choice, which means no monopoly for MPS. That forces them to remain sharp in their prices." That's true: all floriculturists can now also go to GreenlinQdata and GLOBALG.A.P. So what is the problem? Bianca: "Part of our flowers are cultivated in Portugal. We would love to switch to GreenlinQdata, but sadly: GreenlinQdata is not available to growers in Portugal. It is available to growers in Spain. Apparently, there are not enough growers located in Portugal. It would save us a lot of money if we could work with GreenlinQdata there as well. Maybe there are more growers who have this same problem? I would like to say to them: let it be known."
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