Geert van Geest on LVG Plants’ new expansion

SA: Meeting the increasing houseplant demand, improving sustainability, creating jobs

"As a result of the increasing demand, we are going back to our roots and will be focusing on growing green foliage plants once again", says Geert van Geest, Managing Director of LVG Plants. In order to do so, LVG Plants is adding a new greenhouse, which will go into production early next year. The company aims to become more sustainable and further improve local unemployment. Van Geest explains how their decision to expand was influenced by the company's commitment to sustainability and social responsibility.



Going back to green foliage plants
After having focused on green foliage plants in the past, LVG Plants has concentrated more and more on flowering plants over the last decade. The undeniable demand for green foliage plants is the reason that the company has decided to expand their offering to once again supply green foliage plants to the South African market. "We have noticed that the South African demand for all plants and flowers has been increasing since the pandemic. People have been especially interested in foliage plants. In order to provide, an additional two-hectare production facility is under construction."

Sustainability
The new two-hectare expansion will include a major sustainable aspect. "Sustainability is important to us, and we want to improve on this. In 2016, we embarked on a solar thermal project to produce hot water for the heating of the greenhouses. We are now going a step further by adding 1200 sqm PV panels to power the new production facility. Construction of this facility has started, and we aim to have it at full capacity by early 2022. LVG Plants' target goal is to be able to produce all crops by farming as sustainably as possible by 2030.  They are using as many electric vehicles as possible, are switching from plastic materials to paper, and are committed to switching to green energy. "We make decisions based on the future impact. While producing beautiful flowers and plants, we want to make sure that we are leaving behind a less polluted world for future generations," explains Van Geest.

Social responsibility
In addition to being environmentally conscious, LVG Plants aims to improve the local unemployment rate as well.  Van Geest explains: "In South Africa, 40% of the population are unemployed, which is a major concern.  As a company, we have a social responsibility as we can create jobs for the local people. Again, this is a huge factor that we take into consideration in our decision-making. We are interested in automating some of our processes, but we decided to pause that for the moment and see how many jobs we can create with this new expansion." Van Geest explains that during the pandemic, there have been food shortages in South Africa. "We started a non-profit organization called 'Together We Bloom' in order to contribute and assist those most vulnerable. In the future, we are planning to focus more on local education. Our company aims to add plants and flowers to brighten people's lives, as well as contribute towards community welfare in any way we can".


For more information:
LVG plants 
www.lvgplant.co.za 


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