Working together towards sustainability
  
MPS aims to help improve sustainability in the global flowers and ornamentals sector through means such as reducing the environmental impact of crop protection products throughout the chain. We are working together with numerous different parties to realise this ambition.

The international FSI sustainability network is growing rapidly, as are other national and international sustainability initiatives such as IMVO, aided significantly by the government.  Increasing numbers of partners throughout the flowers and ornamentals chain are also joining in as they recognise the power inherent in joining forces to make progress. MPS is supporting the sector’s ambitions by providing knowledge and tools. 

This issue of MPS NewsFlash contains more information about our collaboration with FSI. We’ll also take a look at the upcoming innovations in our MPS-ABC programme and the updated usage registration. 

Yolande van den Boom, CEO MPS Group
 
 
FSI Chain Transparency Project
The MPS-NewsFlash editors interviewed two members of the MPS project team about the role of MPS and the project’s objective.

FSI and MPS
The Floriculture Sustainability Initiative (FSI) is a sustainability network organisation consisting of various national and international parties (agriculturalists, growers, trade companies, retailers, sector organisations and the owners of certification schemes) and NGOs working together towards a more sustainable flowers and ornamentals sector. MPS is involved in this as part of its ambition to help reduce environmental impact throughout the chain. FSI also unites parties in a joint effort to make sustainability efforts more transparent. Harold Beek, Deputy Director at MPS: “One of FSI’s greatest achievements is the collaboration among parties in the chain. The parties are continually engaging with one another in various groups and combinations to discuss and accelerate progress.” FSI’s main goal is to ensure that 90% of all products traded by its members are purchased and traded sustainably by 2020. 
MPS project team: Remco Jansen, Harold Beek, Anja Kodde and Luisa Mealha-Stigter
Transparency regarding the use of substances is a central focus of the Chain Transparency project that MPS has been carrying out together with FSI since 2017. “MPS is working on a number of issues that are part of the larger context of sustainability instruments,” says Remco Jansen, Commercial Manager at MPS. Examples include innovative tools and certification programmes.

An important goal of the project is to reduce total environmental impact. “We will achieve this through intensive collaboration with knowledge institutes such as Proeftuin Zwaagdijk and by running an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) project with Koppert Biologicals, for example,” says Beek. “The results will increase our knowledge and enable organisations like MPS to develop solutions.”

MPS develops tools based on its collaborations with stakeholders and contributions to research projects such as Chain Transparency. This includes tools that make sustainability efforts measurable (for example, the Environmental Impact Indicator for Crop Protection Products; MPS-MIND) and management tools. Beek: One example of a management tool is the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategy tool that we are involved in developing together with Club van 100 and PPS TKI. We are also collaboratively developing a method of making IPM measurable. The knowledge that we gain from other projects, such as the Chain Transparency project, is also very useful. By making connections between these activities, we’re able to devise sustainability solutions, such as improving MPS-MIND.” 

“The market is showing a shift at the macro level towards instruments that help to improve sustainability. The MPS certification programmes and tools are a means of making sustainability efforts transparent and reliable. So you’ve got everything from pure certification to the measurement of sustainability efforts,” says Remco Jansen.
The Chain Transparency project is focusing on monitoring the chains for seven flowers and ornamentals products (Chrysanthemum, Kalanchoe, Anthurium, potted Phaelonopsis, Lavender, Miltonia and Dendrobium) for a period of three years. This entails following the entire chain from starting materials to finished products, with samples being taken at various stages in the chain. These will test cuttings, rooting and cultivation, with the aim of gaining insight into environmental impact throughout the chain, particularly with respect to crop protection products. According to Beek, greater knowledge and understanding is necessary to enable a reduction in the use of these substances and the resulting residues, and to ensure that market requirements are met. The entire chain is being investigated, which can mean that even if a greater quantity of crop protection products is used in one part of the chain, there is a net reduction in the total amount used throughout the chain.
  
Jansen adds: “In addition to developing our knowledge, we also need to create awareness. The Chain Transparency project focuses mainly on continents such as Africa and Central America, because these regions are the source of much of the cutting material used in the sector. Growers of the end products have to realise that they can’t work in isolation; instead, they’re dealing with both indirect influences and chain influences. This highlights the importance of collaboration!”
 
MPS and FSI in Central America
FSI and MPS visited Central America together (Costa Rica, Guatemala and Nicaragua) from 16 to 25 September. 

The visit was part of the Chain Transparency project, which is investigating sustainability solutions in the chain. Local growers, exporters and relevant stakeholders were also informed about market developments, as well as about global developments and requirements relating to sustainability. 
The following interview with Marcel Zandvliet (Director Marketing/CSR, Dutch Flower Group) was screened during the meetings in Central America.
Visits to growers in Costa Rica, Guatemala and Nicaragua were part of the trip. During these visits, we were able to witness the efforts made by growers to meet the FSI ambitions and the certification requirements that play a role in the market. We also found out about the work they are doing to further improve their ecological footprint, their qualifications for MPS-ABC, and towards meeting the requirements of programmes such as MPS-GAP. Examples of this work are the installation of solar panels, rainwater collection initiatives, and the installation of biobeds.
Antigua Flowers/Fides Guatemala
Las Limas, Ball Horticultural
In collaboration with FSI and local partners, seminars were organised in both Costa Rica and Guatemala to inform local growers about joint projects currently under way. In Costa Rica, the seminar was held at Orange Plaza in collaboration with the Dutch Embassy in San Jose. The seminar in Guatemala was organised in partnership with Agexport. Both seminars were attended by more than 35 growers. FSI and MPS made a presentation, which was followed by an energetic discussion on three themes: traceability, customer demand and the use of crop protection products. The growers received valuable information which will be used in the Chain Transparency project. 
Kick-off seminar, Dutch Embassy’s Orange Plaza in San Jose, Costa Rica
FSI/MPS seminar, Agexport in Guatemala
 
Salon du Végétal in Nantes
Round table meeting about the acceptance of IPM in the market
During Salon du Végétal, MPS and Excellence Végétale/VAL’HOR organised a meeting about the acceptance of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) by the market. Attendees included representatives from the French Ministry of Agriculture and the retail and trade sectors, as well as growers. In essence, the meeting discussed the problem of purchasers rejecting ‘poor quality’ products, for example due to the presence of traces of useful insects. The conclusion reached during the meeting was that research needs to be done to find out the ‘damage threshold’ that would be acceptable to consumers. Training and improved communication relating to IPM are also necessary.
Marie-Françoise Petitjean
Coordinator, MPS France
 
MPS present at 'Good Agricultural Practices' meeting
Last week, there was a meeting on ‘Good Agricultural Practices’ in Valencia (Spain). This was initiated by ASFPlant, Valencia’s association of pot plant producers.

During the morning, attendees discussed good agricultural and hygienic practices in the flowers and ornamentals sector, followed by a session on the vital importance of well-organised crop registration. In the afternoon, René Rombouts (Coordinator, MPS Spain and Portugal, see photo) gave a presentation on the differences between MPS-GAP and GLOBALG.A.P., in which he made reference to the FSI2020 requirements and other related matters.
The chain parties that endorse the FSI2020 objectives expect growers to comply with credible record-keeping from 2021 onwards. This criterion is already effectively covered by MPS-ABC certification. There is a clear increase in the number of companies in the Spanish flowers and ornamentals industry that hold MPS-ABC and MPS-GAP certification, with the current total being 135 companies. 
 

MPS-ABC programme changes and updated usage registration
 
Sustainability is becoming increasingly important, including in the horticulture sector. Society and the market are changing, and MPS is following suit. 

This means that there will be changes to the MPS-ABC certification programme. We’ll publish the updated MPS-ABC Certification Scheme on our website at the end of 2019, and the new scheme will come into effect at the end of 2020. The registration environment will be updated as a result of these changes, and participants will be transferred in stages, commencing early in 2020. MPS-ABC participants have already been informed about the upcoming changes.

Overview of the most significant changes:
- Mandatory registration per application of plant protection products and fertilisers. 
- Tighter requirements for the purchase of starting materials and additional purchasing, in order to further close the chain.
- Retroactive registration will become more difficult. 
- Legal authorisation of plant protection products will be more actively checked on a per country basis.

Participants will be kept informed via the MPS-Newsflash and e-mail messages.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact:
Service & Support
T +31 (0)174 615 715
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If you have any questions about any of the topics in this Newsflash, please contact Service & Support.

T +31 (0)174 615 715
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MPS has compiled this newsletter with great care.
MPS is not liable for any consequences – such as any losses incurred or any loss of profit – arising from action undertaken in response to this newsletter.

 
 
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MPS-ABC, MPS-GAP and MPS-SQ for Guatemalan grower
Three MPS certificates in a row: a fantastic achievement that Ter Laak Americas can proudly share with its customers. At the end of June, the orchid nursery in Jalapa, Guatemala was the first company of its kind in Central and South America to receive not only the MPS-ABC certificate, but also the MPS-GAP and MPS-SQ certificates. Obtaining all these certificates is a significant challenge for growers in this region. Pedro Luna, manager of Ter Laak Americas, is very proud of the result. “We strongly believe that sustainability is the future for us all.”

Ter Laak Americas was established in 2015, when three partners joined forces to start a one-hectare orchid nursery to grow flowering plants for the local market and young plants for the export market. One of the partners is Ter Laak Orchids, a Dutch company that already holds MPS-ABC, MPS-GAP and MPS-SQ certificates and participates in the MPS-ProductProof scheme. Luna: “That helped us to meet the criteria, since we were already doing many of the things that the scheme requires.” The MPS-GAP certificate covers traceability, sustainability, safety and hygiene, while MPS-SQ focuses on proper working conditions.
Profitable and sustainable
The greenhouse in Jalapa features innovations such as three-layered plastic walls that reduce energy consumption, organic waste composting, energy and shadow-generating screens and rainwater collection. “Our strategy is to be both profitable and sustainable, while providing our employees with the pleasant working environment they deserve,” says Luna. Local employees are the driving force behind the company. “We have 25 permanent employees, and we provide them with meals during the breaks. Any leftovers are fed to the pigs and sheep.”

Sustainable enterprise is becoming increasingly important in Central and South America. Arthij van de Veer, MPS coordinator in North and Central America explains: “This is due to growing awareness among both entrepreneurs and their customers. Customers are making more demands with respect to sustainability, so growers are responding by exploring the possibilities. It’s a gradual process, but if you compare today’s situation with how things were a decade ago, you can see a definite increase in awareness.”

Respect for the environment and human rights
Luna is extremely proud of the three MPS certificates. “We can now demonstrate to our customers that our orchids are a product of sustainable cultivation practices, and that we respect human rights. We hope to inspire other growers to increase the sustainability of their enterprises too.” What’s more, Luna concludes: “Certification helps you to monitor your production processes. The more data you gather, the greater your understanding will be, and the better you’ll be able to perform as a company.”
For more information, please contact:
Arthij van de Veer, General Coordinator for North & Central America
T +55 85 88 72 24 24/+1 805 813 0582
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MPS and FSI2020 organize meetings in Central America
 
MPS organizes two meetings in Central America, in collaboration with FSI2020. The central topic of these meetings is how current market developments influence management.
The following topics will also be discussed:
  • the vision of Dutch Flower Group and Koppert Biological Systems on sustainability and developments within FSI;
  • update on the project ‘Chain Transparency’ (more about this in the next MPS-Newsflash as well);
  • traceability throughout the whole chain;
  • how consumer's demands influence the production chain;
  • deployment of IPM (Integrated Pest Management).
If you operate in Central America and are interested in attending one of these meetings, then please contact:
Remco Jansen, Commercial Manager
T +31 (0) 6 51 27 40 01
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Transforming local green waste into sustainable energy for growers

Local green waste that would otherwise leave the province is being converted into sustainable energy in a biomass plant by three MPS-ECAS certified growers. ‘With the biomass plant, we’re reducing gas consumption and CO2 emissions and using sustainable CO2 to let the plants grow better,’ explains Pleun van Duijn, an aubergine grower and one of the project initiators.

The three growers – VOF Prominent Grevelingen (tomatoes), DT van Noord Tomaten B.V. (tomatoes) and Gebr. van Duijn (aubergines) – have united to form DES, which stands for Duurzaam Energie Sirjansland (Sustainable Energy Sirjansland). The companies have acquired  various certificates from MPS-ECAS, including GLOBALG.A.P. and On the way to PlanetProof. These certification schemes let organisations consider how to make their production process more sustainable.  
Aubergine grower Pleun van Duijn at the CO2 capture installation
100 tonnes of green waste
‘We started the plant with the aim of making our businesses more sustainable,’ explains Van Duijn. The three businesses began working together on sustainability issues a few years ago and have given consideration to a variety of different ideas. ‘We looked into using geothermal heat to generate energy, but the layers of the earth here aren’t porous enough for that. Biogas wasn’t an attractive option either, due to the fermentation of manure.’ When the vegetable growers attended a meeting organised by the municipality of Schouwen-Duiveland to examine how to make the island energy-neutral, they came into contact with foresters, campsite owners and other businesses that produce green and wood waste, and the idea to start a biomass plant was born. This would transform local green waste into sustainable energy for their greenhouses.

Wood chips are used as the basic material for heating the greenhouses and for producing the CO2 that the plants need to grow. In total the plant delivers 8 megawatts of heat, which is used to provide heating for 70% of the greenhouses. Producing that heat requires a substantial volume of wood chips, which are delivered daily by three trucks in the form of 100 tonnes of green waste. What remains after the wood chips are burnt is a pile of ashes. The aubergine grower would preferably use those ashes too, but notes that ‘farmers used to spread ashes on the soil, but aren’t allowed to do that anymore. We have taken samples though, so that we can investigate whether we can reuse the ashes.’
Storage shed containing wood chips and automatic crane system
Biomass plant with two CO2 spheres and heat buffers
Sustainable innovation
The smoke produced by the biomass plant is not dispersed into the air via a chimney, but is instead filtered and stored in two enormous spheres. Clean CO2 is then piped into the greenhouses, where it is mixed with air and encourages the growth of the plants. The project received a sustainable business grant to fund this innovation. ‘Each year the plant delivers a 12 million kg reduction in CO2 emissions from fossil fuels and saves 7 million m3 of gas,’ says Van Duijn. The project has cost around 9 million euros. ‘If everything goes to plan, we’ll recoup the cost of the system in 12 years.’

Further sustainability plans
Now that their biomass plant is up and running, the three growers are working on further sustainability plans. ‘The biomass plant needs energy, for instance to power its pumps. We’re going to generate this energy using solar panels. By the end of the year the roof of the plant room will be completely covered with 760 solar panels,’ the aubergine grower explains. In this way the three growers are completing the circle. ‘We’ve delivered something wonderful. All the local biomass is now being used to generate energy and heat our greenhouses.’ 
 
Sustainability central topic of Plantarium 2019
 
MPS was present again last week during the fair Plantarium, from 21-23 August 2019 in Boskoop. 'Green Fits All' was the slogan everything was centred around at this time.
 

Plantarium is the leading international tree nursery trade fair. Participants from 15 different countries and trade visitors from 48 countries underline the international nature of the fair and make Plantarium the leading wholesale market for tree nursery products in Europe.

MPS was present at Plantarium with a renewed fair stand to talk to growers about the latest developments in sustainability, innovative tools and certification in this field. Jasper van Diemen, coordinator the Netherlands MPS: “We notice that sustainability is a topical issue within this sector. Certification is looked at more and more as a tool and not as a goal to produce more sustainably and to lift business processes. to a higher level. We also notice a growing interest in our services from the tree nursery sector”. 

Would you like to know more about certification, then please contact:
Jasper van Diemen, Commercial Coordinator the Netherlands
T +31 (0) 6 30 15 91 66
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Jasper van Diemen (MPS) during Plantarium
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If you have any questions, please contact the MPS Service & Support team in the Netherlands:

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This newsletter is carefully composed by MPS.
MPS does not take any responsibility for the accuracy or reliability of the information in this newsletter.

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MPS signs statement of support for ICSR agreement
Yolande van den Boom (CEO MPS-Group)
Last week, the World Horti Center in Naaldwijk signed the International Corporate Social Responsibility (ICSR) Agreement for the flowers and ornamentals sector. The objective is to promote more responsible international production and trade in ornamental plants. CEO of the MPS Group, Yolande van den Boom, signed the statement of support on behalf of MPS. 

In the first year, projects will be launched to support the living wage and the impact of crop protection agents on people and the environment. The scope of the agreement covers the chains for the breeding and the production of flower bulbs, plant propagating materials, cut flowers, ornamental greenery, trees and pot and bedding plants. The Netherlands is an important hub in the international flowers and ornamentals trade. Our small country exports flowers and plants to the value of 6 billion euros worldwide and imports more than 600 million euros worth of products from Africa and more than 100 million from South America. Kenya, Ethiopia, Ecuador and Colombia are all important countries for imports. Around 600 Dutch trading companies operate internationally. The agreement was established after intensive consultations under the leadership of the Dutch Social and Economic Council. It builds on the existing Floriculture Sustainability Initiative (FSI), a sector initiative.

Yolande van den Boom: ‘For many years, MPS has been actively trying to reduce the environmental impact that the flowers and ornamentals sector has, to make the global flowers and ornamentals sector more transparent and ultimately to make the entire sector more sustainable. In addition, MPS offers trade and social certifications. Apart from intensive collaboration with FSI, we are glad we have this opportunity to express our support for this sector-wide agreement. The demand for sustainable flowers and ornamentals products with reliable product information is growing; we can only achieve this through a sector-wide approach!’
  
The ICSR Agreement for the flowers and ornamentals sector has been signed by: The minister of Agriculture Nature and Food Quality – minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation – AFRI FLORA – Albert Heijn – Dümmen Orange – the Dutch Flower Group – Fleura Metz – Floratradeconsult – Royal Lemkes – Waterdrinker – HIVOS – FNV – Royal FloraHolland – Greenhouse Horticulture Netherlands – the Dutch Gardening Sector – the Association of Wholesalers in Flower Nursery Products.

Those expressing their support include:
Chrysal – Koppert – Max Havelaar –  MPS – the Dutch Foundation for Nature Conservation and Environmental Protection
Change in points allocation for the use of agents
 
The MPS-MIND methodology classifies all crop protection agents on the basis of the environmental impact they cause. Agents that have a high environmental impact are categorised as ‘red’, agents with the relatively lowest environmental impact as ‘green’, and agents in the middle of the spectrum are labelled ‘orange’. 

Standards for the use of these agents are set for each category. Given the greater environmental impact that red and orange agents have, less of these agents may be used compared to green agents. In practice we have seen a decrease in the use of red and orange agents in recent years, and an increase in the use of green agents. As a result, a group of participants has exceeded the upper limit for the use of green agents, creating a negative score for this component. 
To get a good MPS score, growers must use less green and more orange and/or red agents. This feels as though it is going against all the principles. To take this into account, MPS has decided to do away with the negative points for using green agents.
 
This measure influences the score and the qualification of a small percentage of MPS-ABC participants. These participants will see the difference in the number of points obtained, starting with the qualification for Period 7.
 
It is important to mention that this is a temporary measure. Improving the current MIND methodology, to make it more future proof, is high on the MPS agenda. This could lead to participants who now have an advantage because of this change seeing their points for comparable consumption falling in the future.

For more information, please contact Martine Holtkamp at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
MPS-ABC qualification as a new participant
 
MPS is regularly asked whether new participants start at MPS-C level. This is not the case. The MPS-ABC qualification is calculated based on the use of agents during the previous year. To be granted a qualification, the participant has to register its use over an entire year. In addition, the participant has to successfully complete the initial audit. The participant is registered as ‘Non Qualified’ between the time its joins MPS-ABC and obtaining a qualification. After completing the initial audit, the participant is awarded a C, B, A or A+ qualification based on its usage data.

So it is not true that new participants start at MPS-C level!
MPS has now passed the 50 countries milestone
 
MPS has a global presence. There are now MPS-ABC participants in 51 countries. Our latest MPS-ABC participants are located in: Algeria, Lithuania, South Africa and Suriname!
Company focus: Newday Farms Turkey
Since it was founded in 2018, Newday Farms, a Turkish company, has already planted 520 trees in exchange for selling carnations. Production and profit are not their only and most important goals; sustainability, rights for employees and traceability are given just as much priority. Their MPS-A score is an important factor in this. Seval Öz, founder and co-owner of Newday Farms: ‘For us, MPS-ABC is the basis of sustainable production from the seedling through to the packaging of the product.’

MPS-A score as ‘green’
After successively recording thirteen consecutive periods, Newday Farms was immediately classified as MPS-A. ‘From the get-go, sustainability was at the top of the list and we aimed to minimise the use of fertilisers and pesticides,’ the owner tells us. ‘Using the MPS-ABC system, we have been able to examine and analyse our use of pesticides and fertilisers. This has had a major, positive impact on our use and selection of certain agents.’ 

‘As a company we also feel our social responsibility and so we contribute to social projects. We work with environmental organisations and NGOs, and we plant forty to fifty trees every month in exchange for the number of flowers we sell,’ Öz explains. Customers are regularly sent an update of the number of trees planted. Öz: ‘We send customers certificates of the trees we have planted with their names on them. This is how we hope to invest in a sustainable future in this way.’
Turning point
Through MPS-ABC membership, sustainability as an ideal is not kept secret: an MPS-A score is international proof that our participants’ production is sustainable. ‘Sustainable production is important to our buyers, and often it is also a condition for delivery,’ Öz points out. What’s more, the processes in the company have become a lot more efficient thanks to MPS-ABC, which means they have better control over costs. ‘We have been able to analyse the production process better. I personally learned a lot from MPS-ABC; my management skills have improved a great deal. The certificate was the turning point for me to organise my work more efficiently.’

Of course the company still makes mistakes, but not many. ‘What helped was the way MPS explained the philosophy and purpose behind MPS-ABC. And thanks to this, we don’t make many mistakes. MPS also takes domestic regulations into account and we are given advice so that we can continue to grow as far as sustainability is concerned.’

Should you have any questions, please contact Raymond Scheepens: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Seval Öz

If you have any questions, please contact the MPS Service & Support team in The Netherlands at:
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This newsletter is given in good faith by MPS.
MPS cannot assume any responsibility for the accuracy or reliability of the information contained in these newsletter.

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MPS strives to make the flowers & ornamentals sector more sustainable in a transparent, quantifiable way. We predict that Credible Record Keeping in particular will become more important in the near future, and after 2020, initiatives like the FSI will simply demand it. 

In this Newsletter, we will delve into the FSI’s current and future (post-2020) developments, and take a look at how MPS-ABC participants are already meeting these future requirements now. The FSI is introducing a new, third basket, centred around Credible Record Keeping.
We are proud that MPS is now already prepared for the post-2020 FSI plans, and that MPS-ABC has been included in the latest FSI basket. 

On top of that, MPS is constantly undertaking improvements to its own processes and products, such as the MPS-ABC registration tool aimed at facilitating Credible Record Keeping. We are working hard to optimise this tool’s user-friendliness and requirements for the near future. More information will follow in the next Newsletter.

Yolande van den Boom (MPS Group CEO)
FSI2020: Current state of affairs and the way forward after 2020

FSI objective
The FSI is a network organisation of various parties and NGOs that are working together towards a more sustainable Flowers & Ornamentals sector. MPS is involved in this network as part of its ambition to reduce the impact of crop protection products throughout the chain, and to unite parties in working together to make sustainability efforts more transparent. The objective of the FSI is to ensure that 90% of all products traded by its members are purchased and traded sustainably by 2020.

Current state of affairs
The latest measurements based on the 2017 figures indicate that the FSI has achieved approximately 60% of its objective. Jeroen Oudheusden (FSI Programme Manager): “We still have a lot of catching up to do in the future, but you can clearly see an enormous increase in awareness in recent years, which has also led to more action. More and more companies are recognising the usefulness and necessity of certification; it has now become indispensable. Not only for guaranteeing transparency, but also for securing your own processes and improving your company.” 
Jeroen Oudheusden
Certification
Certification is not a goal in itself but a means to an end. Oudheusden: “Make sure your crop registration is in order. By securing your processes and comparing validated data, you can also monitor the progress of fellow growers who grow the same product in the same way, and see how you stack up. Growers who choose not to participate in secured crop registration (by means of MPS-ABC, for instance, ed.) are simply depriving themselves of an opportunity to learn. All growers who do not have their affairs in order and fail to be sufficiently transparent pose a risk to the entire sector and will soon no longer have any business in the sector at all; sustainability has become absolutely essential.” 

Overarching approach
In order to achieve the FSI objective, the sector must intensify and accelerate its transition to sustainable practices. The only way this can be done is by adopting an overarching approach. Oudheusden: “Growers, traders and retailers have to provide insight into their sustainable products; this will allow growers to stand out and traders to target their purchasing. In the long term, certified products should become a basic prerequisite for any marketplace.” 

After 2020
The FSI ‘Basket of Standards’ currently consists of a list of international certificates that meet FSI criteria in one or both of two categories – social and environmental. 

The environmental basket is set to be split into a ‘Good Agricultural Practices’ basket and a new, third ‘Environmental’ basket. After 2020, Credible Record Keeping will become a prerequisite for inclusion in this third basket with its environmental scope. There are currently three scheme owners in the world who have indicated that they will satisfy the FSI criteria after 2020; Kenya Flower Council Silver Standard, Florverde Sustainable Flowers, and MPS-ABC/MPS-GAP/MPS-SQ). Oudheusden: “It is essential to make sustainable development transparent and quantifiable in every way; only then can we start taking steps towards reducing environmental impact.”  
 
For more information about FSI2020 and Credible Record Keeping, please contact Eveline van Hooren at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
New FSI 'Basket of Standards'
FSI members
   Van der Hoorn Orchids receives MPS-GAP and MPS-SQ certification during Orchid Inspiration Days 2019
Maurice van der Hoorn
During the third edition of the Orchid Inspiration Days , Maurice van der Hoorn of the Van der Hoorn Orchids nursery received his MPS-GAP and MPS-SQ certification. Prior to this, Van der Hoorn Orchids had already been MPS-A+ certified, in addition to participating in MPS-ProductProof. 

Van der Hoorn Orchids has always been a pioneer in the field of sustainability. Since 2006, Van der Hoorn has been growing its orchids in a gas-free greenhouse, with 80 different species currently being cultivated in a greenhouse heated to 28°C by energy extracted from the soil. During the summer, this energy is also stored underground, reducing overall energy consumption by 40%.

Van der Hoorn, speaking about his new MPS-GAP and MPS-SQ certificates: “MPS-GAP and MPS-SQ deal mainly with internal business processes, traceability, safety and good working conditions. We already had all these elements in order, but this certification provides increased security. The associated audits will also keep us on our toes.” Asked whether the certification has led to an increase in paperwork, his brother Joris responds: “Apart from the fact that we’ve already been a pioneer in sustainability for years, I think we’re also making a lot of progress on ICT. MPS-GAP itself includes a digital handbook; however we’ve integrated this handbook and all the other MPS schemes into our ICT system, so that all the processes and ‘workflows’ run almost automatically. This allows us to continue raising our standards in every single way.” 

During the Orchid Inspiration Days, which run till 13 June, traders from all over the world will visit Van der Hoorn’s nursery and 13 other participating companies. 
Joris en Maurice van der Hoorn
MPS-ABC Tip
 
You can earn 10 points in MPS-ABC by recycling and disposing of waste responsibly. Organic waste, paper/cardboard, plastic and chemical waste all need to be processed and/or disposed of responsibly. 

Company focus: Queen Denmark
Best Practices thanks to-MPS certification

Nursery and family business Queen Denmark has participated in MPS-ABC since 1997 and is a real frontrunner in the field of sustainability. Queen is the world's largest kalanchoe grower and is MPS-A, MPS-GAP and MPS-SQ (Socially Qualified) certified.

Queen’s 120,000 m2 nursery is located in Denmark, and it also has a 100,000 m2 facility in Turkey and a 65,000 m2 facility in Vietnam (contract production), which mainly grow mother plants and starter materials. Queen is also MPS-ABC certified in these countries. In the Netherlands, Queen CutFlowers has a 40,000 m2 contract production facility. 

Queen has had a stable high monthly score in the MPS-ABC registration since 1997. MPS spoke to owner and CEO Frands Jepsen about Queen’s best practices in the field of sustainability and how they are maintaining their MPS-A status through continued improvement, particularly since the qualification standards are also regularly being raised.  

 
                                                                                                                                          Frands Jepsen 
Crop protection agents
Queen minimises the use of crop protection agents by using biological methods that not only combat diseases and pests, but also create a pleasant working environment for employees. Frands Jepsen: “This choice was made for both environmental and rational reasons, because kalanchoes simply do not tolerate most pesticides.”
 
Banker plants
One of Queen’s most important methods is to use banker plants, which they produce themselves. "Banker plants are simply wheat sown in pots. A specific aphid species with a preference for grass is then introduced. These aphids will not attack the kalanchoes, but stick to the banker plants instead, where they function as a kind of oasis for small parasitic wasps that eat the aphids”, says Ajs Dam, who is responsible for biological control at Queen. “The parasitic wasps bite the aphids and lay an egg that grows into a new wasp. The more wasps, the better – they are our very own sustainable little helpers, because they eat the aphids that would otherwise infect our kalanchoes. This process allows us to create a natural balance in our greenhouses and keep our use of chemicals to a minimum. In addition to making our production more sustainable, it also means our employees can enjoy a much healthier workplace,” Ajs Dam explains.
 
Other examples of biological control include the introduction of Hypoaspis mites to the soil to combat caterpillars and various types of insect eggs. A wide range of other initiatives are also being implemented and tested at the moment.
Energy
“Our well-insulated greenhouses and low-energy lighting have significantly reduced our energy consumption. In addition to other initiatives to improve our energy efficiency, we are now investigating how to store excess summer heat for use during the winter. Furthermore, Queen has managed to boost its MPS-ABC energy scores by using solar panels,” says Jepsen.
 
Water
Queen’s water management methods also score it points in the MPS-ABC system. Jepsen: “Biological sand filters enable us to treat and recycle water used to fertilise the soil. A 9,000 m3 rainwater tank meets all our irrigation needs, minimising our impact on the local water supply. Rainwater is also most suitable for our plants as it’s free of sodium and chloride.
 
Waste and recycling
On top of that, Queen varieties boast the highest ethylene resistance in the market, with benefits such as increased shelf life, less waste and enhanced ornamental value. Jepsen: Queen trades with market-leading retailers all over Europe. We guarantee 25% better sales than other suppliers as well as 50% waste reduction, in particular because of our products’ longer shelf life.”
Japanese delegation visits MPS participants
   Van der Hoorn Orchids
Last week, a delegation of companies from the Japanese flowers & ornamentals sector visited the Netherlands to learn more about our best practices in the field of sustainability and to find out how companies throughout the chain use MPS tools for continued improvement and sustainable development. 

Supply Chain
The delegation visited companies active throughout the supply chain, from a company producing starting materials and a nursery, to a trader/packer and an auction. 

After visiting Royal Flora Holland, they were given a guided tour
at Royal van Zanten. Here, they received an in-depth explanation of breeding techniques and viewed a demonstration of sustainable innovations. Maurice van der Hoorn (Van der Hoorn Orchids) gave a presentation about his Gas-free Greenhouse, and at Bloom (Dutch Flower Group) the delegation were able to view the end of the supply chain with a tour of the company’s efficient logistical processes. Bloom specialises in marketing high-quality cut flowers. 

To find out more about MPS activities in Japan, please contact Remco Jansen. E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
                                   Testroom at Bloom                                                                           Royal Van Zanten
Are you all ready for the uniform MPS vignette?

The uniform MPS vignette was introduced on 23 August 2017. This vignette replaced a multitude of MPS vignettes and logos that had been used in the flowers & ornamentals sector up to that time. Together with the interactive platform www.followyourflowerorplant.nl/en, the uniform MPS vignette contributes to uniform working methods and product labelling for products by MPS-certified companies, as well as offering transparency to consumers.

The old vignettes could be used until 31 December 2018. However, as of 1 January 2019, the old vignettes of the corresponding certificates may no longer be used on materials, such as packaging, plant markers, etc.


 

If you have any questions, please contact the MPS Service & Support team in The Netherlands at:
T. +31 174 615700
E. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

This newsletter is given in good faith by MPS.
MPS cannot assume any responsibility for the accuracy or reliability of the information contained in these newsletter.