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New MPS team in Germany
On 1 January 2019, a refreshed MPS team started work in Germany. Germany coordinator Silke Peters has left MPS after 7 years. Erika Boland of Aktenkraft has taken over her duties to become the new MPS coordinator for Germany.  

Her tasks include guiding growers and traders through the certification process. “We have become the German service department of MPS”, Vivian Pellens, Managing Director at Aktenkraft, explains.

In practice, however, nothing is changing for German MPS participants and the German MPS team will still consist of the same familiar faces. Karin Spengemann has been an independent MPS consultant in Germany since 2015, but has now joined the new team. She is responsible for growers in North and East Germany. Erika Boland has been working for the regions of West and South Germany since 2017.

The IPM in Essen is a great opportunity to ask questions or to meet the Germany team. Karin Spengemann, Erika Boland and Remco Jansen will all attend the event, and you can find them in the Aktenkraft booth (2E25) or in the MPS booth (1D12.25).

If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact Remco Jansen at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
First Chain of Custody certificate issued by MPS-ECAS
This week, MPS issued its first Chain of Custody certificate to Green Partners, a flower processing and bouquet production company that has been part of the Dutch Flower Group since 2000. 

The GLOBAL G.A.P. Chain of Custody Standard (CoC) is a certificate for all companies and retailers that deal with GLOBALG.A.P. certified products (or certification schemes benchmarked to this standard, such as MPS-GAP).

The GLOBAL G.A.P. CoC Standard tracks products throughout the entire process, from grower to retailer, setting requirements for handling certified products and the correct separation of certified and non-
certified products within various processing units.

This certificate allows traders, processors and distributors to credibly demonstrate that they sell certified products and to demonstrate traceability and means they can be included in the GLOBALG.A.P. database.

Colin Maas (Auditing Manager): “MPS-ECAS has been carrying out Chain of Custody audits since the autumn of 2018. Green Partners also obtained its Florimark GTP certificate, among other certificates, through us, which fits within MPS’ vision of becoming a one-stop shop for its customers. Becoming the first company to be CoC certified through us is a great achievement for Green Partners!” 
If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact Colin Maas at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Company in focus: OVATA from Bleiswijk
Bleiswijk-based OVATA grows about 50 species of succulents on 10.2 hectares, of which 70% are proprietary varietals. Succulents, a group of plants that includes cacti, are plants that can retain water to survive in arid circumstances. Every year, the potted plant company produces 10 million plants in pots ranging from 5.5 cm to 30 cm. The succulents are sold throughout Europe, Russia, Turkey and America, aided by a network of exporters. “If you can meet the strict requirements for the United States market, you can also export products to the rest of the world”, says OVATA’s Ivo van den Akker.

Sustainability and the environment
Sustainable enterprise is of paramount importance for this potted plant company, which strives to grow its succulents with fully sustainable methods. The company has the following certificates: MPS-A+, MPS-GAP, MPS-SQ, MPS-ProductProof (PP) and On the way to PlanetProof. They intend to be MPS-Quality and MPS-Natural Protected (NP) certified by 2020, as well. MPS-NP is a combination of MPS-ABC and MPS-PP involving entirely organic crop protection. “For us, certification is a means to an end, rather than a goal in and of itself. All the questions we have to answer keep us on our toes and let us know whether we are on the right track. The fact that we can turn to a single place for all these certificates is an added benefit.”

Van den Akker is also a member of the MPS Customer Panel: “This ensures that we’re always the first to hear about new future developments, but it also lets us stimulate MPS to take steps forward. We would like MPS to include carbon footprint calculations in the future.

Circular Economy Challenge
OVATA took part in the Circular Economy Challenge organised by Rabobank and KPMG. The company scan, which mainly focused on waste flows and further sustainability measures that could still be taken, highlighted two more areas of improvement for the potted plant company: making the switch to bioplastics and replacing artificial fertilizers with organic ones. 

Van den Akker: “Bioplastics may sound sustainable, but they aren’t. We researched them, but they take more energy to produce and release significant amounts of CO2. On top of that, they are also thicker, which means we would be able to fit fewer pots onto a pallet, making our freight transportation efforts less sustainable. We also looked into cardboard pots, but that wasn’t the solution either, because they don’t allow for long-term growing, which means we still need plastic pots. Besides, replacing plastic pots with cardboard pots would require two pots rather than one, which isn’t particularly sustainable. That is why we will continue to grow our plants in pots made of 100% recyclable plastic, which is the most sustainable option out there at the moment.”

He continues: “By 2025, we want all our products to be grown with entirely organic fertilizers and composts. Finding the right organic fertilizers, though, will require plenty of searching. The ultimate goal is to be SKAL certified in 2028, which requires using fully organic fertilizers and plant protection products. To obtain the SKAL certificate, however, our suppliers also have to meet the organic requirements, which will prove to be a challenge.”
Less packaging
Last year, the potted plant company switched to a demand-driven production philosophy: if demand drops, so will supply. This automatically reduces waste, seeing as no unnecessary production has to be thrown out. They have also started a project with IKEA to cut back on waste. OVATA produces plant concepts in ceramic pots, among others, for this major furniture retailer. These pots would first arrive in cardboard boxes from the supplier, selected by IKEA, but these are no longer used. This means less cardboard is needed and more pots can be fitted into a container. “This is a great example of how chain partners can collaborate to become more sustainable.”

OVATA has its own cardboard, FSC certified trays for four product lines: pure succulents, pearls, WOODS and ROCKS. The company uses residual heat rather than gas and uses no extra CO2. Van den Akker: “If we want to introduce CO2 into the greenhouse, we simply open up the air vents. There’s plenty of CO2 in the air, and due to the Europort, the concentration here is higher, especially with a southwesterly wind.” Furthermore, the potted plant company does not discharge any water and uses natural enemies and organic crop protection agents as much as possible.   
Country in focus: Spain
This month, Growers’ association Coplant Galicia S.L. started the MPS-ABC registration process in order to obtain the MPS-ABC certificate. Almost 150 companies in Spain and Portugal have preceded them. The decision to take part in MPS was an easy one; it ensures that all sustainability-related efforts are made visible and quantifiable, and the certificate is internationally recognized.

Sandra Pereira (Quality Manager at Coplant): “We used to have local certification, but found international recognition to be lacking, which was the main reason for us to make the switch to MPS. On top of that, MPS keeps upping its sustainability requirements, which makes sustainability into a continuous process.”  
René Rombouts (MPS Spain Coordinator): “In Spain, flowers & ornamentals have a relatively minor market share compared to fruit & vegetables, especially in Galicia, where Coplant is based. That’s why it’s even more important for growers of flowers & ornamentals to obtain certification in order to distinguish themselves and make their sustainability efforts visible.” 

If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact René Rombouts at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
MPS attends MANTS in Baltimore (USA)
From 9 to 11 January 2019, the 49th edition of MANTS took place in Baltimore (USA),  which MPS attended for the fifth time. Since MPS is growing in the US and has entered into a strategic alliance with AmericanHort, this fair has become increasingly important, particularly due to the growing number of MPS participants operating in the perennial and tree nursery sectors.  

AmericanHort has made environment & sustainability a key focus area for 2019, which fits in with MPS’s ambitions to make the American horticultural sector even more sustainable.  MPS will also attend the 50th (Jubilee) edition of MANTS in 2020. 

If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact Arthij van der Veer at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
HortiContact 2019 Gorinchem
From 19-21 February, the 16th edition of HortiContact (formerly the Tuinbouw Relatiedagen) will take place in Gorinchem. This trade fair is attended by more than just Dutch horticultural professionals, with the number of international guests increasing steadily every year. In recent years, visitors from Europe, the US, Canada, Australia and Asia made their way to this Dutch trade fair.
MPS will attend the trade fair again this year. Visit our booth (#E105) for more information about our products and services, as well as the latest developments with regard to sustainability in international horticulture. 

Download your free admission tickets here

If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact Raymond Scheepens at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or on tel. +31 (0) 174 615 715.

 The MPS vignette; are you ready? 
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, but 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.

Click here for more information.
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.

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