IPM Essen focus country: Belgium
Ornamentals are the second biggest subsector in Belgium’s horticultural industry (after vegetable cultivation) and account for EUR 550 million of production each year. Although the number of companies involved has fallen in recent years, the area under cultivation and production value have both remained constant. Many companies have invested in new infrastructure and technologies to help them cultivate more sustainably.
Certification of ornamental growers 
At present there are not enough certified ornamental growers in Belgium. “This is partly due to the business model in ornamentals, under which firms organise their own sales and exports,” explains Bruno Gobin, managing director of PCS Ornamental Plant Research. “Vegetable growers are much more likely to be certified, because this is a requirement for auctions. There’s certainly scope for an expansion of certification in ornamentals. More and more companies are realising that certification opens up new trading channels, as well as providing greater insight into their operations.”
PCS supports ornamental growers, tree growers and landscapers by offering practical research, demonstrations and information. Its managing director says: “We are a knowledge institution offering solutions that companies can apply directly to their operations. We translate knowledge provided by various research partners into practical applications and we demonstrate how things can be done better in the field and in greenhouses.” PCS collaborates with companies to develop sustainable techniques to help growers make environmental and economic improvements. They also show companies how to take steps to actually achieve progress. Thanks to a substantial recent investment by the Flemish authorities, PCS now has its own state-of-the-art research facilities. “This is an impressive calling card for our innovative companies.” 

A sustainable future
Most Belgian companies already operate in quite a sustainable manner, but pay insufficient attention to ensuring that all of their good work is formally certified. “Certification allows you to communicate with other parties in the supply chain about the efforts you have made.
That’s why we expect many horticultural companies to take the first step towards basic certification in the years ahead, and then to progress to more stringent certificates,” says Gobin. 

MPS is a major player in Flanders, where a substantial number of horticultural companies hold an MPS-A certificate. Various traders and large retailers already require more stringent certification. Its managing director says: “It will be important for MPS to make sure that there are strong safeguards to ensure the quality of its certification throughout the supply chain, in order to provide a guarantee concerning environmental and quality requirements upon sale.” 
FSI General Assembly held during IPM Essen
The FSI General Assembly was held during IPM Essen on Thursday 24 January. At this annual gathering, attended by the board and almost all members, two new members were nominated: Syngenta Flowers and AIPH. Following a vote, Marcel Zandvliet (Director Marketing & CSR, Dutch Flower Group) was appointed to the Board, as representative for Trade (alongside Richard Fox, President of Union Fleurs).
MPS was represented by Remco Jansen (Commercial Manager), who gave a presentation on the joint projects currently being undertaken by MPS and FSI. These include the Chain Transparency project, which is aimed at reducing the environmental impact of the ornamentals sector (particularly from plant protection products) and achieving coordination on this subject throughout the supply chain. Remco Jansen says: “The presentation showed that we are making major progress: the use of plant protection products – particularly the most harmful products – is declining. We’re also working hard to match market demand more closely and developing smart tools that growers can use to make their activities in the supply chain more transparent and visible.” 
If you would like more information on MPS’s role in FSI, or if you have any other questions, please contact Remco Jansen:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 06 512 740 01
Aleia Roses presented with MPS-SQ certificate during IPM Essen
On Tuesday 22 January 2019, Aleia Roses was presented with its MPS-SQ (Socially Qualified) certificate. Gerrit Jan Vreugdenhil (Commercial Manager, MPS) handed the certificate over to María del Mar Parra, Agronomist at Aleia Roses.  The presentation took place at Aleia Roses’ stand at the IPM.

MPS-SQ certification allows companies to demonstrate their social engagement. Traders and consumers attach great importance to good working conditions. Ethical cultivation methods and product origin information
are also becoming more and more significant,  along with growers’ social engagement. The MPS-SQ certificate is based on universal human rights and codes of conduct drafted for local organisations. The International Labour Organization (ILO) is included too.

Aleia Roses, a Spanish company, aims to maximise organic production, while remaining socially engaged and mindful of the environment. The company was delighted to add this MPS-SQ certificate to the MPS-GAP and MPS-A certificates that it already holds.
MPS-GAP certificate presented to Boltha during IPM Essen
Bulb grower Boltha, from Breezand, was presented with its MPS-GAP certificate by Commercial Manager Raymond Scheepens during the IPM. More than 200 companies in the bulb sector now participate in MPS-ABC registration, accounting for approximately 33 percent of the land under cultivation. “Companies in this sector are increasingly opting for MPS-GAP because they realise that certification refines business processes and raises quality standards,” Scheepens says. 

Truus van den Berg-Smakman, from Boltha, explains:
“As a family company we want to operate sustainably, since the next generation also deserves a bright and healthy future. That’s why we have long been involved with MPS. We’re proud that, in addition to our MPS-A certificate, we’ve now taken further steps and are also MPS-GAP certified.” 
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 GLOBALG.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 GLOBALG.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..  
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. 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.

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.
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