Accelerators FSI hold on to sustainability ambition for floriculture sector and expand further

11 oktober 2021

The trading companies and Royal FloraHolland, the initiators behind the Acceleration Initiative within the Floriculture Sustainability Initiative (FSI) are pleased to announce that the Floral Trade Group and the Association of Wholesalers in Flower Nursery Products (VGB) have joined this initiative. The group consists of pioneers in the field of sustainability who want to make an active and accelerated contribution to a future-proof floriculture sector in which flowers and plants are grown and traded with respect for people and the environment. Both Floral Trade Group and VGB want to actively contribute to this, because they see sustainability as a necessary strategic subject. The group, started in 2017, currently consists of: Dutch Flower Group, Royal Lemkes, FM Group, Royal FloraHolland, and the recently joined Floral Trade Group and VGB, the association which has more than 150 trading companies as members.

Sustainability ambition for the coming years

Since its start in 2017, the Acceleration Initiative has jointly strived for the highest possible percentage of certified production and trade of flowers and plants. They also embrace the ambition of the internationally leading Floriculture Sustainability Initiative (FSI), at least 90% of the flowers and plants produced, purchased and traded by the FSI members will be sustainable by 2025.

The basis for this is the so-called FSI basket of standards which include 16 sustainability standards, divided into three focus areas, namely: G.A.P. (Good Agricultural Practices; Good Agricultural Practices), Social (social aspects, such as working conditions) and Environmental (environment). All organizations behind the Acceleration Initiative are, of course, members of FSI.

Significant increase in sustainably purchased and traded flowers and plants

Michiel de Haan, Managing Director of Royal Lemkes explains: ‘Over the past five years our Accelerationinitiatieinitiative inclosecooperation with FSI haveactually contributedto acceleration within floriculture in the field of sustainable inkooppurchasing and production. Under the previous FSI ambition for 2020 , the percentage of sustainable purchasing (measured in number pieces/stems) of and by FSI members has increased sharply: for plants from 53% in 2016 to 81% in 2020, and for flowers from 39% in 2016 to 73% in 2020. This shows that we are on the right track.”

CMO/CSO of Dutch Flower Group, Marcel Zandvliet: “We see that by working together in the field of sustainability we have not only been able to increase sustainable purchasing within floriculture, but also approach other themes together. This reinforces the message to our customers, from large-scale retailers to florists, to work on sustainability together with our growers.”

Importance of more cooperation within the floriculture chain

In the coming years, the Accelerators will collaborate more intensively with more chain parties. Nancy van Kleef, Director Marketing & Retail of FM Group: “We sit down with growers, other trading parties and other partners such as certifying institutions to discuss our shared ambition, interests and spearheads. By having a good insight and overview of all current initiatives, we make optimal use of the synergies that exist in relation to the pillars of FSI2025. This helps us to set and achieve goals in several areas, about which we will always communicate transparently.”

Via this way, the Accelerators are calling on all companies in the international floriculture chain: do you also want to contribute to our joint sustainability ambition as described above or if you have ideas or questions in this area, please contact us. Together we can achieve faster, more, and that will have a positive impact on our sector.

 Certificering remains the basis 

On the way to the FSI goal, it is very important that growers have at least environmental certification (which falls under the Environment scope of FSI’s Basket of Standards). This is the basis for mutually creating transparency in production and trade towards international customers. That is why we would like to focus on this together with the growers and support them if desired, as has been the approach since 2017.

Maarten Bánki, Sustainable Development Manager at Royal FloraHolland explains: “In recent years, Royal FloraHolland has held many meetings with growers to discuss what they encounter and how we can make it easier for them. We will continue with this unabated, where possible together with trading companies from the Acceleration Initiative. We have made good progress with that. More than 2,800 of our 5,000 suppliers already have a digital environmental registration and at the moment, more than 2,150 growers – who together represent 84% of the turnover – hold a valid environmental certificate. This is proof to us that we are on the right track.”