FSI accelerators maintain sustainability ambition for the floriculture industry and continue to expand
Floral Trade Group and the Association of Wholesalers in Floricultural Products (VGB) have joined the Acceleration Initiative within the Floriculture Sustainability Initiative (FSI). The group comprises sustainability pioneers who want to make an active and accelerated contribution to a future-proof floriculture industry in which flowers and plants are grown and traded with respect for people and the environment.
Both the Floral Trade Group and the VGB want to actively contribute to this, because they consider sustainability to be a necessary strategic issue. The group, launched in 2017, currently consists of: Dutch Flower Group, Royal Lemkes, FM Group, Royal FloraHolland and the recently admitted Floral Trade Group and VGB, the association with over 150 trading companies as members.
Sustainability ambition for the coming years
Since its launch in 2017, the Acceleration Initiative has been striving to achieve the highest possible percentage of certified production and trade of flowers and plants. In doing so, it has adopted the ambition of the internationally leading Floriculture Sustainability Initiative (FSI), which is that by 2025 at least 90% of the flowers and plants produced, purchased and traded by FSI members will be sustainable.
The foundation for this is the so-called FSI basket of standards, which includes sixteen sustainability standards divided into three focus areas, namely: G.A.P. (Good Agricultural Practices), Social (social aspects, such as working conditions) and Environmental (environment). All organisations behind the Acceleration Initiative are of course members of FSI.
Considerable increase in sustainably sourced and traded flowers and plants
Michiel de Haan, Managing Director at Royal Lemkes explains:
“In the past five years, our Acceleration Initiative—in close cooperation with FSI—has actually contributed to acceleration within the floriculture industry in the field of sustainable purchasing and production. Under the previous FSI ambition for 2020, the percentage of sustainable purchasing (measured in number of pieces/stems) from and by FSI members increased significantly: for plants from 53% in 2016 to 81% in 2020, and for flowers from 39% in 2016 to 73% in 2020. This demonstrates that we are on the right track.”
CMO/CSO of the Dutch Flower Group, Marcel Zandvliet:
“We have found that by working together in the field of sustainability, we have not only managed to increase sustainable purchasing within the floriculture industry, but are approaching other themes jointly as well. This reinforces the message to our customers, from large-scale retailers to florists, to work together with our growers in order to increase sustainability.”
Photo with four (of the six) representatives of the Accelerators. From left to right: John Zwaan, Marcel Zandvliet, Maarten Bánki and Michiel de Haan.
The importance of increased cooperation within the floriculture chain
In the coming years, the Accelerators will work more intensively with more chain parties. Nancy van Kleef, Director Marketing & Retail at the FM Group:
“We will meet with growers, other trading parties and other partners such as certifying bodies to discuss our joint ambition, interests and focus areas. By maintaining a clear overview of all current initiatives, we can make optimum use of the synergies that exist in relation to the FSI2025 pillars. This helps us to set and achieve goals in several areas, which we will also communicate transparently in each instance.”
The Accelerators hereby appeal to all companies in the international floriculture chain: if you too would like to contribute to our shared sustainability ambition as described above, or if you have any ideas or questions in this area, please contact us. Together we can achieve more, faster, which will have a positive impact on our industry.
Certification remains the foundation
On the path to the FSI goal, it is very important that growers at minimum possess environmental certification (which falls under the Environment scope of FSI’s Basket of Standards). This is the foundation for creating transparency in production and trade to international customers. Therefore, we are keen to work on this together with the growers and to support them if desired, as has been our approach since 2017.
Maarten Bánki, Manager of Sustainable Development at Royal FloraHolland explains:
“In recent years, Royal FloraHolland has held many meetings with growers to discuss what obstacles they encounter and how we can make things easier for them. We will continue to do so, wherever possible together with trading companies from the Acceleration Initiative. We have made good progress with that. More than 2800 of our 5000 suppliers already have digital environmental registration and at present more than 2,150 growers – representing 84% of turnover – have a valid environmental certificate. To us, this is proof that we are on the right track.”