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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: , 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 .  
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.
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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
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
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
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
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 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 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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The holidays are almost upon us. Traditionally, this is a time to look back at the past year, whilst also looking ahead to the future.

For MPS, a review of 2018 leads to mixed feelings. The start of 2018 seems like yesterday, time has truly flown. On the other hand, it also seems ages ago, because so much has happened and so much has changed compared to last year.  
We have put a lot of time and effort into automating and digitising our organisation’s processes and products, resulting in a scalability that lets us properly handle the growth we’re experiencing.
Automation alone, however, is not the answer. In order to keep pace with the developments in our sector (as well as the growing and changing demands of our customers), we need an effective, skilled team. This, too, saw major investments in 2018. Strengthening our foundations has started bearing fruit and we have carefully prepared our plans for 2019. 

MPS is growing. The demand for more sustainable products in our horticultural sector is growing. The number of partnerships between MPS and other parties in the sector is increasing. Ideas for new and improved products and services are being developed, often in collaboration with others. More and more shared initiatives are cropping up, as parties link up and join forces. MPS believes in this development and is committed to being part of it. 2019 promises to be yet another busy, exciting year, in which the sector will become increasingly more sustainable.

We’re immodest enough to admit that we’re proud of what our team managed to achieve in 2018. We’re twice as proud, however, of all MPS users, who are making their businesses more and more sustainable at increasingly greater speeds. On behalf of all MPS colleagues, I would like to wish you and yours a merry Christmas and a healthy, successful 2019!


Yolande van den Boom
CEO MPS-Group
MPS in North America
Metrolina Greenhouses
MPS’s position and activities in North America have been expanded gradually since 2008. Sustainability is becoming an increasingly important topic and consumers are becoming more and more critical about issues such as the use of plant protection products and packaging materials. Remco Jansen (Commercial Manager at MPS) and Arthij van der Veer (North America coordinator at MPS) visited North America last week to inform retailers and growers there about developments in the field of sustainability.

Their first appointment was with AmericanHort, the largest growers’ organization in North America. During the visit, Remco & Arthij spoke to Ken Fisher (AmericanHort CEO), who, together with MPS, visited the Netherlands in February 2018 to see the Dutch best practices with regard to sustainability in the flowers & ornamentals sector with his own eyes. AmericanHort believes that MPS-ABC is the instrument that will let North America’s green sector get ready for the future. More than 30% of North America’s Top-100 growers take part in MPS-ABC, and this share is growing slowly but surely. 

 
In the first quarter of 2019, AmericanHort and MPS are set to publish a series of articles in Industry-Insider (an American trade journal). This six-part series, which will address all MPS-ABC themes, will serve to inform growers.

MPS also visited FSI members (Floriculture Sustainability Initiative), Floricultura (Salinas, CA) and Syngenta Flowers last week, as well as Seville Farms and J.Berry Nursery, in Texas. 

American retailers are also setting more and more demands with regard to the use of plant protection products, including Ahold/Delhaize in Salisbury, NC. Here, MPS gave a presentation to the Sustainability & Wellness department, who are currently developing sustainability requirements for all brands under the Ahold/Delhaize umbrella. Ahold/Delhaize is also an FSI member and is focused on implementing sustainability.

If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact Remco Jansen at or on tel. +31 (0) 174 615 715.
 
Country focus: Turkey
 
The production and sales of flowers and plants are growing considerably in Turkey, with more and more growers exporting part of their flowers & ornamentals products to Europe. Countries such as the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Germany are key destinations for Turkish producers, with exports to these countries rising sharply over the past few years. Turkish flower and plant exports to the Netherlands jumped by no less than 32% in the first ten months of 2018, compared to an increase of 8% to Germany and the United Kingdom.
 
Sustainability and certification
In view of the sustainability and certification developments in European retail, these themes are becoming increasingly important in the Turkish sector as well. As a result, there is a growing interest in sustainable production methods and validated sustainability assurance in Turkey, which means that the demand for MPS certification in Turkey is growing steadily. In recent years, the number of MPS participants from Turkey has been on the rise: the sole MPS participant in Turkey four years ago has now been joined by 17 others.
 
“In November, MPS-ECAS carried out its annual audits again. The growers I spoke to were all very happy with our auditors. Although a few areas for improvement were identified, the growers agree that this is justified. They are now hard at work to make up for their shortcomings.”, says Raymond Scheepens, commercial manager at MPS.
 
Coordinators appointed
In August, MPS appointed coordinators in Turkey. In consultation with the coordinators, a number of meetings were scheduled for the second week of December, which saw our commercial manager travel to Turkey to inform, encourage, and motivate growers with regard to certification, as well as informing them about developments in Western Europe.
 
Together with the Turkish trade association of flower & ornamental growers, called Süsbir, and other parties, three meetings were scheduled in a single week. The first was in Antalya, a familiar city to MPS, as it is home to 14 MPS participants. A day later, we went to a meeting in Yalova, a new region for MPS, before ending in Sakarya, where a major tree grower has since joined MPS.
Ample interest
There was a lot of interest in the meetings. Scheepens: “This may also have to do with the fact that several dignitaries attended the meeting in Antalya and shared their views of the Turkish Flowers & Ornamentals sector. On top of that, two growers who have been involved with MPS for several years now told their own story, which generally improves how well the message is conveyed and received.”
 
The commercial manager looks back at successful meetings with good presentations. “The growers listened carefully and asked the MPS team many interesting questions during the Q&A session. Many growers left carrying a Turkish MPS folder, armed with more knowledge about sustainability and certification.
 
Positive about the future
Scheepens about his visit to Turkey: “We have put MPS firmly on the map in all three regions. We will be following up on this in the coming weeks and months and already have some ideas that we will be developing further. Time will tell what will happen next, but I’m full of confidence. I’m already looking forward to my next trip to Turkey to check out the results of these meetings.”
 
If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact Raymond Scheepens at or on tel. +31 (0) 174 615 715.

 
 
Company in focus: FlorXL
Potted plant grower FlorXL is based in Berkel en Rodenrijs and specialises in exclusive anthurium and agapanthus species. This 5-acre company is environmentally conscious, consumes little energy and has made its production methods as organic as possible, using natural enemies and organic protection products. It has had a closed-loop water system for five years now. “At that time, deciding not to discharge any water was rather progressive”, Sjef van Wijk remembers. They are currently looking into ways to make their packaging, including plant covers and trays, more sustainable.

FlorXL is a member of Decorum. The potted plant grower: “It’s a group of progressive growers who are well on their way in terms of sustainable development. They’re all modern, contemporary companies in their own right.” This year, Decorum set the goal of having all its affiliates either obtain 
or apply for MPS-GAP certification. After MPS-GAP delivery certification, the next step will be to be obtain MPS-SQ certification, which can be used to show good working conditions.

FlorXL already has its MPS-A qualification and is currently working on MPS-GAP and MPS-SQ. Van Wijk: “Everything in the company is ready for MPS-GAP. All we have to do now is wait for the audit, which has been scheduled for February. We want to be audited for MPS-SQ on the same time, which is something were still working on. 
When this is all said and done, FlorXL also wants to obtain MPS-ProductProof, which can be used to show on a product-by-product basis that certain active substances are not present and were not used during the growing process.

 
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.volgjebloemofplant.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.

You can continue to use the old vignettes until the end of this year. Starting from 1 January 2019, the old vignettes of the certificates in question may no longer be used on materials such as packaging, plant markers, etc. Click here for information.




 
If you have any questions, please contact the MPS Service & Support team in The Netherlands at:

T. +31 174 615700
E.

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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Rabobank Westland and MPS organise meeting for Tuinbouw Jongeren Westland (TJW)
On 26 November 2018 the Rabobank ‘Sustainability in the horticulture sector’ meeting took place. Lambert van Horen (horticulture analyst at Rabo Research Food & Agri business) and Raymond Scheepens (commercial manager at MPS) were responsible for the proceedings. 

Tuinbouw Jongeren Westland (TJW) is a network for young people aged 16 to 35 who work in the greenhouse horticulture sector.

The association has more than 300 members, including both current and future entrepreneurs in the greenhouse horticulture sector, as well as employees of associated companies, such as banks, exporters, brokers and suppliers. 

TJW aims to be the leading knowledge platform for the young generation
working in the horticulture sector in and around the Westland region. 

During the meeting Raymond Scheepens explained MPS’s ambitions to improve the sustainability of the entire horticulture supply chain using verifiable transparent certification. Lambert van Horen from Rabobank added that certification is a way of helping to achieve sustainability, not a goal in itself. The role played by sustainability in financing greenhouse horticulture businesses was also examined, as well as the action being taken by the bank to facilitate sustainability improvements. 

Would you be interested in a presentation about what MPS is doing to improve the sustainability of the horticulture sector? If so, then contact Eveline van Hooren by e-mail at: .
What are GRASP and the GGN label?
 
Stricter retail requirements
German supermarkets such as Aldi Süd, Aldi Nord and Lidl have been working on implementing social and environmental requirements for a considerable amount of time. They have already adopted internationally recognised environmental and sustainability standards such as MPS, GLOBALG.A.P. and Fairtrade. Thus far, they had mainly focused on cut flowers, but they are now also set to include their entire range of flowers and plants. As a result, all suppliers to these companies must have a GLOBAL.G.A.P. (or a benchmarked programme, such as MPS-GAP) starting from 2019. Some supermarkets will require a GAP certification consumer label, the GGN label.
 
Requirements for use of GGN label (consumer label)
If you are a grower who wants to use the GGN label (consumer label) on your products (for example at the request of trade or retail), you must add the GRASP to your MPS-GAP certificate (this is a requirement set by GLOBALG.A.P.). If you are already MPS-SQ certified, then you will have already covered almost all of the points in the GRASP risk assessment. 

What is GRASP? 
GRASP is not a certificate, but instead a risk assessment and add-on module to GAP certification. GRASP, which stands for GLOBALG.A.P. Risk Assessment on Social Practice, involves a risk assessment in relation to the social facets of a business. These include employee well-being and remuneration, as well as health and safety issues. 

The GRASP module is comprised of 11 standardised requirements and one extra QMS requirement aimed at protecting social criteria in the sector. GRASP addresses the following subjects:
- Employee representation
- Complaints procedure
- Self-declaration on good social practices and human rights
- Access to national labour law regulations
- Contracts compliant with national legislation
- Fair wages
- No child labour
- Education for any children living at a production site
- Regulated working hours
- Arrangements for collective bargaining
- No discrimination.

The practicalities of GRASP
- The GRASP module can be run at the same time as the MPS-GAP audit. 
- The assessment results are then uploaded to the GLOBALG.A.P. database, where they can be viewed by partners in the supply chain who have access to the database.
- In order to be able to use the GGN label, you need to fully satisfy the requirements of the GRASP risk assessment (100%). 
- The GRASP assessment is valid for one year.
- If you are MPS-SQ certified, you only need to ‘add’ three points, namely: (1) Employee representation (2) Complaints procedure (3) Self-declaration on good social practices and human rights 
- Bear in mind that if you are a grower who is MPS-GAP or GLOBALG.A.P./and GRASP certified and you want to use the GGN label, you will need to register via the GlobalG.A.P. website. 

Use of GGN logo
Companies wishing to include the GGN label (GLOBALG.A.P. consumer label) on their products must sign a licensing agreement with GLOBALG.A.P. and pay a licensing fee. In practice this will usually be done by the trader. For more information about using the GGN label, please send an e-mail to .

If you have any questions or require further information, please contact our Service & Support team at or on +31 (0)174 615 715.
Online instructional videos for MPS-ABC registration now available in English 
 
MPS supports MPS-ABC registration and MPS-ProductProof participants, so that they can register their consumption levels as efficiently and easily as possible. 
If you use MY-MPS periodic registration or MY-MPS day registration and have any questions about this, you can now also consult our instructional videos with useful tips & tricks. You can find our (Dutch) instructional videos here. English-language instructional videos (for MY-MPS Periodic registration and MY-MPS Day registration) also went online earlier this week. 

Of course, our Service & Support team is always ready to help. You can contact them at or by calling +31 (0) 174 615 715.

 
MPS-ABC tip 
Do you want to improve your energy rating? In that case, you should use green, renewable energy sources. In contrast to the use of energy from fossil fuels, the use of renewable energy sources (wind, solar, geothermal, water) does not count towards the MPS-ABC classification.  
If you have reached the limit of your capacity for savings, but are buying fossil fuel energy (gas, non-green electricity) and would like to make improvements in this area, you should consider purchasing green energy. That would improve your score.
First ‘good environmental practice in horticulture’ day held in Paris
The first ‘good environmental practice in horticulture’ day was held in Paris last month. More than 80 participants attended the event, which was arranged jointly by MPS and Excellence Végétale, the organisation that manages the Plante Bleue certificate. The aim of the event was for participants to learn from each others’ best practices in sustainable horticulture-related innovation, while highlighting the added value of certification for the sector and demonstrating how schemes like Plante Bleue and MPS-ABC complement one another. 

Pierre de Premare, chair of the MPS growers’ association in France and Thierry Browaeys, chair of Plante Bleue, began by talking about the importance of sustainable production in tackling major environmental impact challenges.

Five technical workshops were then held on best practices related to technological developments in combating diseases and infestations (Integrated Pest Management or IMP),
innovations in disinfection, and alternatives to chemical weed killers and chemical growth regulators. Consideration was also given to the importance of MPS-ABC registration.

Mikael Mercier, chair of VAL’HOR, said that he hoped to organise this day of ‘good environmental practice in horticulture’ on an annual basis, and that he would focus even more on communicating how innovatively the sector is tackling sustainability, both in France and elsewhere.

For more information, please contact Marie-Françoise Petitjean (in English or French) (Coordination MPS France). She can be reached by calling +33 (0)9 63 53 60 21 or by e-mail at .


 
Company in focus: Ammerlaan-Sosef
 
Last month Ammerlaan-Sosef won the Dutch Flower Award in the ‘plants’ category. The theme for this year’s Dutch Flower Awards was sustainability. 
Ammerlaan-Sosef was set up in 1999, when Ard Ammerlaan, his son Jeffrey and employee Gertjan Sosef began their partnership. The business’s annual programme involves Primula, Cyclamen and Celosia.
Each year the business produces more than 5 million plants in total, which it sells under the Decorum brand. In recent years Ammerlaan-Sosef has increasingly made use of biological plant protection products. Gertjan Sosef: “Quality and sustainability have always been paramount to us. That helps to explain why we’ve had MPS-A, MPS-GAP and MPS-SQ certifications for a number of years and have been an MPS-ProductProof participant with all of our products since mid 2018. We’ve never viewed participation in MPS-ABC registration and MPS certification as an obligation. Instead, we’ve always regarded it as a good partnership and it has brought us to where we stand now.”
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.volgjebloemofplant.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.

You can continue to use the old vignettes until the end of this year. Starting from 1 January 2019, the old vignettes of the certificates in question may no longer be used on materials such as packaging, plant markers, etc.

You can find more information here.
If you have any questions, please contact the MPS Service & Support team in The Netherlands at:

T. +31 174 615700
E.

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.

*|MC:SUBJECT|*
It’s November again. Time flies when you’re busy, and that’s exactly what we are at MPS. Fortunately, we’re busy for good reasons. We recently granted the 500th MPS-GAP certificate to Griffioen Wassenaar and this week we welcomed the 100th participant in MPS-ProductProof (Van Veen Gerbera). At MPS, you can clearly notice that sustainability is at the top of the agenda of the horticulture industry, which is why we’re preparing ourselves to work with many more participants in the future.
This means that we will have to automate our processes and digitise our products, and we’ll be reporting on the progress of these initiatives in further detail in the near future. I’m very proud of all MPS participants who have taken the first steps towards making their operations more sustainable and thus reducing their environmental impact. I’m just as proud of all my MPS colleagues, however, who manage, welcome and work with the growing number of MPS participants and are committed to providing optimal support to our participants day in, day out. 

Yolande van den Boom
CEO MPS-Group
Announcement of the 100th MPS-ProductProof participant at the RFH Trade Fair: Van Veen Gerbera
 
The 100th participant in MPS-ProductProof was announced on the opening day of the RFH Trade Fair: Van Veen Gerbera from De Lier. 

Van Veen values sustainable enterprise highly. Aad van Veen: “We’ve been an MPS-ABC participant for over 20 years, and in addition to our MPS-Socially Qualified certificate, we’re now also an MPS-ProductProof participant. As a member of Colours of Nature, Van Veen Gerbera strives to keep up with the front runners in the flowers & ornamentals sector, which requires constant effort.” 
Growers who participate in MPS-ProductProof have made the switch from registering their crop protection products every 4 weeks to registering them every day. Moreover, they now have to take samples throughout the cultivation process (at least 4 per year). This method paints a reliable picture of the registered active substances on the one hand and the active substances that are found in the samples on the other. This is then compared to the legal framework and, at request, to the supralegal lists of products. The tool also allows participants to select certain lists, allowing them to see at a glance whether products meet the requirements of a specific retailer or market party. 

This makes MPS-ProductProof a perfect transparency tool that demonstrates the absence of certain active substances in and on certain floricultural products. MPS-ProductProof provides guarantees for customers, who can be confident that these products are free of certain active substances and were cultivated in a sustainable fashion. Yolande van den Boom (CEO MPS Group): “MPS-ProductProof is a unique tool that allows growers and traders to gain current insight into the usage of active substances and to share this insight digitally with chain partners via the MPS Trade Portal.” 
MPS presentation at GLOBALG.A.P. Summit 2018 in Lima
Leen Klaassen, MPS coordinator for South America, gave a presentation at the GLOBALG.A.P. Summit 2018, which was held from 5-7 November in Lima, Peru. In his presentation, Klaassen addressed the challenges we face in terms of sustainability and explained how sustainability is becoming an increasingly important factor in consumer behaviour, as well as talking about the ambition to have sustainably produced ornamental products become the standard, chain transparency and focus areas for sustainability, such as crop protection products, the environment and social aspects. “We can draw the cautious conclusion that sustainable production methods should not be a special feature, but should be considered the new bare minimum, and that this should be communicated to consumers”, says Klaassen.
We discussed several technical aspects of the certification process with GLOBALG.A.P. and we expect to align the schemes with the other players in the field even more in the future to make sustainability accessible to all growers. Other speakers at this session included Ximena Franco-Villegas, Director of Asocolflores/Florverde (Colombia) and Johan Hulleman, Head of QA at Jumbo Supermarkten B.V. For more information: www.summit2018.org.
MPS presents Environmental Impact Indicator at IFTF FSI meeting
 
For the past 5 years, FSI2020 has organised annual ‘update’ meetings at the IFTF in Vijfhuizen. In this session, Jeroen Oudheusden (FSI2020) presented the key themes they will be focusing on in the near future, such as ‘FSI Beyond 2020’ and their move to an environmental scope with daily record-keeping for their producers. On behalf of MPS, Harold Beek gave a presentation on the environmental impact indicator (EII) developed by MPS. 

The EII calculates and expresses environmental impact in the amount of active substances used multiplied by the potential risks of these substances. The potential risk of a substance is determined on the basis of the chemical properties of the substance in question (toxicity, biodegradability and mobility), combined with factors that limit emissions.

All 2018 Dutch Flower Group Award winners are MPS participants
On Thursday 8 November, during the Royal Flora Holland Trade Fair in Aalsmeer, the Dutch Flower Group Awards 2018 were presented at the stand of the Dutch Flower Group (DFG). This is the 17th time that DFG’s Dutch Flower Awards literally put its chain partners in the spotlight. Karel Bolbloemen was announced the winner in the Cut Flowers category.  The Plants award was granted to Ammerlaan-Sosef from Honselersdijk. Leybaert (Belgium), based in Moerbeke-Waas was declared the winner in the Foreign Supplier category. All winners are MPS-ABC certified, and Leybaert and
Ammerlaan-Sosef are both MPS-ProductProof participants as well. In his speech, DFG CEO Marco van Zijverden indicated that major steps are expected in terms of digital cooperation within the sector in the near future. In addition, sustainability, the main theme of this year’s Dutch Flower Awards, is an absolute priority for the Dutch Flower Group and many other organisations in the flowers & ornamentals industry. Realising 90% sustainable sourcing is a key objective and DFG is working closely with, for instance, MPS and FSI2020 to achieve this goal. 
(c) Dutch Flower Group/Fotomel.nl
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.

You can continue to use the old vignettes until the end of this year. Starting from 1 January 2019, the old vignettes of the certificates in question may no longer be used on materials such as packaging, plant markers, etc.

You can find more information here
If you have any questions, please contact the MPS Service & Support team in The Netherlands at:

T. +31 174 615700
E.

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.

*|MC:SUBJECT|*
Sustainable Trade Platform calls for grower certification
 
On 15 October, the Platform for Sustainable Trade in Bulbs and Perennials grower meeting took place. The importance of certification was a major focus of this meeting. More than 90 growers, traders and directly involved parties attended. Raymond Scheepens of MPS explained participation in MPS-ABC and MPS-GAP, among other things. SMK also gave a presentation, titled ‘On the way to PlanetProof’.

During the grower meeting, traders highlighted the importance of certification for the bulb sector. Fred Moolenaar of Moolenaar B.V. emphasised that certification is an absolute must for anyone wishing to continue supplying. However, he also feels that there should be a degree of intrinsic motivation involved. “We have a shared responsibility for the planet. The ambition must be embedded in organisations. And we must be united in demonstrating that to our clients.”

 

The unambiguous conclusion was that certification has become a basic requirement. “The most important thing is to start with the sustainability process,” said the traders. “By showing that efforts are being made, the sector can take the lead.” They called on growers to go for MPS-ABC at the very least. “This paves the way for a next step towards a tougher form of certification. Or for an immediate further step with MPS-GAP, for example.”

Raymond Scheepens: “In bulb cultivation too, it’s good to see that more attention is now being paid to sustainability and certification. MPS now has more than 225 MPS-ABC participants among the bulb growers; they represent an area of more than 8,100 hectares. This was just 2,000 hectares in 2008. So there’s clearly visible progress being made towards sustainability in this sector, and the Platform’s stated ambitions will only accelerate this process in the near future.”  
In the meantime, the first growers have registered for MPS-ABC certification as a result of the meeting.

For more information, please contact Raymond Scheepens on +31 (0)6 53 86 25 51 or via e-mail at .

 
Presentation of draft MPS-ABC version during MPS Customer Panel
During the meeting of the MPS Customer Panel on 17 October in De Lier, the draft MPS-ABC 2019 scheme was presented to more than 75 growers. The main themes within MPS-ABC version 2019 include more intensive monitoring of admission, faster and more accurate registration, and the closing of the entire chain. The reliability of participants will also play an important role in the frequency of audits and sampling, and the sanctions policy will be tightened up. In addition to the presentation, there was enough opportunity for discussion. 
The comments and suggestions will be considered in the further development of the MPS-ABC scheme. In the end, the growers present were mostly in agreement with the statement that the proposed changes would be an improvement to the MPS-ABC scheme, and that a number of ambitions could even be further refined. This coming Monday, participants on the MPS Customer Panel will receive the report from this meeting; if you would like to receive a summary of the report, please contact Eveline van Hooren on +31(0)174 615 715 or via e-mail at .
First Zero Discharge certificates issued by MPS-ECAS
 
The MPS Water Purification certification scheme has been in effect since 1 October 2017. This includes requirements for companies with a treatment plant, and is based on the Statutory Usage Regulations (Wettelijk Gebruiksvoorschrift, WG) for products containing imidacloprid. This WG now includes a certification requirement for companies that do not discharge, known as the Zero Discharge certification.

Entrepreneurs and enforcers needed clarity about situations in which no residual water is discharged. The aim was to create clarity for greenhouse cultivation entrepreneurs about the evidence necessary to demonstrate Zero Discharge by the company, and which method a supervisor could use to test this.

The first two Zero Discharge certificates were awarded on 24 October to Wim-Jan Paauw of Paauw Lilies, and Robert Zuyderwijk of P. van der Haak Handelskwekerij.

 
Wim-Jan Paauw: “We have worked hard to obtain this certificate because we are proud of being able to meet the Zero Discharge requirements; we have invested a great deal into achieving this. We also feel positive about the fact that we can demonstrate in a transparent way through this certificate that we are serious about dealing with sustainability and regulations.”
 
P. van der Haak Handelskwekerij (specialised in parent stock for geraniums) had already taken Zero Discharge into consideration during the construction of their new site in 2016. “Along with MPS-ABC and MPS-ProductProof, the Zero Discharge certificate is a perfect addition to our list. The Zero Discharge certification enables us to demonstrate to the government, market and other stakeholders that we have emission-free water flows within our company.
We reuse all of our water; fertilisers and plant protection products never end up in the environment. The Zero Discharge certification aligns perfectly with our core values and sustainability strategy, through which we are taking demonstrable steps towards making our production more sustainable,” said Zuyderwijk.
 
For more information, please contact MPS Service & Support on +31(0)174 615 715 or via e-mail at .

 
The MPS-vignet
 
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 followyourflowerorplant, 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.

 
You can continue to use the old vignettes until the end of this year. Starting from 1 January 2019, the old vignettes of the certificates in question 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 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.