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, 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

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.