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
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, 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

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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