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MPS signs statement of support for ICSR agreement
Yolande van den Boom (CEO MPS-Group)
Last week, the World Horti Center in Naaldwijk signed the International Corporate Social Responsibility (ICSR) Agreement for the flowers and ornamentals sector. The objective is to promote more responsible international production and trade in ornamental plants. CEO of the MPS Group, Yolande van den Boom, signed the statement of support on behalf of MPS. 

In the first year, projects will be launched to support the living wage and the impact of crop protection agents on people and the environment. The scope of the agreement covers the chains for the breeding and the production of flower bulbs, plant propagating materials, cut flowers, ornamental greenery, trees and pot and bedding plants. The Netherlands is an important hub in the international flowers and ornamentals trade. Our small country exports flowers and plants to the value of 6 billion euros worldwide and imports more than 600 million euros worth of products from Africa and more than 100 million from South America. Kenya, Ethiopia, Ecuador and Colombia are all important countries for imports. Around 600 Dutch trading companies operate internationally. The agreement was established after intensive consultations under the leadership of the Dutch Social and Economic Council. It builds on the existing Floriculture Sustainability Initiative (FSI), a sector initiative.

Yolande van den Boom: ‘For many years, MPS has been actively trying to reduce the environmental impact that the flowers and ornamentals sector has, to make the global flowers and ornamentals sector more transparent and ultimately to make the entire sector more sustainable. In addition, MPS offers trade and social certifications. Apart from intensive collaboration with FSI, we are glad we have this opportunity to express our support for this sector-wide agreement. The demand for sustainable flowers and ornamentals products with reliable product information is growing; we can only achieve this through a sector-wide approach!’
  
The ICSR Agreement for the flowers and ornamentals sector has been signed by: The minister of Agriculture Nature and Food Quality – minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation – AFRI FLORA – Albert Heijn – Dümmen Orange – the Dutch Flower Group – Fleura Metz – Floratradeconsult – Royal Lemkes – Waterdrinker – HIVOS – FNV – Royal FloraHolland – Greenhouse Horticulture Netherlands – the Dutch Gardening Sector – the Association of Wholesalers in Flower Nursery Products.

Those expressing their support include:
Chrysal – Koppert – Max Havelaar –  MPS – the Dutch Foundation for Nature Conservation and Environmental Protection
Change in points allocation for the use of agents
 
The MPS-MIND methodology classifies all crop protection agents on the basis of the environmental impact they cause. Agents that have a high environmental impact are categorised as ‘red’, agents with the relatively lowest environmental impact as ‘green’, and agents in the middle of the spectrum are labelled ‘orange’. 

Standards for the use of these agents are set for each category. Given the greater environmental impact that red and orange agents have, less of these agents may be used compared to green agents. In practice we have seen a decrease in the use of red and orange agents in recent years, and an increase in the use of green agents. As a result, a group of participants has exceeded the upper limit for the use of green agents, creating a negative score for this component. 
To get a good MPS score, growers must use less green and more orange and/or red agents. This feels as though it is going against all the principles. To take this into account, MPS has decided to do away with the negative points for using green agents.
 
This measure influences the score and the qualification of a small percentage of MPS-ABC participants. These participants will see the difference in the number of points obtained, starting with the qualification for Period 7.
 
It is important to mention that this is a temporary measure. Improving the current MIND methodology, to make it more future proof, is high on the MPS agenda. This could lead to participants who now have an advantage because of this change seeing their points for comparable consumption falling in the future.

For more information, please contact Martine Holtkamp at
MPS-ABC qualification as a new participant
 
MPS is regularly asked whether new participants start at MPS-C level. This is not the case. The MPS-ABC qualification is calculated based on the use of agents during the previous year. To be granted a qualification, the participant has to register its use over an entire year. In addition, the participant has to successfully complete the initial audit. The participant is registered as ‘Non Qualified’ between the time its joins MPS-ABC and obtaining a qualification. After completing the initial audit, the participant is awarded a C, B, A or A+ qualification based on its usage data.

So it is not true that new participants start at MPS-C level!
MPS has now passed the 50 countries milestone
 
MPS has a global presence. There are now MPS-ABC participants in 51 countries. Our latest MPS-ABC participants are located in: Algeria, Lithuania, South Africa and Suriname!
Company focus: Newday Farms Turkey
Since it was founded in 2018, Newday Farms, a Turkish company, has already planted 520 trees in exchange for selling carnations. Production and profit are not their only and most important goals; sustainability, rights for employees and traceability are given just as much priority. Their MPS-A score is an important factor in this. Seval Öz, founder and co-owner of Newday Farms: ‘For us, MPS-ABC is the basis of sustainable production from the seedling through to the packaging of the product.’

MPS-A score as ‘green’
After successively recording thirteen consecutive periods, Newday Farms was immediately classified as MPS-A. ‘From the get-go, sustainability was at the top of the list and we aimed to minimise the use of fertilisers and pesticides,’ the owner tells us. ‘Using the MPS-ABC system, we have been able to examine and analyse our use of pesticides and fertilisers. This has had a major, positive impact on our use and selection of certain agents.’ 

‘As a company we also feel our social responsibility and so we contribute to social projects. We work with environmental organisations and NGOs, and we plant forty to fifty trees every month in exchange for the number of flowers we sell,’ Öz explains. Customers are regularly sent an update of the number of trees planted. Öz: ‘We send customers certificates of the trees we have planted with their names on them. This is how we hope to invest in a sustainable future in this way.’
Turning point
Through MPS-ABC membership, sustainability as an ideal is not kept secret: an MPS-A score is international proof that our participants’ production is sustainable. ‘Sustainable production is important to our buyers, and often it is also a condition for delivery,’ Öz points out. What’s more, the processes in the company have become a lot more efficient thanks to MPS-ABC, which means they have better control over costs. ‘We have been able to analyse the production process better. I personally learned a lot from MPS-ABC; my management skills have improved a great deal. The certificate was the turning point for me to organise my work more efficiently.’

Of course the company still makes mistakes, but not many. ‘What helped was the way MPS explained the philosophy and purpose behind MPS-ABC. And thanks to this, we don’t make many mistakes. MPS also takes domestic regulations into account and we are given advice so that we can continue to grow as far as sustainability is concerned.’

Should you have any questions, please contact Raymond Scheepens:
Seval Öz

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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