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Developing sustainable solutions together
 
More and more partnerships are emerging in the chain to develop sustainable solutions together. MPS is a big supporter of this. After all, joining forces, sharing knowledge and promoting transparency are important values nowadays. In this MPS NewsFlash, we will focus on one of these partnerships: our joint project with Natuur & Milieu, LTO, WUR and CLM to develop an ‘Environmental Indicator for Crop Protection Products.’ We will describe this project in greater detail below. Natuur & Milieu believes we are an ‘important link between growers, the market and society’, which is something we’re very proud of. We will keep you informed of our progress in this project!  

Yolande van den Boom, CEO MPS Group
Natuur & Milieu examines environmental footprint of crop protection products
The public debate about cutting back on the use of crop protection products has been going on for decades. “It took a little longer for the discussion to jump from food to flowers & ornamentals, but the fact that the sector has started working on this issue is a positive sign”, says Jelmer Vierstra, programme leader at Natuur & Milieu, where he is responsible for organic production. “However, there is plenty of room for improvement, as violations of drinking and surface water standards are all too frequent and Dutch biodiversity is not doing well.”
A balancing act
Vierstra: “Our goal is to ensure that growing crops no longer harms the environment. However, growers can only implement measures that fit the economic reality in which their businesses operate.” Because of food safety, growers in the fruit and vegetable sector have been working on organic production for much longer. 
In the flowers & ornamentals sector, it took a little longer for this discussion to arise, because human health is less of an issue here. “Despite this, the average grower of flowers & ornamentals uses more crop protection products than a producer of fruit & vegetables, because of stricter aesthetic requirements. As such, it is a good thing that it has become a hot topic in the flowers & ornamentals sector too, as it means the market will start demanding improvement and be open to a discussion about costs”, says the programme leader. 
More ProductProof
Natuur & Milieu believes more growers should seek to become ProductProof-certified, rather than ‘just’ MPS-ABC-certified. Tuinbranche Nederland, one of the Dutch environmental organisation’s partners, is also in favour of this move. Vierstra: “The main reason is that ProductProof shows whether certain products have not been used. Thanks to daily registration and extra samples, the checks & balances involved in this certificate are much more stringent.” To help the environment as much as possible, the programme leader has two strategies in mind that should, preferably, be combined. Reducing the use of the most toxic products, where possible, and treating water used in the greenhouse industry, because some products simply cannot be cut out entirely.”
Low-risk products 
He also has three solutions to aid the transition from high-risk to low-risk products. “There are plenty of CPPs, but some require in-depth knowledge to be used effectively. On top of that, they can be more expensive than more common alternatives”, says Vierstra. 

Another solution is to breed more resistant varieties of crops, which can withstand diseases and pests. The parties purchasing these products also have a role to play, as it’s up to them to demand these crops. Vierstra’s third solution is better coordination of environmental requirements, because growers currently have to deal with different parties who all have different demands. “It would be best if we wouldn’t only start asking which specific products are used, but also inquire after the full environmental impact of all products used”, says Vierstra.
That’s why Natuur & Milieu is an enthusiastic supporter of the ‘Environmental Indicator for Crop Protection Products’, a project that they initiated along with many other industry parties, such as MPS, LTO, WUR and CLM. The aim of this project is to develop an integrated indicator and a calculation system that describe the effects of crop protection products on the environment, biodiversity and health; that meets the wants & needs of the industry, market and society; that provides an easy, transparent way to calculate the impact of growing a particular crop; that can be applied internationally, and that is widely supported.
Transparency in the chain
Vierstra also highlights that the discussion surrounding sustainability is here to stay and that the role played by organisations such as MPS is only set to increase. "Sustainability starts with transparency in the chain. 
That’s one of MPS’s great strengths: they gather information and make it transparent, which makes them an important link between growers, the market and society. We’re very enthusiastic about their positive efforts”, Vierstra concludes.
Lead time for MPS-GAP certification 
For some time, there has been uncertainty in the industry with regard to how long it takes to obtain MPS-GAP certification, with some parties even claiming that it can take a year. The lead time for obtaining MPS-GAP certification is much shorter than many people think. Growers who have just started the MPS-ABC process (or have yet to start) do not have to keep registrations for a year before they can obtain MPS-GAP certification. 

When growers start their MPS-ABC registrations, they will not be certified for the first 13 four-week periods. Nevertheless, they can still get started with MPS-GAP certification immediately, up to 17 periods (68 weeks) after the start of the initial registration. 

If you have any questions about MPS-GAP certification, please contact Raymond Scheepens at r.scheepens@my-mps.com or on tel. +31 (0)6 538 625 51.
MPS Customer Panel on 29 January and 5 February 2019
As part of the development of the new MPS-ABC scheme, a number of MPS-ABC participants met up at MPS on 29 January and 5 February. These meetings were organised by MPS in order to discuss the new MPS registration tool. The purpose of the meeting was to take stock of practical experiences with the current tool and any wishes for the new registration tool, a mobile application, and the MY-MPS user environment. The meetings have led to a comprehensive overview of needs & wishes, which will now be tested for practical feasibility and,
where possible, be implemented in the new registration tool. 

If you have any questions or would like to take part in the MPS Customer Panel, please contact Martine Holtkamp by sending an e-mail to m.holtkamp@my-mps.com or calling her on +31 (0) 6 834 833 67.

 
Instructional videos for MPS-ABC registration

MPS supports participants in MPS-ABC and, optionally, MPS-ProductProof in registering their consumption levels as efficiently and easily as possible. 
Registration (periodic registration) or Actres Top (daily registration) and have any questions about this, you can now also consult our instructional videos with useful tips & tricks. These instructional videos will soon also be available in English. You can find our instructional videos here.

Of course, our Service & Support team is always ready to help: Contact MPS Service & Support at info@my-mps.com or on +31 (0)174 615 715.
Are you all ready for the uniform MPS vignette?

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.

If you have any questions, please contact the MPS Service & Support team in The Netherlands at:
T. +31 174 615700
E. info@my-mps.com

 

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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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: r.jansen@my-mps.com, 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 colin.maas@ecas.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.

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. info@my-mps.com
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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