Driven by sustainability

 

Driven by sustainability

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Working together towards sustainability
  
MPS aims to help improve sustainability in the global flowers and ornamentals sector through means such as reducing the environmental impact of crop protection products throughout the chain. We are working together with numerous different parties to realise this ambition.

The international FSI sustainability network is growing rapidly, as are other national and international sustainability initiatives such as IMVO, aided significantly by the government.  Increasing numbers of partners throughout the flowers and ornamentals chain are also joining in as they recognise the power inherent in joining forces to make progress. MPS is supporting the sector’s ambitions by providing knowledge and tools. 

This issue of MPS NewsFlash contains more information about our collaboration with FSI. We’ll also take a look at the upcoming innovations in our MPS-ABC programme and the updated usage registration. 

Yolande van den Boom, CEO MPS Group
 
FSI Chain Transparency Project
The MPS-NewsFlash editors interviewed two members of the MPS project team about the role of MPS and the project’s objective.

FSI and MPS
The Floriculture Sustainability Initiative (FSI) is a sustainability network organisation consisting of various national and international parties (agriculturalists, growers, trade companies, retailers, sector organisations and the owners of certification schemes) and NGOs working together towards a more sustainable flowers and ornamentals sector. MPS is involved in this as part of its ambition to help reduce environmental impact throughout the chain. FSI also unites parties in a joint effort to make sustainability efforts more transparent. Harold Beek, Deputy Director at MPS: “One of FSI’s greatest achievements is the collaboration among parties in the chain. The parties are continually engaging with one another in various groups and combinations to discuss and accelerate progress.” FSI’s main goal is to ensure that 90% of all products traded by its members are purchased and traded sustainably by 2020. 
MPS project team: Remco Jansen, Harold Beek, Anja Kodde and Luisa Mealha-Stigter
Transparency regarding the use of substances is a central focus of the Chain Transparency project that MPS has been carrying out together with FSI since 2017. “MPS is working on a number of issues that are part of the larger context of sustainability instruments,” says Remco Jansen, Commercial Manager at MPS. Examples include innovative tools and certification programmes.

An important goal of the project is to reduce total environmental impact. “We will achieve this through intensive collaboration with knowledge institutes such as Proeftuin Zwaagdijk and by running an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) project with Koppert Biologicals, for example,” says Beek. “The results will increase our knowledge and enable organisations like MPS to develop solutions.”

MPS develops tools based on its collaborations with stakeholders and contributions to research projects such as Chain Transparency. This includes tools that make sustainability efforts measurable (for example, the Environmental Impact Indicator for Crop Protection Products; MPS-MIND) and management tools. Beek: One example of a management tool is the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategy tool that we are involved in developing together with Club van 100 and PPS TKI. We are also collaboratively developing a method of making IPM measurable. The knowledge that we gain from other projects, such as the Chain Transparency project, is also very useful. By making connections between these activities, we’re able to devise sustainability solutions, such as improving MPS-MIND.” 

“The market is showing a shift at the macro level towards instruments that help to improve sustainability. The MPS certification programmes and tools are a means of making sustainability efforts transparent and reliable. So you’ve got everything from pure certification to the measurement of sustainability efforts,” says Remco Jansen.
The Chain Transparency project is focusing on monitoring the chains for seven flowers and ornamentals products (Chrysanthemum, Kalanchoe, Anthurium, potted Phaelonopsis, Lavender, Miltonia and Dendrobium) for a period of three years. This entails following the entire chain from starting materials to finished products, with samples being taken at various stages in the chain. These will test cuttings, rooting and cultivation, with the aim of gaining insight into environmental impact throughout the chain, particularly with respect to crop protection products. According to Beek, greater knowledge and understanding is necessary to enable a reduction in the use of these substances and the resulting residues, and to ensure that market requirements are met. The entire chain is being investigated, which can mean that even if a greater quantity of crop protection products is used in one part of the chain, there is a net reduction in the total amount used throughout the chain.
  
Jansen adds: “In addition to developing our knowledge, we also need to create awareness. The Chain Transparency project focuses mainly on continents such as Africa and Central America, because these regions are the source of much of the cutting material used in the sector. Growers of the end products have to realise that they can’t work in isolation; instead, they’re dealing with both indirect influences and chain influences. This highlights the importance of collaboration!”
MPS and FSI in Central America
FSI and MPS visited Central America together (Costa Rica, Guatemala and Nicaragua) from 16 to 25 September. 

The visit was part of the Chain Transparency project, which is investigating sustainability solutions in the chain. Local growers, exporters and relevant stakeholders were also informed about market developments, as well as about global developments and requirements relating to sustainability. 
The following interview with Marcel Zandvliet (Director Marketing/CSR, Dutch Flower Group) was screened during the meetings in Central America.
Visits to growers in Costa Rica, Guatemala and Nicaragua were part of the trip. During these visits, we were able to witness the efforts made by growers to meet the FSI ambitions and the certification requirements that play a role in the market. We also found out about the work they are doing to further improve their ecological footprint, their qualifications for MPS-ABC, and towards meeting the requirements of programmes such as MPS-GAP. Examples of this work are the installation of solar panels, rainwater collection initiatives, and the installation of biobeds.
Antigua Flowers/Fides Guatemala
Las Limas, Ball Horticultural
In collaboration with FSI and local partners, seminars were organised in both Costa Rica and Guatemala to inform local growers about joint projects currently under way. In Costa Rica, the seminar was held at Orange Plaza in collaboration with the Dutch Embassy in San Jose. The seminar in Guatemala was organised in partnership with Agexport. Both seminars were attended by more than 35 growers. FSI and MPS made a presentation, which was followed by an energetic discussion on three themes: traceability, customer demand and the use of crop protection products. The growers received valuable information which will be used in the Chain Transparency project. 
Kick-off seminar, Dutch Embassy’s Orange Plaza in San Jose, Costa Rica
FSI/MPS seminar, Agexport in Guatemala
Salon du Végétal in Nantes
Round table meeting about the acceptance of IPM in the market
During Salon du Végétal, MPS and Excellence Végétale/VAL’HOR organised a meeting about the acceptance of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) by the market. Attendees included representatives from the French Ministry of Agriculture and the retail and trade sectors, as well as growers. In essence, the meeting discussed the problem of purchasers rejecting ‘poor quality’ products, for example due to the presence of traces of useful insects. The conclusion reached during the meeting was that research needs to be done to find out the ‘damage threshold’ that would be acceptable to consumers. Training and improved communication relating to IPM are also necessary.
Marie-Françoise Petitjean
Coordinator, MPS France
MPS present at 'Good Agricultural Practices' meeting
Last week, there was a meeting on ‘Good Agricultural Practices’ in Valencia (Spain). This was initiated by ASFPlant, Valencia’s association of pot plant producers.

During the morning, attendees discussed good agricultural and hygienic practices in the flowers and ornamentals sector, followed by a session on the vital importance of well-organised crop registration. In the afternoon, René Rombouts (Coordinator, MPS Spain and Portugal, see photo) gave a presentation on the differences between MPS-GAP and GLOBALG.A.P., in which he made reference to the FSI2020 requirements and other related matters.
The chain parties that endorse the FSI2020 objectives expect growers to comply with credible record-keeping from 2021 onwards. This criterion is already effectively covered by MPS-ABC certification. There is a clear increase in the number of companies in the Spanish flowers and ornamentals industry that hold MPS-ABC and MPS-GAP certification, with the current total being 135 companies. 

MPS-ABC programme changes and updated usage registration
 
Sustainability is becoming increasingly important, including in the horticulture sector. Society and the market are changing, and MPS is following suit. 

This means that there will be changes to the MPS-ABC certification programme. We’ll publish the updated MPS-ABC Certification Scheme on our website at the end of 2019, and the new scheme will come into effect at the end of 2020. The registration environment will be updated as a result of these changes, and participants will be transferred in stages, commencing early in 2020. MPS-ABC participants have already been informed about the upcoming changes.

Overview of the most significant changes:
- Mandatory registration per application of plant protection products and fertilisers. 
- Tighter requirements for the purchase of starting materials and additional purchasing, in order to further close the chain.
- Retroactive registration will become more difficult. 
- Legal authorisation of plant protection products will be more actively checked on a per country basis.

Participants will be kept informed via the MPS-Newsflash and e-mail messages.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact:
Service & Support
T +31 (0)174 615 715
E info@my-mps.com

If you have any questions about any of the topics in this Newsflash, please contact Service & Support.

T +31 (0)174 615 715
E info@my-mps.com

MPS has compiled this newsletter with great care.
MPS is not liable for any consequences – such as any losses incurred or any loss of profit – arising from action undertaken in response to this newsletter.

 
 
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MPS-ABC, MPS-GAP and MPS-SQ for Guatemalan grower
Three MPS certificates in a row: a fantastic achievement that Ter Laak Americas can proudly share with its customers. At the end of June, the orchid nursery in Jalapa, Guatemala was the first company of its kind in Central and South America to receive not only the MPS-ABC certificate, but also the MPS-GAP and MPS-SQ certificates. Obtaining all these certificates is a significant challenge for growers in this region. Pedro Luna, manager of Ter Laak Americas, is very proud of the result. “We strongly believe that sustainability is the future for us all.”

Ter Laak Americas was established in 2015, when three partners joined forces to start a one-hectare orchid nursery to grow flowering plants for the local market and young plants for the export market. One of the partners is Ter Laak Orchids, a Dutch company that already holds MPS-ABC, MPS-GAP and MPS-SQ certificates and participates in the MPS-ProductProof scheme. Luna: “That helped us to meet the criteria, since we were already doing many of the things that the scheme requires.” The MPS-GAP certificate covers traceability, sustainability, safety and hygiene, while MPS-SQ focuses on proper working conditions.
Profitable and sustainable
The greenhouse in Jalapa features innovations such as three-layered plastic walls that reduce energy consumption, organic waste composting, energy and shadow-generating screens and rainwater collection. “Our strategy is to be both profitable and sustainable, while providing our employees with the pleasant working environment they deserve,” says Luna. Local employees are the driving force behind the company. “We have 25 permanent employees, and we provide them with meals during the breaks. Any leftovers are fed to the pigs and sheep.”

Sustainable enterprise is becoming increasingly important in Central and South America. Arthij van de Veer, MPS coordinator in North and Central America explains: “This is due to growing awareness among both entrepreneurs and their customers. Customers are making more demands with respect to sustainability, so growers are responding by exploring the possibilities. It’s a gradual process, but if you compare today’s situation with how things were a decade ago, you can see a definite increase in awareness.”

Respect for the environment and human rights
Luna is extremely proud of the three MPS certificates. “We can now demonstrate to our customers that our orchids are a product of sustainable cultivation practices, and that we respect human rights. We hope to inspire other growers to increase the sustainability of their enterprises too.” What’s more, Luna concludes: “Certification helps you to monitor your production processes. The more data you gather, the greater your understanding will be, and the better you’ll be able to perform as a company.”
For more information, please contact:
Arthij van de Veer, General Coordinator for North & Central America
T +55 85 88 72 24 24/+1 805 813 0582
E a.vd.veer@my-mps.com
MPS and FSI2020 organize meetings in Central America
 
MPS organizes two meetings in Central America, in collaboration with FSI2020. The central topic of these meetings is how current market developments influence management.
The following topics will also be discussed:
  • the vision of Dutch Flower Group and Koppert Biological Systems on sustainability and developments within FSI;
  • update on the project ‘Chain Transparency’ (more about this in the next MPS-Newsflash as well);
  • traceability throughout the whole chain;
  • how consumer's demands influence the production chain;
  • deployment of IPM (Integrated Pest Management).
If you operate in Central America and are interested in attending one of these meetings, then please contact:
Remco Jansen, Commercial Manager
T +31 (0) 6 51 27 40 01
E r.jansen@my-mps.com
Transforming local green waste into sustainable energy for growers

Local green waste that would otherwise leave the province is being converted into sustainable energy in a biomass plant by three MPS-ECAS certified growers. ‘With the biomass plant, we’re reducing gas consumption and CO2 emissions and using sustainable CO2 to let the plants grow better,’ explains Pleun van Duijn, an aubergine grower and one of the project initiators.

The three growers – VOF Prominent Grevelingen (tomatoes), DT van Noord Tomaten B.V. (tomatoes) and Gebr. van Duijn (aubergines) – have united to form DES, which stands for Duurzaam Energie Sirjansland (Sustainable Energy Sirjansland). The companies have acquired  various certificates from MPS-ECAS, including GLOBALG.A.P. and On the way to PlanetProof. These certification schemes let organisations consider how to make their production process more sustainable.  
Aubergine grower Pleun van Duijn at the CO2 capture installation
100 tonnes of green waste
‘We started the plant with the aim of making our businesses more sustainable,’ explains Van Duijn. The three businesses began working together on sustainability issues a few years ago and have given consideration to a variety of different ideas. ‘We looked into using geothermal heat to generate energy, but the layers of the earth here aren’t porous enough for that. Biogas wasn’t an attractive option either, due to the fermentation of manure.’ When the vegetable growers attended a meeting organised by the municipality of Schouwen-Duiveland to examine how to make the island energy-neutral, they came into contact with foresters, campsite owners and other businesses that produce green and wood waste, and the idea to start a biomass plant was born. This would transform local green waste into sustainable energy for their greenhouses.

Wood chips are used as the basic material for heating the greenhouses and for producing the CO2 that the plants need to grow. In total the plant delivers 8 megawatts of heat, which is used to provide heating for 70% of the greenhouses. Producing that heat requires a substantial volume of wood chips, which are delivered daily by three trucks in the form of 100 tonnes of green waste. What remains after the wood chips are burnt is a pile of ashes. The aubergine grower would preferably use those ashes too, but notes that ‘farmers used to spread ashes on the soil, but aren’t allowed to do that anymore. We have taken samples though, so that we can investigate whether we can reuse the ashes.’
Storage shed containing wood chips and automatic crane system
Biomass plant with two CO2 spheres and heat buffers
Sustainable innovation
The smoke produced by the biomass plant is not dispersed into the air via a chimney, but is instead filtered and stored in two enormous spheres. Clean CO2 is then piped into the greenhouses, where it is mixed with air and encourages the growth of the plants. The project received a sustainable business grant to fund this innovation. ‘Each year the plant delivers a 12 million kg reduction in CO2 emissions from fossil fuels and saves 7 million m3 of gas,’ says Van Duijn. The project has cost around 9 million euros. ‘If everything goes to plan, we’ll recoup the cost of the system in 12 years.’

Further sustainability plans
Now that their biomass plant is up and running, the three growers are working on further sustainability plans. ‘The biomass plant needs energy, for instance to power its pumps. We’re going to generate this energy using solar panels. By the end of the year the roof of the plant room will be completely covered with 760 solar panels,’ the aubergine grower explains. In this way the three growers are completing the circle. ‘We’ve delivered something wonderful. All the local biomass is now being used to generate energy and heat our greenhouses.’ 
 
Sustainability central topic of Plantarium 2019
 
MPS was present again last week during the fair Plantarium, from 21-23 August 2019 in Boskoop. 'Green Fits All' was the slogan everything was centred around at this time.
 

Plantarium is the leading international tree nursery trade fair. Participants from 15 different countries and trade visitors from 48 countries underline the international nature of the fair and make Plantarium the leading wholesale market for tree nursery products in Europe.

MPS was present at Plantarium with a renewed fair stand to talk to growers about the latest developments in sustainability, innovative tools and certification in this field. Jasper van Diemen, coordinator the Netherlands MPS: “We notice that sustainability is a topical issue within this sector. Certification is looked at more and more as a tool and not as a goal to produce more sustainably and to lift business processes. to a higher level. We also notice a growing interest in our services from the tree nursery sector”. 

Would you like to know more about certification, then please contact:
Jasper van Diemen, Commercial Coordinator the Netherlands
T +31 (0) 6 30 15 91 66
E j.van.diemen@my-mps.com
Jasper van Diemen (MPS) during Plantarium
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If you have any questions, please contact the MPS Service & Support team in the Netherlands:

T +31 (0)174 61 57 15
E info@my-mps.com

This newsletter is carefully composed by MPS.
MPS does not take any responsibility for the accuracy or reliability of the information in this newsletter.

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