Onboarding and latest news
We want to help the suppliers get on board. The members' council has set this as an important condition for the decision on digital environmental registration and certification.
More information about the implementation of this programme will follow.
Read more about the taken decisions and get inspired by your fellow growers!
- Digital environmental registration and certification remains a priority for our marketplace
- Royal FloraHolland makes environmental certification mandatory by the end of 2021
- Environmental certification is good for the image of the marketplace
- A&P Flowers: "You must have a certificate if customers ask for it"
- KP Holland "Contributing to a sustainable and green living environment"
- Up-to-Date and Reliable Certificate Information on Clock Front
- Reduced MPS-ABC rates stimulate environmental registration and certification
Frequently asked questions
Is Royal FloraHolland postponing the mandatory environmental registration and certification due to the corona crisis?
Many companies in the horticulture industry have been very hard hit by the corona crisis. Royal FloraHolland is doing everything it can to support growers and customers in these difficult times. In view of creating a futureproof marketplace, Royal FloraHolland will continue to prioritise all strategic projects, including environmental registration and certification.
As of 31 January 2020, all suppliers (cooperative members and non-members) will be required by Royal FloraHolland to have a digital environmental registration and as of 31 January 2021, environmental certification in line with the market.
The Members' Council determined that mandatory environmental registration and certification can only be introduced if everyone, in line with the principles of reasonableness and fairness, has the time and opportunity to comply. This point of view remains unchanged. In September 2020, we will assess in conjunction with the Sustainability Leading Team whether the preconditions set by the Members' Council have been met and whether it is reasonable to stick to the starting dates for introduction and enforcement quoted above.
Why has Royal FloraHolland made digital environmental registration and certification a requirement when supplying to the Royal FloraHolland marketplace?
The market increasingly demands transparency w.r.t. the production of flowers and plants, as well as the business practices of suppliers. The relevant criteria have been incorporated in certificates. After being awarded certification, growers can reliably demonstrate that they meet the criteria that have been set. In turn, buyers' demands for targeted and efficient certified sustainable procurement will be met.
We also see that the government is pursuing increasingly stricter policies on sustainability. It is a good idea to stay ahead of new regulations by proactively and jointly demonstrating that we produce in an increasingly sustainable manner. Moreover, certification offers opportunities to differentiate yourself and promotes international competitiveness.
With the decision to enforce this requirement, we as a cooperative and a company have taken the initiative to make our efforts transparent in a verifiable manner. In so doing, we can jointly safeguard the reputation of our products, our sector and our common marketplace.
How did this decision come about?
The decision process was conducted with due diligence. After a period of intense cooperation between the Sustainability Leading Team (consisting of growers in the cooperative) and the RFH Sustainable Development Team, and on the basis of member consultations in 2018 and 2019, a concrete approach was developed to introduce mandatory digital environmental registration and certification for all suppliers to the Royal FloraHolland marketplace. On 10 October 2019, the Members' Council issued a positive recommendation on this approach, and set a number of binding preconditions. On 27 October 2019, the Management Board decided to proceed with implementation, aware that the preconditions set have yet to be met, but in the confidence that they will be.
In September 2020, we will assess in conjunction with the Sustainability Leading Team whether the preconditions set by the Members' Council have been met and whether it is reasonable to stick to the starting dates for enforcement quoted above.
To whom does the obligation apply and starting when?
The obligation applies to all suppliers (members or non-members) to our marketplace. From 31 December 2020, every supplier must demonstrably carry a digital environmental registration through one of the market-based registration tools. By 31 December 2021 at the latest, every supplier must have a market-compliant environmental certificate.
Suppliers who are themselves not growers will be obliged to transparently prove that the products they supply have been sourced from certified growers. We need a little more time to find an appropriate solution to this matter and will communicate more about this in due course.
What is the status with regard to meeting the preconditions?
The emphasis is on meeting the following three preconditions:
- Informing, activating and 'onboarding' our members.
- Improve accessibility of existing certifying organisations
- Alternatives to digital registration and certification.
In June 2020, we confirmed in a news item (published in the RFH Digital Newsletter and elsewhere) that Royal FloraHolland will continue to prioritise digital environmental registration and certification. It is and remains an important pillar of the RFH strategy. We will therefore continue to inform suppliers (members and non-members) as much as possible about the process, progress with regard to preconditions, costs, the second party, etc.
In addition to providing information, we will also take action as soon as there is a choice of registration and certification bodies, i.e. if there is a second party with a concrete commercial offer besides MPS. We will actively help suppliers in the specific process of registration/certification options. The supplier will be able to make an informed choice concerning:
- Ease of use
Suppliers who have registered online will be introduced to the registration and certification process through 'onboarding'. The responsibility for this lies chiefly with the party arranging registration and certification, such as MPS and GreenlinQ/GlobalG.A.P. Royal FloraHolland sets the requirements for onboarding and will actively monitor the process. By sharing experiences, concerns and other feedback from suppliers with the parties, we can continuously improve onboarding. Various scenarios to achieve this are being designed in conjunction with the parties.
With the new MPS ABC 3.0 scheme, MPS fully complies with the standards for digital environmental registration and environmental certification. Growers who want to get started straightaway should contact MPS. MPS has set a separate fee for the first year's registration for Dutch growers (€ 290). In the second year, a total fee - the certification fee - will apply, which MPS has reduced for growers with a small cultivation area. For more information, please visit the MPS website: https://my-mps.com/diensten/mps-abc/?lang=en.
In the EU and Israel there is also a separate fee for digital registration during the first year (covered and uncovered cultivation). The fees in Africa and South and Central America will be higher. As in the Netherlands, efforts are being made to reduce the certification fees for Europe and Israel. MPS will announce their rates as soon as possible.
We are working on creating at least one alternative registration tool in addition to MPS, so that growers have a choice regarding environmental registration and certification. Moreover, it is essential that the registration tools are congruent with the criteria and methodology of existing schemes. We have confidence that there will be a timely alternative to MPS in the Dutch market. At the end of June, GlobalG.A.P. made its information needs/API specs public, after which GreenlinQdata (link to: https://greenlinqdata.nl/) started adapting its system to enable linking to GlobalG.A.P.
Besides the Netherlands, the GreenlinQdata/GlobalG.A.P combination will probably be the alternative in Germany, Belgium, Italy and Spain, too. This is also due to the fact that a number of growers in these countries grows fruit and vegetables in addition to flowers/plants and are therefore already familiar with the GlobalG.A.P. scheme. GlobalG.A.P. will soon also announce its commercial offering for certification. It is expected to offer a separate environmental certificate with a separate price, in addition to the existing G.A.P. certificate.
In Israel, a combination of local farm management tool 'Akologic' and GlobalG.A.P. is looking into the possibility of linking.
In Kenya and Colombia, KFC and Florverde respectively are the alternative to MPS.
In Ethiopia, EHPEA has yet to link a digital environmental registration to the scheme in order to comply with the FSI criteria. The current status is unknown.
Why is it necessary for growers to obtain an environmental certificate in addition to all the (legally) mandatory registrations?
The legally mandatory registrations don't fully cover the environmental requirements made by the market. An environmental certificate does: a digital environmental registration linked to a scheme is validated with an audit and possibly sampling. This way, the environmental performance of a grower can be transparently and reliably established. Moreover, an environmental certificate will demonstrate that a grower meets any legal requirements.
Digital and uniform registration is also important. There is a great need in the sector for reliable, secure data and information in anticipation to future developments such as footprints and environmental-impact indicators. These things will also help us strengthen the reputation of the products, the sector and our market place.
How many members currently have a certificate?
Most members realise that the market demands transparency with regard to the way in which their flowers and plants are produced and that this should be demonstrated by means of a certificate. Currently, roughly 56% of our members are not yet certified. This is often because their customers do not or do not consistently ask for certification, and because they find obtaining a certificate to be too complex or expensive. Nevertheless, everyone will ultimately be obliged to comply with mandatory certification.
How can I make my certification known?
In our marketplace, growers can demonstrate how sustainable their production is by providing certificates, among other ways. The certificates are already visible in the supply and on the clock, and in Floriday they can be found on the grower page. Supply is to follow. Buyers can include certificates in their selection/search criteria and thus find certified supply quickly and efficiently.
What are the requirements that an digital environmental registration and certification must meet? What is ‘market-compliant’?
The requirements have been laid down by the Floriculture Sustainability Initiative. Registration involves the uniform and digital documentation of any crop protection agents used, as well as information on fertilisers and associated water and energy consumption. These are things of which the law requires growers to keep a record already. Supplementary to this statutory requirement, the relevant information must now be documented digitally. In addition, a plan for Integrated Pest Management is being requested. Requirements set by the FSI for certification focus in particular on the way in which inspection takes place (audit and perhaps sampling).
Will sanctions be imposed if growers do not meet the requirements within the agreed time frame?
We would rather not to put enforcement measures in place, but being realistic, the market compels us to do so. During consultation sessions with members, it became apparent that it is important to be clear about enforcement in order to encourage everyone to take action. Enforcement is possible in various ways: The Sustainability Leading Team presented a first proposal for conceptualisation to the Members' Council on 12 March 2020. It has now been further developed and resubmitted. The Members' Council is in agreement with the enforcement proposal, which essentially entails that after multiple warnings, levies will be charged. The proposal is to make the levy as high as the cost of digital environmental registration and certification. Eventually, not complying with the requirement can lead to a temporary ban on trading through the marketplace. Attention was also drawn to special circumstances. In October 2020, the Members' Council will issue advice to the Management Board regarding this proposal.
Can I start digital registration today? And what are the options?
With the new MPS ABC 3.0 scheme, MPS fully complies with the standards for digital environmental registration and environmental certification. Growers who want to get started straightaway should contact MPS. MPS has set a separate fee for the first year's registration for Dutch growers. In the second year, a total fee - the certification fee - will apply, which MPS has reduced for growers with a small cultivation area. For more information, please visit the MPS website: https://my-mps.com/diensten/mps-abc/?lang=en. The fees for growers abroad have yet to be set.
For further information, see question 5, ad 3.
Will Royal FloraHolland help me get started with registration and certification?
Yes, this is an important condition set by the Members' Council. An onboarding programme with information sessions is being put together in conjunction with the Sustainability Leading Team.
See also question What is the status with regard to meeting the preconditions?
Are any further certification requirements planned after the mandatory environmental certification?
Mandatory digital environmental registration and certification is a first step in creating transparency in our marketplace w.r.t. sustainable production. The obligation applies to all suppliers (members or non-members) to our marketplace. From 31 December 2020, every supplier must demonstrably carry a digital environmental registration through one of the market-based registration tools. By 31 December 2021 at the latest, every supplier must have a market-compliant environmental certificate.
Market demands go beyond this and many buyers desire several certificates. Ultimately, Royal FloraHolland envisages that all suppliers to the marketplace will also comply with the FSI social sustainability norms, and those relating to Good Agricultural Practices (GAP).
What is the position of Veiling Rhein Maas regarding mandatory digital environmental registration and certification?
VRM underscores the importance of a demonstrably sustainable horticulture chain and warmly recommends the Royal FloraHolland obligations w.r.t. digital environmental registration and certification to RFH suppliers, as well as to Landgard suppliers. For the time being, registration and certification will be mandatory at VRM for Premium Quality products, edible plants, Fairtrade products and Deutsche Gärtnerware only. Producers trading such products through VRM will be obliged to start the digital environmental registration process by 31 December 2020, and to be in possession of environmental certification by 31 December 2021.
Will VRM enforce registration and certification for Royal FloraHolland members?
In September 2020, Royal FloraHolland will assess in conjunction with the Sustainability Leading Team whether the preconditions set by the Members' Council have been met and whether it is reasonable to stick to the starting dates for enforcement quoted above. VRM will await Royal FloraHolland's decision in this regard and will then adopt an appropriate position concerning enforcement at VRM.