Fair Flora gives sustainable plants a face

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Sustainably produced plants will have a clear identity in 2024. 'Fair Flora' is the name of a new rating system that makes it clear at a glance how the producer demonstrates the sustainability of the product in question. In week 1 of 2024, the first 30,000 plants labeled with Fair Flora will enter the market.

The white-green label, with a stylized leaf in the center, displays between 1 and 5 stars. The more stars, the more responsibly and in many cases sustainably the plants or flowers have been cultivated.

Fair Flora aims to help buyers of ornamental horticulture products assess products easily on how responsibly and sustainably they have been produced. This is no simple task, but by making background information available via the QR code, a well-founded story is provided. The start is with plants, but flowers can also be assessed using it. The system is based on five criteria: registration of production method, social certification, a transparent and responsible production environment, the environmental footprint and CO2 compensation. These are linked to officially recognized certificates or methods for demonstrating sustainability. These include MPS ABC, IDA, SQ, GLOBALG.A.P., GRASP, Flori Footpint Tool, and carbon neutrality through certified CO2 compensation. The independent online platform Certifeye keeps track on a day-to-day basis of which certificates a grower possesses, and based on that, the stars are awarded.

Front runners

Three plant nurseries, in collaboration with Greenhouse Sustainability, have joined forces to get this initiative off the ground. These are HouwenPlant, Fachjan, and VDE Plant.

Each nursery will introduce 10,000 labeled plants through daily trade channels to garden centers, florists, and supermarkets at the beginning of January. Each nursery will monitor to what extent the label meets the expectations of their customers and where there is room for improvement. The initiators do not hide the fact that this is just the beginning. The brochure used at the launch clearly states: 'This communication tool is still in development. We invite parties to discuss this.'

Better Life label

Marco van der Goes (HouwenPlant) is delighted that their company can contribute to this experiment: "I think it's great that since 2019, the moment we really started focusing on our sustainability, we can now send a clear signal to the market that the plants we produce are 'CO2 OK.' The Fair Flora system helps make a complicated topic of certifications and calculations understandable for everyone. We want people to enjoy flowers and plants for any occasion."

Edwin van der Eijk (VDE Plant) also had little hesitation in joining. "Measuring sustainability is quite a quest. I think with this approach, we are taking a step in the right direction. And of course, I hope it will gain broader support later on." According to Tom Keijzer of Fachjan , it is urgently needed to provide more clarity on how sustainably a plant or flower is cultivated. "Consumers often have no idea what certifications in ornamental horticulture stand for. The star system of Fair Flora quickly (visually) indicates how a plant performs. A huge improvement. Compare it to, for example, the Better Life label for meat and chicken. The more stars, the more animal-friendly the product has been produced."

100% CO2 compensation

For the first tranche of 30,000 plants, the three nurseries have selected plants from their assortment (including Coffea arabica and anthurium) that fall into the highest category and score five stars. They have fully compensated for the CO2 emissions with ONCRA-certified bamboo planting in Uganda via Bamboo Village. By actively removing CO2 from the atmosphere, climate change is mitigated.

More information on fair-flora.com.

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