Members' Council Column: Looking for maximum space for good conversation22 April 2021
The decision has been made: there will be an additional Members' Council meeting on 20 May. This has been decided by the Members' Council. In a vote on 22 April last, Members' Council members had the final say on the Florinee petition request. Chair Marcel van Tol: "A decision we, as the Members' Council, have worked on meticulously. You can read Marcel's column here.
Solutions rather than noise
In recent weeks, discussions have been held with a large number of members, with this informal process running alongside the formal petition process. What motivations do members have for signing the petition? What are the feelings of those members who haven't signed it? These discussions have revealed that Floriday and digital environmental registration and certification are the two hottest topics. For Floriday, the message is clear: fix it. What has been designed should simply work. The message isn't new, but patience is running out. The good news is that we are working hard on it. The Members' Council has previously taken onboard the harsh reality of digitisation in the garden and among buyers, which also emerged from member sessions in November/December, and there is already a different approach to this.
In terms of environmental registration and certification, resistance lies in a number of things, such as the principle, cost, feasibility and commitment of the trade. The Members' Council intends to consider this matter again. How do you deal with it in the context of the sustainable marketplace we want to be? We have also heard that there is still much uncertainty about Floriway, and that there are questions about the role and position of the Members' Council.
Dialogue makes the cooperative better
Who is "in charge" of what in our cooperative? What can the Management Board decide? When must the Supervisory Board give its approval? And the Members' Council? We have consistently been looking for the answers to these questions over the past two years. Of course, the rules are in black and white, with, after a careful process, the articles of association and regulations being adopted by members in 2018. We cannot and must not ignore these rules. As a part of a cooperative (and particularly during the coronavirus crisis), these can raise questions and sometimes grate. What is good practice? The Members' Council discusses this question with both the Supervisory Board and Management Board. After all, dialogue makes the cooperative better. However, to the outside world, we could perhaps be more open about this.
We are going beyond the recommendation of the 3 chairs
In addition to the discussions, there was a lot of reading for the Members' Council members. Peak load, you might say! A record number of pages were submitted for the Florinee petition agenda item: legal documents, e-mails and the numerous media reports initiated by those behind the petition.
The Members' Council has decided: there will be an additional Members' Council meeting where all members can have their say. Members talk to members. We want to provide as much space as possible for a good conversation, and, in doing so, adhere to the rules of the cooperative. We simply cannot take decisions that are not within our powers, which is why, we cannot grant every request.
However, we are going beyond the recommendation of the three chairs to the Members' Council, which is reflected in the decision of the Members' Council to grant the request to hold an informal meeting of the Members' Council on Thursday 20 May 2021 to discuss the petitioners' concerns, insofar as these relate to the advisory role of the Members' Council and the implementation of strategy.
What are we going to be talking about on 20 May?
On 20 May, therefore, we will be discussing how the Members' Council performs its advisory functions in terms of the points mentioned and the implementation of strategy. As a Members' Council, we have already shown our strength, but there is always room for improvement.
We stand behind the strategy. The Members' Council, too, believes that, for this reason, repealing the decisions is not in the interest of the cooperative. However, we also feel that, in places, the implementation of strategy could and should have been better. Therefore, in order to reflect on petition concerns - insofar as these relate to the implementation of strategy - we wish to provide maximum space for conversation.
20 May will be a meeting for consideration, not for decision-making, as, in a formal Members' Council meeting to be held shortly after 20 May, Members' Council members will assess everything that has been submitted and reach a conclusion.
I really hope to see you on 20 May!
Watch the video of the petition discussions held by the Members' Council as part of the informal process: