Royal FloraHolland | Management column: Growing greener…
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Management column: Growing greener together with Royal FloraHolland

February 28, 2024

Managementcolumn over duurzaamheidsambitie Royal Flora Holland Maarten Banki
In this management column, Maarten Bankí, manager Sustainable Development & Quality, discusses sustainability. An important foundation for Royal FloraHolland. We are actively committed to making our cooperative more sustainable and want to play a leading role in this.

For me, sustainability is about realising that we did not inherit the earth from our ancestors, but have it on loan from our children and grandchildren. It is necessary to make floriculture sustainable as well to keep the world livable for future generations. A large proportion of our growers and buyers are fortunately aware of this and therefore also know that cultivation and trading must be different. Often, our growers are already working with the next generation to 'do this differently'.

Yet for a long time, sustainability was something people did because it was expected, without sustainability really being a full part of the strategy and business operations. This was also the case at Royal FloraHolland for a long time. About five years ago, this really changed. We increasingly realised that a reliable and transparent marketplace is a necessity and that sustainable development is an essential part of the cooperative to prepare the company for the future. Consumers increasingly demand demonstrably sustainably grown flowers and plants. Reliability and transparency of our platform and the origin and method of production is therefore an absolute must for the industry's reputation. It is important that growers provide some form of assurance through certification that their product has been produced sustainably. And while we are making nice progress in this, there is still plenty of work to be done."

Growing greener together, our sustainable ambition

Meanwhile, sustainability can no longer be left out of Royal FloraHolland's strategy. For Royal FloraHolland, sustainability is an important foundation. We are actively committed to making our cooperative more sustainable and want to play a leading role in this. We do this for example by stimulating sustainability among our growers and in the floriculture chain in general. Together with growers and other parties in the chain, we are working on sustainability. And that goes beyond certification.

Our sustainable ambition 'Growing greener together' has three pillars:

  • Reliable and transparent floriculture marketplace: we want to be a safe and transparent platform. 
  • Liveable planet: we want to minimise our impact on the environment. 
  • Inspired and vital people: we want to offer people a healthy and safe workplace and environment, where people come into their own, so that together we achieve more.

Sustainability goes beyond green

Sustainability in the broad sense of the word goes beyond green and the environment. Safety is also an important issue, both the physical safety and the social safety of the people working at Royal FloraHolland and at the growers. But a safe digital platform is also crucial. That is why, as Royal Floraholland, we invest in an environment that can withstand attacks by cybercriminals and are one of the initiators of the Cyber Resilience Centre Greenport. Reliability and transparency are important. Platform users and consumers simply want to be sure and feel that (cyber)security and sustainability are in good shape. In addition, consumers are asking for more transparency in the chain and the legislator is also increasingly demanding this. Think of (European) legislation, such as CSRD. The Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) is an EU directive requiring large companies to report on their impact on people and the environment in their sustainability reporting. And it also shows that sustainability goes beyond energy use, greenhouse gas emissions, circularity and waste management. Vital and engaged employees are also key to making a difference. That is why we want it to be attractive and socially safe to work at Royal FloraHolland and in the floriculture chain. And through our sustainable ambition 'Growing greener together', we are working on sustainability for tomorrow."

Sustainable for tomorrow 

Sustainability is a hard precondition for our future. There is still a lot of work to be done here. Both for Royal FloraHolland and for growers who trade through our platform. But apart from the challenges, sustainability also offers platform users opportunities to make a difference together with Royal FloraHolland in the areas of environment, people and organisation. Because sustainability can also trigger network effects. It makes our platform more attractive to sustainable entrepreneurs who like to use our platform for simplified dealmaking, use our services in the field of customised logistics and smart business. And it also attracts young people eager to participate in sustainability. In sustainability, we are making smart use of digitalisation. We are now working hard to get the FloriPEFCR (Flori Product Environmental Footprint Category Rules) approved. This EU-approved set of calculation rules for floriculture will allow you to calculate environmental footprints at product level using recognised tools in due course. But we will be happy to tell you more about that soon!"