Royal Lemkes on Sustainable Awareness10 October 2018
Natural materials, own energy storage, electric bikes - Royal Lemkes clearly has a very green heart. Even the coffee cups are recycled into toilet paper. As FSI accelerator, Royal Lemkes is dedicated to making the chain more sustainable. We discussed this with Elise Wieringa, Manager Quality Assurance & Sustainability.
"I am always looking for ways and means to connect people. This is how we help one another. By utilizing and sharing our knowledge, we can achieve more together." Elise's enthusiasm is infectious. How sustainable is the chain? And what (small) steps can we take to make it more sustainable? This is an interesting question to consider on this day, 10 October 2018, Sustainability Day!
FSI and the accelerators
Retail companies, including major international supermarkets, garden centers, home improvement stores and e-commerce companies, are imposing increasingly tough demands on growers in terms of sustainability. The Floriculture Sustainability Initiative (FSI) is the leading initiative for advancing sustainability in the international floriculture chain. Its concrete objective is to ensure that 90% of all plants and flowers traded or produced by its members must be sustainable by 2020. Royal Lemkes is one of the FSI accelerators. Elise explains: "As an accelerator, you put a flywheel into motion and crank it up in order to speed up the process whereby increasing numbers of growers switch to certification. For the near future a certificate is definitely a 'license to sell'."
Sustainability in the chain, focus on awareness
Elise: "There is not one simple solution for achieving the FSI 2020 objective. A tailored approach will always be required." Change does not always generate immediate results. Changes made on one side of the chain could be detrimental to the objective on the other side. Fortunately we are aware of this. We are now also focusing on this awareness. For instance, we organize workshops on a regular basis for several parties in the chain, asking them where they envisage possibilities. This can produce excellent ideas. We strive to set an example in the green sector and collaborate with our chain partners on increasing sustainability, from start to finish."
Are plants and sustainability compatible?
Elise: "Plants and sustainability may seem to be bedfellows but that isn't necessarily the case. Raw materials are required for production and transport, which also contribute to carbon emissions. Furthermore, substances used during production are not always good for people and the environment, so their use must be reduced. Consumers may not want insects in their plants, but these creatures sometimes offer an alternative to crop protection agents that we prefer to no longer use. This is precisely why it is so important to include consumers in the awareness process. If they demand good, honest products, this will encourage increased sustainability throughout the chain."
Let's plantify the future
"Royal Lemkes has a green heart and believes in sustainable growth! There are so many great initiatives that could be linked to sustainability that would benefit everyone. This also includes sustainable personnel growth. Invest in people, let them evolve, make sure they continue to think and ask questions. Only then will the best ideas come to the fore that could help us all in making sustainability the new standard. After all, sustainability also means continuity, and we cannot carry on in the same way for ever. Something has to change."