Italian grower urges French industry peers not to neglect their internal ethics

PONTINIA, Italy: Italian wholesale plant nursery Jardiservice, located about 70 kilometres southeast of Rome, has warned its French customers that a lack of clarity and morality undermine the effort to limit transmission of the coronavirus

Over the past few days, plant grower, Denis Nadal of wholesale plant nursery Jardiservice in Pontinia, has been experiencing unsympathetic behaviour from neighbouring countries. He has a message of warning to not only the floriculture industry, but to society.

He directs his emotional address to the French ornamental industry in response to its current inconsistent opening hours and closing times of garden centres and florists – likening it to automatic doors. If there is a non-essential directive policy, Nadal believes the French sector needs to be more transparent in its motives. There needs to be more guidance to protect French citizens and inform international traders. He hails the moment has arrived that industry peers in the Hexagone must stop neglecting their internal ethics.

He says the following: “This dreaded virus contaminates our lives at such a business-critical time of the year. Working conditions in our country have changed very quickly. In our country, yesterday (18 March), nearly 500 people died in 24-hours due to Covid-19 – that’s enormous. People can no longer attend funerals, not even for their closest relative. Those who remain must say ‘farewell’ to their loved ones from afar. Funeral homes are no longer able to answer calls. The coronavirus is a tragedy for everyone.

He continues, “Only two weeks ago, our country and its citizens were in precisely the same mood as most of the French are today. We were full of energy and optimism and eager to see the end of a situation, we were not able to understand fully. But I can guarantee you; that we, the Italians, have been forced to realise the horror at a dazzling speed. It makes no sense to look in hindsight. Now that the fight against the coronavirus is a full-on war, our business, our jobs, our economy are at stake while we struggle to manage our personal lives.

“For us, as an exporter and distributor business, we are totally paralysed. The paradox is that our greenhouse are filled to the brim while nothing leaves. Now, the only thing we face is expenses — no figures on the sales board. And nothing truly means nothing. It means ZERO!

“Last Sunday, I decided to withdraw from a promotional sale we had set up with one of our major customers. The shipment would have included the distribution of plants worth half a million of Euros across France in 48 hours.

“I decided to say no. Not only because of the danger to the public health would be too big but also the responsibility of pushing a shipment through, ‘no matter what happens’, realising that upon arrival of the plants, men and women will unload and unpack them. Also, truckers face all kind of hurdles to keep supply chains moving and to have 20 trucks stranded, no matter where in Europe is not an attractive scenario. Some of you might take this is a Commedia dell’Arte, but I can assure you it is not!

“Dear and estimated customers, dear colleagues, dear suppliers, dear friends, please listen to this Italian: Stop thinking about business alone and stop neglecting your internal ethics.

“The reality is that all of us must be prepared to make economic sacrifices to minimise the harm of this evolving crisis. But please think about saving lives right now! The sooner you know how to do this, the sooner you’ll get out of this crisis!”

Author: Ron van der Ploeg, based on an article published in Jardin Animalerie Fleuriste (JAF)

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