Sustainability more and more of a priority

It was a year ago, after Ter Laak Orchids won the AIPH International Grower of the Year (IGOTY) 2018, that I last wrote about sustainability.  One year on this continues to rise up the agenda for businesses in our sector.  Walking around IPM Essen it was also clear to see that businesses throughout the industry are looking at new ways to be more sustainable.

The winners of IGOTY 2019, announced on 23rd January at IPM Essen, continue to lead the industry on this topic.  Gediflora from Belgium won the overall IGOTY prize and congratulations to them.  But, the Sustainability award was won by an innovative grower from China; Inner Mongolia M•Grass Ecological Environment Group.  This company grows plants that are used in huge scale restoration projects to bring habitats and biodiversity into urban areas or areas needing regeneration.  Such companies are contributing to the sustainability of a whole nation and highlight that our industry is mainstream and important in tackling big national sustainability issues.  How often do we shout about this?

The Silver award in this category went to Butterfly Garden from Denmark.  This company has boldly taken steps to use recycled materials.  Such companies lead the way, recognising the long-time goals, despite the production and cost challenges faced on the way.  It is right that we celebrate innovators like this.

There cannot be a country in the world that did not take a new look at the use of plastics in 2018.  Images of oceans filled with plastic widely circulated in the media and online.  As an industry we have a high reliance on plastic, in packaging, logistics and production.  We also need to find solutions for the future and to take the initiative on this issue.

With this in mind AIPH is organising a conference focused on the industry’s use of plastic, alongside our Spring Meeting taking place in Noordwijk in the Netherlands on 2 April 2019.  We want to explore the issues and to share initiatives and solutions from around the world.  And, of course, we want to invite you to come along too.  We are stronger working together to make our industry more sustainable and to prepare for the future.

With the help of the Floriculture Sustainability Initiative (FSI) and its members sustainability can no longer be ignored, in fact, for the good of the whole industry, it is becoming the licence you need to trade.  That certificate on the wall is no longer an added benefit but a core feature of the business.  I look forward to working with you as we create a more sustainable future.

Rachel Wakefield

Communications Executive and Associate Editor
United Kingdom