The Sjaak van Schie booth at IPM Essen is filled with Hydrangeas in all colours and sizes, from cuttings to end products. The company specialises in Hydrangeas. “It is our job to ensure that our hydrangeas are produced as sustainably as possible and that we keep the use of plant protection products to a minimum,” says Roel van Schie, director at Sjaak van Schie.

“I believe we are on our way to a future where chemicals will no longer be used in production. That is why it is important to be aware of the resources we use. MPS-ABC is a powerful tool to do so: it keeps you focussed and makes you aware,” says Van Schie.

“Moreover, I think that the Dutch ornamental horticulture sector should distinguish itself from the rest of the world with respect to the use of resources, and MPS-ABC can help with that. We are responsible for the products from our country and together we have to ensure that environmental organisations do not find harmful substances on our plant material.”

Employees are central
In addition to MPS-ABC, Sjaak van Schie is also MPS-GAP, MPS-SQ, MPS-ProductProof and GRASP certified, and the company has branches in the Netherlands and Portugal. Van Schie: “We try to involve everyone in the company in the certifications and make them enthusiastic about sustainability. It’s fun to motivate people and work together to make the company more sustainable.”

The company tried to involve as many people as possible in the preparations for MPS-SQ. This certificate focusses on the employees and examines working conditions. One of MPS-SQ’s requirements is to have a works council. “We organised an election for the works council, because we didn’t have one yet. It was good to see how enthusiastic our people were about this,” says the director.

Plastic recycling
In addition to limiting the use of resources, plastic plays a significant role within the company. “Consumers are increasingly demanding paper packaging, but we believe that plastic can also be sustainable. Our pots are made of 98 percent recycled material; the remaining 2 percent is the additive that is needed to give the pots their grey colour.” Sjaak van Schie recycles as much plastic as possible. Old pots are steam-cleaned and reused by the company. Van Schie: “Any pots that we cannot reuse are returned to the pot supplier with whom we work. He turns them into new pots for us. I think that many great opportunities can be found in this type of collaboration.”