Frank van der Heide has been appointed as a member of the board of MPS with effect from 27 October 2021. From his role as director at Tuinbranche Nederland, he is involved in making the sector more sustainable. Van der Heide: “We have a wonderful sector where we are making great strides in the field of sustainability and these need to be told more.”
The most important stakeholders are represented on the board. The main task of MPS is to measure and accelerate the sustainability of floriculture companies. The board establishes the policy to achieve this and is responsible for monitoring the progress of the organisation. With the addition of Van der Heide to the MPS board, this has grown to six people and the retail sector is also represented.
Step by step
According to Van der Heide, more transparency is important in floriculture. “Today’s consumers demand this. Floriculture can make an important contribution here. Certification is a very nice means of providing transparency. In addition, growers are often already doing very well, but they find that they can only communicate this when they have achieved their goal. For example, many are using more and more natural pesticides. That should be told. You can very well show step by step what you have achieved and what your ambitions are. Ultimately, no sector can be greener than ours”, says Van der Heide with a smile.
Tuinbranche Nederland represents approximately six hundred garden centers and more than one hundred suppliers in the garden sector. Together they inspire consumers about greenery and (garden) trends, they make connections in the sector and they strive for a sustainable and green society with living and green gardens. After all, gardens can make a nice contribution to the climate issue. The latter is an important point at the moment: The Dutch garden industry has the ambition to green the 5.5 million gardens in the Netherlands by an average of 10 square meters per garden. “In total that is 55 million square meters, the same size as the Hoge Veluwe National Park. The challenge is that we must ensure that this is done with sustainable floricultural products that promote biodiversity.”
Greening the garden
More than sixty million people visit Dutch garden centers every year. “That is why we have created climate squares in collaboration with municipalities, water boards, nature organisations and garden center entrepreneurs. Here we provide information about how people can organise their garden in an environmentally friendly way. It is an inspirational place where you can find information about the use of a rain barrel, bird houses, butterfly and bee-friendly plants and about subsidies for green roofs. Moreover, the squares change with the seasons”, says Van der Heide. 36 garden centers have now been equipped with such a climate square and more than 25 will be added next year.
“To make those gardens greener with responsible products the consumer needs information”, continues Van der Heide. “Transparency about the production method and origin of products can contribute enormously to this. Certification is a good way to show that.”