Fair trade in Belgian ornamental plants

ID’Flor obtains ‘Fair Flowers Fair Plants’ label
ID’Flor is the second Belgian ornamental plant company to obtain the Fair Flowers Fair Plants hallmark. This label stands for ornamental plant products which have been cultivated in a people-friendly and environmentally-friendly manner. ‘We listen to the market and try to respond to it’ is how manager Piet Ravelingen explains the changeover to the FFP label.

ID’Flor and Fikoplant: two Belgian FFP companies
In mid-September, ID’Flor obtained the FFP label and is thereby bringing fair trade azaleas onto the Belgian market. Last year, the company was awarded the MPS-GAP label, which is based on the requirements of supermarkets. Supermarkets want to buy safe, sustainably grown, high-quality and traceable products. ‘Fair trade was therefore a logical step’, says Ravelingen.

Grower Fikoplant-Konaplant had already previously obtained the first Flemish FFP label. This company almost exclusively supplies ornamental plants to the international market. With the recognition of ID’Flor, there are now also FFP products available for Belgian consumers. This label guarantees consumers that they are buying environmentally aware and socially sound products and they are also able to perfectly trace the origin of their plant or flower.

Respect for people and the environment
Before acquiring the international FFP label, companies must first obtain two other quality labels. “Firstly, the MPS-A environmental certificate”, says Alain De Cuyper from ID’Flor. “This is a monthly control mechanism concerning the consumption of plant protection products, fertilisers, waste and energy. In addition, a social label must also be obtained for staff policy.” FFP companies are evaluated annually in respect of the fulfilment of the social requirements on the basis of MPS Socially Qualified specifications.

FFP label on the rise internationally
The strength of the label is such that the initiative is supported by all large countries that produce ornamental plant products. Furthermore, the influence of the hallmark goes beyond cultivation alone. A unique interplay between growers, wholesalers and florists forms the basis of the concept. All FFP ornamental plant products therefore pass along a chain with various links, all of which are members of Fair Flowers Fair Plants. Eleven European countries already have FFP-approved sales points. The florist shops taking part can be identified by a window sticker and the flowers and plants themselves also come with an FFP label. A list of all participants, that is to say growers, dealers and sales points, can be found at www.fairflowersfairplants.com.

ID’Flor belongs to the Floré group from Lochristi, a centre of ornamental plant production, and has four growing locations which together comprise 10.5 ha of covered production and 7.5 ha in the open air. The company was founded in 1954 and currently employs more than fifty staff. ID’Flor offers a wide selection of products for the domestic and international markets. These include indoor plants such as azaleas, orchids and clivias and outdoor plants such as rhododendrons and bamboo.
The company aims to cultivate pot plants in a sustainable and environmentally-aware manner by investing in the environment, sound production and infrastructure. ID’Flor is MPS-GAP certified and in April 2010 also received the award for the ‘Most sustainable ornamental plant grower in Flanders’ at the Ghent Floralies from the Flemish Environmental Plan for Ornamental Horticulture (VMS) 

Group photo: Jozef Dauwe, deputy; Piet Ravelingien, ID'Flor manager; Alain De Cuyper, ID'Flor sales and marketing manager; Alexander Vercamer, first deputy; and Roger Devriendt, honorary chairman of the VMS.

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