Reducing environmental impact in the flowers sector

The IDH Flowers and Plants program has adopted new criteria to support growers in their journey towards measuring and reducing environmental impact. These criteria include additional environmental points with an emphasis on reinforcing reliable record-keeping. They will be used to benchmark relevant standards in the Floriculture Sustainability Initiative (FSI) Basket of standards.

In the past years, growers endeavored to adopt IPM practices across their normal business activities and many sustainability standards designed their services to enable growers to record data on agrochemicals use into their central databases. Some standards have already developed their own toxic load indicators to evaluate the impact on the environment.

Considering these developments, IDH and FSI worked closely with sector partners to respond to the clear emerging need of:

  1. Obtaining an agreement over a standardized set of data that growers can use to record their use of agrochemicals;
  2. Defining reliable means to verify records and practices during the audits;
  3. Facilitating comparison of performances over time and space to stimulate continuous improvement;
  4. Facilitating the communication on positive change across the supply chain.

By going through the new FSI environmental benchmark process, sustainability standards agree on harmonizing their approaches around a set of standardized record keeping of key input used by growers and of standardized auditing practices.

The new criteria are optional for standards to comply with until 2020, when they will become mandatory. Then sustainable production in FSI will be outlined with reference to the three areas of the FSI Basket of Standards: Agricultural, Social and Environmental practices.

From today until 2020, sustainability standards  can start adopting the new criteria and already be recognized in the environmental dimension of the FSI Basket of Standards on the basis of a self-declaration process.

The FSI is part of IDH’s Fresh and ingredients program that is driving the change in production practices to increase the supply of sustainable flowers and plants. To be successful in this change, the FSI needs to continually advance its approach. Updating the FSI Basket of Standards to include environmental benchmarking criteria is an important step. It will contribute to guiding and supporting the sector in adopting ah harmonized and more data driven approach on measuring environmental performances. In addition, the new approach can inspire other sectors to adjust their approaches and reduce environmental impact.