Learn more about improved transparency and management of agrochemical use in the flowers and plants sector, where sustainability standard MPS, together with 13 other members of the Floriculture Sustainability Initiative (FSI), collaborated on a project resulting in a substantial reduction in agrochemical use and a reduced environmental impact.
Flowers and plants are produced and sold around the word and move through a global supply chain, starting from a cutting or young plant stage, to a stage in which it grows roots and finally to the grower stage, where it grows into the plant which eventually gets sold. Agrochemicals are used throughout this global supply chain, and growers do not always know which product has been used earlier on in the chain. To increase transparency in agrochemical use throughout the chain and to reduce the use of agrochemical for a better and safer environment, sustainability standard MPS collaborated with 22 companies (out of which 8 are FSI member) in the project “Chain Transparency 2.0”.
The Chain Transparency project, funded by IDH and facilitated by FSI, followed the plant production process of these 22 companies between 2016 and 2019, making information of agrochemical usage of the supply chain available by collectively taking samples of the products, recording and analyzing data, and identifying best practices for responsible agrochemical usage. By doing so, the project partners created more knowledge of agrochemical use as well as a collaborative commitment on practical solutions to improve. These outcomes have been echoed by participating companies during these interviews.
The Chain Transparency 2.0 project is a great example of how a combined floriculture supply chain approach leads to benefits for the whole sector. By following the plant production process of 22 companies, and testing best practices for responsible agrochemical usage, the project demonstrates how the Floriculture Sustainability Initiative members work collaboratively to meet sustainability challenges.
The activities under the project increased transparency and communication throughout the chain. Through these activities, participating companies gained improved insights in agrochemical use, allowing them to make better informed pest management decisions. As a result, the participating companies demonstrated substantial reduction in agrochemical use, with 45% reduction on average and even a 64% for the group of agrochemical active ingredients with a high potential risk for environment. The average reduction of agrochemical use volume translates to an environmental impact reduction of 47% per hectare on which the agrochemicals were used. This is substantial even compared to the combined records of 1,818 floriculture companies that are certified to the MPS-ABC environmental standard, which demonstrate a positive but nonetheless lower reduction of the environmental impact of 14% in the same period.
The Chain Transparency Project leads to several long-term benefits, which range from increased transparency and alignment with societal expectations, to healthier working conditions and improved environmental impact. The insights from the project will be translated into responsible agrochemical strategies which can be used by the whole floriculture sector, and potentially other sectors, to reduce environmental impact.
Please see the below factsheet for a more detailed overview of the results of the Chain Transparency 2.0 project.
The approach taken in the Chain Transparency 2.0 project builds on the flower sector’s movement towards improved data management and transparency to enable more sustainability. Whereas in the past, data would capture how much of a agrochemicals’ active ingredient was used per hectare without translating that into local impact on the environment, CPA data of flower companies under the Chain Transparency project is directly transformed into environmental impact classifications. This is done by including risk factors in the data analysis, allowing companies to consider environmental factors, substance properties and emission reduction measures.
This advancement in environmental impact assessments contributes to efforts of developing an environmental impact indicator and aligns well with the FSI approach and strategy. FSI has recently developed environmental benchmarking criteria for the FSI basket of standards. This new basket aligns sustainability standards to align on digital record keeping on use of agrochemicals, fertilizer, water and energy. FSI is furthermore in the closing stage of the development of their 2025 strategy which, amongst other things, will focus on data management and environmental footprinting to reduce the environmental impact of FSI members.