Dutch Flower Auctions Association: new peat-free growing medium grading

The new S57 grading characteristics and values, growers can now indicate to what extent the product has been grown peat-free.

growing medium
Photo by Nikolett Emmert on Unsplash

The VBN (Vereniging van Bloemenveilingen Nederland) is the umbrella organisation of the Dutch cooperative horticultural auctions and works on behalf of the Dutch horticultural auctions. The new grading system is voluntary, which growers can include in their supply information.

According to the VBN, this is an important step taken in reaction to the international pressure regarding the environmental concerns, loss of biodiversity and climate change contributions associated with the extraction of peat. Many of the businesses in the Dutch horticulture have therefore agreed, via a covenant with the government to reduce the use of peat. Furthermore, they have agreed to replace peat and peat products in the professional sector with more sustainable alternatives – especially as large buyers from the English, German and Swiss markets are increasingly asking for this. The new grading system will allow buyers to ascertain the percentage of peat used.

The VBN confirmed their sustainable ambition “Growing greener together” and have said that they “encourage more responsible international production and trade of ornamental horticulture crops. By realising the IMVO Covenant Floriculture Sector (2019-2022) and endorsing the resulting Code of Conduct, we have committed ourselves to the established standards and values for socially responsible business in the floriculture sector”.

They added that in addition to increasing legislative demands, consumers increasingly demand proven and verifiable sustainably cultivated flowers and plants. “Reliability and transparency are essential on our platform and an absolute must for the reputation of the sector. We therefore encourage growers to be transparent about their production methods and to use grading codes and values when supplying their information”, states the VBN.