New HTA committee & working group to expand member engagement

The Horticultural Trades Association announces the formation of a new committee and working group to enhance member engagement on important challenges and create new opportunities.

The new committee, the Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) Retail Committee, will include permanent representation from the Garden Centre Association (GCA), building on increasing collaboration between the two associations. This partnership aims to establish representation and a strong voice for horticultural retailers, promoting collaborative work and efficiency between the two organisations. It builds on the growing need to support garden retailers on areas such as sustainability, crime, plants in the retail environment, and regulatory changes.

The committee will contribute to the HTA’s lobbying and representation activities and will work with the HTA to represent the retail sector to the media, policymakers, and parliamentarians. This role creates an important opportunity for retailers to influence the industry’s direction and ensure their voices and needs are heard. Furthermore, the committee will support member engagement, ensuring that retailer members are supported in making use of the services and business support available to them through the HTA.

The HTA is also forming a Plant Cultivation Products working group, covering fertilisers, plant protection products, growing media, and bio-stimulants. The working group will be working with the HTA to assess how the HTA’s role in these vital areas could develop to benefit members, for instance around regulation, knowledge transfer through the supply chain, R&D, and sustainability. The group will work closely with the HTA to identify potential areas of work for the association, including opportunities for collaboration with other organisations in this space. Part of the work of the group will be to put forward recommendations for a new HTA committee to sustain representation, collaboration and input from members and other stakeholder organisations in this area. This group, and others, such as the Growing Media Task Force, will take forward some of the critical issues that had been in the scope of the HTA’s Growing Media Association (GMA) group, with a new, refreshed, and refocused approach.

HTA Chief Executive, Fran Barnes, commented: “Following consultation with members, I am pleased to announce our new retailer committee and the Plant Cultivation Products working group to reflect the demand for closer engagement on critical business issues and more opportunities to network and collaborate. The HTA’s representation and engagement work has been strengthened in recent years, and these developments in our committees further reinforce this, supporting the HTA and its members to cultivate a more sustainable future. Strengthening our focus on retail and plant cultivation is a significant development in ensuring that the diverse voices within these sectors are heard and represented. With ongoing regulatory challenges and the need for more support to adapt, these committees will be an important forum to advance our work. Our collaboration with the GCA will also enhance our ability to address key issues and drive positive change across the industry.”

Peter Burks, GCA CEO said: “We’re looking forward to being part of the HTA’s new retail committee. In recent years, GCA and HTA have collaborated on areas such as lobbying and sustainability, and we’re looking forward to further joint working on issues that affect retailers and businesses in the wider industry. Like the HTA, we believe that the committee will benefit from the experiences and perspectives of as diverse a range of people as possible and encourage anyone with a contribution to make to get in touch with the HTA.”

Nominations for the Retail Committee are open to HTA-member businesses primarily engaged in retailing garden products. The committee will meet at least three times a year, both in person and virtually. The HTA encourages diverse nominations and inclusive representation. You can nominate yourself or a colleague by completing the online application form on the HTA website, where the terms of reference of the new committee are available.