A surprise ceremony at the D.S. Cole Growers booth during Cultivate’17 on July 17, marked 10 years since More Profitable Sustainability (MPS) became involved in the U.S. market, thanks to the leadership and foresight of D.S. Cole Growers Owner Doug Cole. As the first U.S. grower to achieve internationally recognized sustainability certification by earning the MPS-ABC certificate, D.S. Cole Growers has been a pioneer in the U.S. floriculture market by implementing sustainability as a central focus in all aspects of its production process.
At the celebration, Yolande van de Boom, CEO of MPS, presented Doug Cole with an award to show the appreciation and gratitude for a decade of cooperation between D.S. Cole Growers and MPS, noting the importance of global sustainability.
Cole accepted the award humbly, saying that D.S. Cole Growers has been proud to be a partner with MPS. To achieve MPS-ABC certification, the operation looked at several areas, and focused first on reducing inputs that were in excess of the sustainability benchmarks MPS provided. This applies to water, energy, and fertilizers. Having the entire company’s buy-in is important, as that support both during the qualification process, as well as on a continued basis going forward to continue to make improvements, has been critical to the operation’s success, Cole says.
The MPS-ABC certification has allowed D.S. Cole to improve efficiency and sustainability, and the operation has also earned MPS-GAP certification.
In the 10 years since the young plant grower operation became involved with MPS, several growers throughout North America have pursued sustainability certification.
Metrolina Greenhouses Earns MPS-A Certification
On the same day during the Cultivate’17 tradeshow, Metrolina Greenhouses, headquartered in Huntersville, NC, was presented with its MPS-A certification by the MPS group. After one year of audits, Metrolina has gained the highest level of greenhouse certification offered. This certification registers usage of fertilizers, crop protection products, energy consumption, and water and waste management. The lower the usage rates of all segments result in a higher score.
Metrolina’s Director of Research, Dr. Mark Yelanich, has worked closely with MPS throughout the year, and says he is excited to announce the certification and that the operation has been recognized for ongoing efforts in sustainability. The operation has always had a strong focus on sustainability and innovation, as they are two of the five core principles of the company.
“We collect rainwater and recycle and re-use the collected rainwater for irrigation ,” Yelanich says. “Furthermore, wood burners are being used to generate heat so we use less oil and gas. The MPS-A certificate is, for both customers and employees of Metrolina Greenhouses, proof that sustainability and innovation pay off. We have always focused on how to be sustainable while also being more efficient, and the MPS certification helps us monitor this from a third-party perspective.”
The operation pursued certification for many reasons, but overall the purpose of this process and partnership with MPS is to have calculated and audited metrics to improve efficiencies, to focus efforts on areas needing improvement, and to make the business more sustainable in the future, says Abe VanWingerden, Co-CEO of Metrolina Greenhouses.
“We know that being sustainable is better for the people, the environment, and ultimately better for business; therefore it’s a win-win-win situation,” VanWingerden says.
Dümmen Orange Continues to Strengthen MPS Certification Portfolio
The evening of July 16, Dümmen Orange was recognized for its continued dedication for promoting sustainability in the floriculture industry. Through a deep understanding of environmental impact and the importance of sustainable operations, Dümmen Orange has implemented production best practices within its facilities to meet or exceed MPS standards on environmental and agricultural practices, as well as social responsibility.
Arthij van der Veer, General Coordinator for MPS in North America, has great admiration for the past three years of ongoing and expanding efforts on social aspects at the Dümmen Orange, Las Mercedes production farm in El Salvador. During a visit in March 2017, he said, “I was again able to see with my own eyes how Las Mercedes is making a difference for families, minority groups, and children. It is great to see that during the 2017 audit, the auditor has confirmed a 100% compliance on MPS-GAP and MPS Socially Qualified requirements at Las Mercedes.
Carl Kroon, General Manager at Las Mercedes, confirmed the company’s dedication, saying, “Nowadays, consumers are not only interested in the visible and tangible characteristics of the products they buy, they also are concerned with how products are made. Dümmen Orange is deeply rooted in our commitment to our people, our values, and our planet. The MPS certification helps us demonstrate to our customers that our production methods respect our workers and the environment.”
MPS Continues to Expand
Launched in 1993 in the Netherlands with a focus on reducing the environmental impact of growing, since then, MPS’ activities have expanded to more than 45 countries with more than 3,200 participants for the MPS-ABC Sustainability Certification. MPS provides the following certifications:
- MPS-ABC is the company scorecard where growers are evaluated on five themes: use of crop protection agents, fertilizers, energy, water, and recycling. The goal of MPS-ABC is continuous improvement in the production process on the five themes.
- MPS-GAP (Good Agricultural Practices) relates to a variety of aspects in relation to production, including the correct use and application of crop protection agents and traceability during the total production and shipping process.
- MPS-SQ (Socially Qualified) refers to safe and rewarding working conditions with a focus on general health, welfare of the labor force, and identical treatment of men and women during production.
Learn more about the third-party certification entity on the MPS website.