Ball Horticultural Co. is working with MPS on sustainable initiatives, including its Certified EcoSource program that promotes a certified sustainable supply chain. These cutting, plug and liner suppliers have earned independent third party environmental certifications, including VeriFlora, USDA Organic and MPS.
D.S. Cole Growers in Loudon, N.H., is the first U.S. growing operation to earn MPS ABC (environmental score card) certification. Based in Holland, MPS has more than 85 participants in Latin America and hundreds more in Europe. This global certification is of interest to Ball because the company has a strong presence on six continents in more than 20 countries.
In the United States, Ball has been influential in getting growers involved in VeriFlora, including Ball Tagawa Growers in California, Tagawa Greenhouse Enterprises in Colorado, Dickman Farms in New York and Bell Nursery in Maryland.
“Sustainability is a core mission for Ball,” says Frances Kwong who helps lead Ball’s sustainable initiatives. “We promote sustainable horticulture through methods that include crop production processes, organic seed production, the development and use of biopesticides and biofertilizers, and the creation of a line of biodegradable containers.”
Ball holds MPS ABC certificates in Guatemala, Costa Rica, Chile, the United States and China.
“We chose MPS for our global seed and vegetative production companies because of the expertise and extensive experience of MPS in working with commercial ornamental producers,” Kwong says. “The certification process is straight forward and the scoring system is easy to interpret. MPS ABC provides an excellent platform for us to evaluate the environmental impact of our production practices. By having the same external audit on the sustainability performance of our individual locations, we have a common basis to compare internal experiences on how to become more sustainable in our work. It is an important tool for us in terms of setting realistic and achievable goals for sustainable production through better and more efficient production methods.”
While MPS is more established in the rest of the world, Kwong sees a bright future for MPS in the United States. For MPS ABC certification, growers document their use of crop protection chemicals and fertilizers, energy consumption and handling of waste. “As more American growers become familiar with the details of the MPS programs, they will come to appreciate how certification can help them become better growers while getting the recognition of being environmentally responsible at the same time.”