Logistics, sustainability and digitization: these themes play an important role at the Royal Flora Holland cooperative, as they do for many Board members. The cooperative, with nearly 4,000 growers as a member, makes an important contribution to the green and healthy Metropolitan Region, says General Manager Steven van Schilfgaarde.
Royal Flora Holland forms the link between growers and buyers. Or, as director Steven van Schilfgaarde puts it: “We take care of the order, payment and delivery of floriculture. We did that a hundred years ago, and we still do today. ” With more than 3,000 employees and its headquarters in Aalsmeer, the cooperative is an important player in the region and in the world. As a market leader and as an example to others. For corona, delegations and tourists came from all over the world to the visitor center in Aalsmeer.
As a large organization in the Metropolitan Area, collaboration with other organizations is of great importance, says Van Schilfgaarde. That is why Royal Flora Holland is a member of the Network Council of the Board. “Just like the Board, we are concerned with logistical challenges, with digitization, with knowledge and innovation development, with our personnel of the future. So there are enough starting points to visit each other and learn from each other. ”
Around the billiard table
In those hundred years – the organization has the predicate Royal – quite a lot has changed. Where the billiard table used to be used for auctioning, Royal Flora Holland is now busy digitizing the entire sales process. On the digital platform Floriday growers and buyers can now go to arrange everything related to the sale of floriculture. “The interesting thing is: if this system is up and running and everyone uses it, then nobody wants to go back. But development and implementation is not easy. Each grower has its own business processes and systems to which Floriday must connect. Thanks to good cooperation, we managed to develop something that is interesting for all stakeholders. ”
Among other things, Floriday must contribute to organizing logistics around floriculture much more efficiently. Van Schilfgaarde: “In our digital platform, all data about the required transport will soon be brought together. To this end, we have set up the Floriway joint venture with three major floriculture transporters. As a result, we can organize transport flows much more efficiently and therefore reduce them. It is very important that all parties can share their data in a responsible manner and that seems to fit in well with initiatives of the Board such as TADA and AMDEX, which are working on an open, fair and reliable data market in the metropolitan region. I find it interesting to look at that. What then remains in transport flows, we can organize more efficiently, bundle more and have zero emissions transported electrically or otherwise.
The Plastic Pact and the Green City
Royal Flora Holland is also committed to sustainability in other areas. For example in its own operation: the cooperative signed it at the beginning of last year Plastic Pact , an initiative of the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment. “We try to collect and reuse all our plastic – which is quite a bit. We have a whole collection protocol for that. But there is still room for improvement. ”
In addition, Royal Flora Holland is working hard on it an environmental certificate . Every member must have such a certificate by early 2022. “This is partly also due to the demand from our major buyers: they look very emphatically at sustainably grown products. We therefore see that growers are open to this. They want to come along. ” Van Schilfgaarde emphasizes that the floriculture sector is already much more innovative than most people think. “CO2-neutral greenhouses, biological crop protection methods, water reuse: we see great initiatives at many growers.”
As a partner of the platform The Green City Van Schilfgaarde also actively promotes that greenery can do a lot for sustainability, especially outside its own sector. “We know that greenery in buildings does a lot for the environment. Research shows that the costs for management far outweigh the positive effect on employees, but also on the climate, healthier air, stabilization in heat exchange. ”
What role does Van Schilfgaarde see for the Board in the coming years? “I think the Board should continue to connect with what is happening at European and national level. The European Commission has announced a Green Deal, we know that it will require major sustainability investments from companies and governments. I expect the Board to be a linking pin: between new regulations and all kinds of agreements, and subsidy options for the business community, for example, but also a linking pin in facilitating cooperation. ”
It appeals to him that the Board’s objectives are so ambitious. “If you don’t set targets, nobody will move. To get them done, we have to work together. By setting priorities together and trusting each other. And of course the Board also plays an important role in this. ”