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FORT LAUDERDALE, FL — Fair Flowers Fair Plants is coming to the United States on a trial basis in the coming year in cooperation with MPS certification company, according to Arthij van der Veer, MPS international coordinator.

SMITCharlotte Smit“Working with growers, traders and florists, MPS and FFP are trying to make sustainably grown floriculture products the largest range of products on the market,” Mr. van der Veer told The Produce News at the Tropical Plant Industry Exhibition in Fort Lauderdale, FL, Jan. 24.

The tandem introduction is part of an overall agreement announced earlier this year linking MPS and FFP. FFP has been limited to Europe since it was started seven years ago with backing from growers and industry groups, unions and private nonprofit organizations. It offers certification for environmental and social standards for flowers and plants.

MPS started in 1995 as an environmental sustainability certification group at a Dutch flower auction and now operates in 50 countries. It began operations in this country in 2010 and now has 40 certified horticultural firms, according to Charlotte Smit, the Western United States representative for MPS. MPS offers the following certificates in the United States and Canada for growers and wholesalers:

• MPS ABC: environmental scorecard.

• MPS GAP: Good Agricultural Practices (officially benchmarked with GlobalGAP).

• MPS Socially Qualified: social certification.

• MPS Florimark Trade: Traceability, quality assurance and environmental issues for wholesalers and shippers.

The FFP certification need not come from MPS; it can also be issued by KFC-Silver, Fiore Giusto, Fair Choice and Forest Garden Products, a company news release noted. Two MPS-certified growers, D.S. Cole and Westerlay Orchids, will become the first growers to meet MPS GAP standards, Ms. Smit said.

To introduce the new FFP label here, a major promotion campaign aimed at consumers is planned, Mr. van der Veer said. “Everyone in the chain must be made aware what Fair Flowers Fair Plants stands for,” he added. “In addition, MPS and FFP will make it easier for companies to participate. For example, the label will soon extend to bouquets made from products originating from certified companies and participating growers could display the FFP label on the sleeve.”