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Grower Van den Berg on sustainability certificate

"“As a conscious grower, PlanetProof is within reach"

Snack tomato grower Marcel van den Berg proudly announced that his company PlanetProof has now been certified. Nursery van den Berg scored a hundred percent at the start of their audit. From now on the snack tomatoes from the nursery in De Lier (Netherlands) will be in supermarkets under the PlantProof label.

Suzanne van der Spek (bQurius) with grower Marcel van den Berg. On behalf of bQurius, Sabine van den Berg was also involved in the certification process.

Preceding the actual certificate was a preparatory process of several months. Marcel received help in getting his certificate from both the DOOR Cooperation, where Prominent grower Van den Berg is a member for his distributions, as well as from the bQurius consultancy firm. Suzanne van der Spek, bQurius: "Nursery van den Berg was already GRASP and GlobalGAP certified. From the very beginning of the process, everything already appeared to be in order. So, in this case, the PlanetProof certificate, which is about the entrepreneur's contribution to a better world, is more of a confirmation that, as a Prominent grower, he was already on the right track.”

Making Moves
On behave of the DOOR cooperation, Els Weerdenburg was involved in the certification process. “With our Quality and Environment department, we facilitate growers willing to take the step to be PlanetProof. Some Dutch supermarkets will make the switch to products with the sustainability label in 2019-2020. To keep up with the demand of these clients, growers need to take action.”

Taking this step is not that easy though. Els; “It’s not as if a grower can just decide to get a certificate within a week. But when he does get it, it is something to be proud of. We mainly help growers with the process (implementation and interpretation of the norm). Besides this, we provide specific documents for the purpose of this norm. We do not give advice in the area of cultivation, seeing as the growers know more about this than we do.”
Great compliment
Suzanne knows that PlanetProof is asking for much more registrations. “A good foolproof plan is important, the reduction of waste is a larger point of attention than with other certificates, as is the amount of products used. As a grower, you need to answer for all of these on paper, but of equal importance is that you can show this in practice. During the audit, held on Monday the 9th of July, it looked like an open house. That everything was approved without major adjustments being needed was actually a great compliment.”

No major investments
Els: "The interesting thing about PlanetProof is that the norms they have are being controlled every year. So there is an examination period in which a grower can see if he is doing the right things. The system pushes growers to think about the environment. Something of which we all see the importance by now. Planetproof is a way to stimulate this type of active thinking.”
Suzanne: "If you as a grower are environmentally conscious in your cultivation and your company, the certificate is obtainable without any major adjustments. Together with Stichting Milieukeur we are constantly thinking about small changes in the certification requirements, by which PlanetProof is better to work with for the growers and the certificate more easily obtained without having to make any major investments.”

A slightly higher price
Els: "Although there is a demand for PlanetProof certified products, it is not yet appreciated price wise. The products cost slightly more, which is a shame.”
Within the DOOR cooperation they have around 131 hectares with PlantProof certification on a total area of 418 hectares. Els: “There is movement however. There will definitely be many more growers certified, but a grower needs to be ready for these changes.” Suzanne: “Luckily many growers already are. In the area of biological pest control, big steps forward have already been made. The Planetproof certificate is the answer to the consciousness of growers looking out for the environment and consumer demand.”

For more information:
Kwekerij van den Berg

Marcel van den Berg

Coöperatie Door U.A.

Els Weerdenburg

Suzanne van der Spek

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