September 27, 2022

Floriculture sector moves ahead on Responsible Business Conduct

Handing over the IRBC roadmap. From right to left: Steven Smit, Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Ted van der Put, Chairman IRBC; Marcel Zandvliet, Vice-Chair of the Floriculture Sustainability Initiative (FSI) Board, and Jeroen Oudheusden, Executive Officer of FSI.


Signatories and stakeholders of the agreement focusing on International Responsible Business Conduct (IRBC) in the floriculture sector – including Dümmen Orange – have shared the results, lessons and recommendations of their three-year program with the entire sector.

The IRBC agreement for the floriculture sector was launched in 2019, when several companies from the Dutch floriculture sector joined forces with the government, trade union and NGOs. Over the following three years, the parties have worked together towards more responsible international production and trade of floricultural crops, in particular working on ‘due diligence’ (also known as ‘supply chain responsibility’), living wages and the impact of plant protection products on people and the environment.

Pass on learnings to the rest of the sector


Concrete steps have been taken to improve and learnings have been documented to pass on to the rest of the sector for future scaling up. Tools and knowledge developed are freely available. To ensure continuity and give the recommendations a wider reach, the parties have embedded the recommendations in agreements with stakeholders, including the Floriculture Sustainability Initiative (FSI).


Regarding Responsible Business Conduct, the parties have taken steps to establish a due diligence process consistent with the OECD Guidelines and the United Nations Business and Human Rights Principles. In addition, companies have also developed and implemented several practical tools. An external evaluation of the implementation of due diligence by all companies showed that this had led to an overall progress on all steps in the prescribed process, although there are still ample opportunities to improve for the future.


Living wage and crop protection


Besides the work on due diligence, the parties have carried out a pilot to map the living wage in East Africa and to set up a living wage roadmap for companies. Based on this, a second project has also been set up to examine how a living wage can be tackled in a supply chain context, which will continue until November 2022.


For crop protection, the parties have conducted a study into the most common health risks and the associated recommendations for safe use. In terms of environmental impact, the parties contributed to the development of the Environmental Indicator Crop Protection, a project by Wageningen University WUR and a consortium of parties.


The parties look ahead to the implementation of the recommendations of the IRBC agreement across the entire sector. Results, lessons learned and recommendations are set out in more detail in the IRBC floriculture sector final report:



The signatories of the IRBC Agreement Floriculture

Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality – Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs – AFRI FLORA –  Albert Heijn – Dümmen Orange – Dutch Flower Group – FM Group – Flower Trade Consult – Floral Trade Group – Royal Lemkes – Waterdrinker – WomenWin – FNV – Royal Flora Holland – Glastuinbouw Nederland –Tuinbranche Nederland – Vereniging van Groothandelaren in Bloemkwekerijproducten – Stichting Natuur en Milieu – Xpol


Supporting organizations


Chrysal – Koppert – Stichting Max Havelaar – MPS