THE HAGUE/WESTLAND, Netherlands: Sigrid Kaag, Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation and Carla Schouten, Dutch Minister of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality signed today the Agreement on International Responsible Business Conduct (IRBC) in the floriculture supply chain.
The IRBC agreement, which in Dutch translates as IMVO (Internationaal Maatschappelijk Verantwoord Ondernemen), involves partnerships between businesses, government, unions and NGOs. Together, these partners work to prevent such abuses as exploitation, animal suffering and environmental damage.
Driving force behind the Agreement is the SER, the Social and Economic Council of the Netherlands, an advisory board for the Dutch government in which employers, employees and independent experts work together to reach agreement on key social and economic issues.
One of the forerunners of the IRBC agreement for the floriculture sector is the Floriculture Sustainability Initiative (FSI) that has promised that 90% of the world’s flowers and plants will be responsibly grown and traded by 2020.
In signing the agreement at the World Horti Center in Naaldwijk today, the flower industry joins the garments and textile, banking and sustainable forest sectors which already have inked IRBC agreements.
Ms Sigrid Kaag and Ms Carla Schouten (right to left), Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation and Minister of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality respectively, signed the agreement on behalf of the Dutch government. It was signed on behalf of the sector by individual companies, Royal FloraHolland and sector bodies.
Its first task will be to identify social and environmental risks at sector and company level. Assistance will be provided by the government, the trade union and the NGO. In the first year, projects will be started concerning living wage and the impact of crop protection products on people and the environment.