Table of Content
Harmonisation of National Growing Media Legislation - the new Fertilising Product Regulation (FPR)
The growing media industry is committed to working on the removal of existing trade barriers that are impeding the full development of growing media intra-EU trade flows. Growing media and soil improvers are currently produced exclusively under national law, which differs considerably from one Member State to the next. The members of Growing Media Europe AISBL (GME) have thus been promoting since several years a European harmonisation to create a level playing field and lower intra-EU trade barriers for the sector.
With regards to the new Fertilising Product Regulation adopted in November 2018, Growing Media Europe welcomes the step forward towards European harmonization and Circular Economy, but sees risks for the growing media sector.
While we highly welcome and support the European Commission’s work towards a common legislative framework across the European Union, the new text in its current form contains unfeasible obligations that neglect common industry practices and make it impossible for most growing media products to meet the necessary requirements.
Responsibly Produced Peat
Growing Media Europe members have supported the establishment of "Responsibly Produced Peat", a certification system for growing media applications. The goal of the Certification Scheme for Responsibly Produced Peat (RPP) is to ensure that peat used as a constituent for growing media can be guaranteed from responsible sources.
RPP aims at achieving the following benefits:
Maximising peat production from degraded peatlands, leaving natural peatlands with high biodiversity untouched
Securing the best possible development after completion of peat production, with preference for restoration.
Assuring the long-term availability of a highly valuable growing media constituent.
The initiative was encouraged by the Dutch Government and resulted from fruitful discussion and cooperation between the Growing Media Europe member companies, the International Peat Society (IPS) and the Dutch Growing Media Producers Organisation (VPN). Jan Astrup, Board Member of GME, has been elected as a new Board Member of RPP in 2019.
The criteria and the certification system were developed in close cooperation with Wetlands International and other stakeholders. The system lays down requirements from site-selection till after-use, which are established in consultation with various stakeholders and organisations (GM producers, environmental NGOs, growing media users and scientists). It is Growing Media Europe´s objective to achieve that the certification of responsibly produced peat will become the industry’s standard approach to peatlands extraction in the future.
More information can be found here
Life Cycle Assessment of Growing Media Constituents
In 2012, the Growing Media Europe members presented a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) on growing media constituents conducted by the independent research company, Quantis. Quantis is a leading life cycle assessment (LCA) consulting firm specialised in supporting companies to measure, understand and manage the environmental impacts of their products, services and operations.
The purpose of this study was to provide a better understanding of the environmental impacts of growing media. The Quantis study marks only the beginning of a far-reaching process for increasingly integrating life-cycle thinking to all business decisions. Our members are committed to regularly assessing the improvement of the industry and communicating best practices throughout the supply chain.
In March 2019, a new LCA project has been kicked-off at GME with results expected in June 2020.
Eco-label for Growing Media and Soil Improvers
Growing Media Europe is promoting the potential revision in 2019 of the current EU Eco-label criteria for soil improvers and growing media. Our members are prepared to represent the industry in the Commission led working groups and provide technical expertise on growing media. Growing Media Europe supports the inclusion of peat in Eco-labelled products based on the following elements:
Peat is an essential constituent for growing media because suitable alternatives for all applications are not available;
Peat is a constituent with an environmental impact, like all other growing media constituents;
Growing Media Europe believes that peat can be sourced responsibly and makes every effort to align the industry in this regard;
The current criteria result in almost a complete ban of qualitative organic GM products bearing the Eco-label.
Data gathering study on the European growing media industry
In 2008, Growing Media Europe Members commissioned a socio-economic study on the use of peat and growing media. The study concluded that the peat and growing media industry is an important contributor to the sustainability of modern horticulture.
A update of the 2008 study, which will focus on the use of growing media for horticultural purposed will be conducted in 2019. More information will follow soon.