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, that will enter into force in July 2022, 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.
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). Tomi Koivula of the company Neova has been elected to represent Growing Media Europe as a new RPP Board Member in 2020.
The criteria and the certification system were developed in close cooperation with Wetlands International and other NGOs in a multistakeholder process. 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.
Life Cycle Assessment of Growing Media Constituents
Growing Media Europe has successfully created a sector guideline that defines rules on calculating the environmental footprint of growing media. The guideline was developed in full coherence with the Product Environmental Footprint Category Rules (PEFCR) of the European Commission, which sets strict guidelines on the scope and factors used for the LCA.
Data Gathering Study on the European Growing Media Industry
Growing Media Europe is currently preparing a comprehensive data collection process with its members to ensure our work is based on a strong and reliable data base. The data gathering procedure will be repeated on a regular basis in order to stay on top of developments in the sector.