Horticulture growers worldwide will soon be able to get valuable insights into their environmental footprint thanks to the HortiFootprint Calculator, an innovative new software tool from MPS and LetsGrow.com.
The tool measures the carbon footprint of horticulture production based on inputs including energy use, fertilizers and packaging. A scenario analysis function makes it quick and easy to calculate the impact of changes made to these inputs in the future.
Ton van Dijk, Global Head of Sales and Operations at LetsGrow.com said “The demand for sustainability and transparency in the horticulture industry is growing. That’s why we developed the HortiFootprint Calculator: to help growers gain valuable insights into their business’s current carbon footprint and how they can take steps to reduce it.” LetsGrow.com is the data platform that provides growers, crop advisers and suppliers worldwide with real-time insights into their cultivation data, supporting their decisions so they can make the right choices for a lucrative, sustainable crop.
Raymond Scheepens, Area Manager at MPS said “What really makes this tool valuable is the ability to simulate different scenarios to see how changes to production methods would change the carbon footprint. You can see how your footprint would go up or down if you switch energy sources, use different fertilizers, change from plastic to compostable packaging, and so on. This provides crucial information to be able to target investment for the greatest impact.” MPS supports horticultural entrepreneurs worldwide in their efforts to operate more sustainably, offering innovative certification standards and on and offline tools.
The HortiFootprint Calculator is designed to be user-friendly. Data is provided via a simple tool, and a dashboard provides a clear oversight of the results. It is even easier for current LetsGrow.com clients and growers with MPS-ABC certification, as much of the information necessary to calculate the footprint has already been provided.
Growers in the Netherlands have been testing the tool since early 2021. William Fransen, Sales Manager at VDA Plant, said: “We’re using the HortiFootprint Calculator because it’s very important to us to show our customers and consumers what we’re doing and how sustainable we are. That transparency is very important. It’s easy to get insights from the tool, and with the scenario calculator you can look at how a change would impact your carbon footprint – for example, changing the composition of the potting compost.”
The HortiFootprint Calculator was developed in partnership by MPS and LetsGrow.com, bringing together world-leading expertise in sustainability and data for the horticulture sector.
The tool was developed based on the HortiFootprint, a method for calculating the environmental footprint of horticultural products. Launched in 2020, the HortiFootprint is a Life Cycle Analysis that includes sixteen impact categories (including carbon footprint, land use, and resource use), and covers the entire lifecycle of ornamental and vegetable horticultural production, right up to the end product. It was developed by Wageningen University in partnership with MPS and many other companies and organizations working in the sector.
The software tool currently measures carbon footprint for production companies in the ornamental and fruit and vegetable sectors. In the future, it will be expanded to measure the full environmental impact using all sixteen impact categories.