Business Award Winners' Insight for 2020 - Modiform

The winners of the 2019 Horticulture Week Business Awards reveal their priorities for 2020 and detail opportunities and challenges.

Image: Modiform
Image: Modiform

Award: Best Sales or Marketing Campaign

Comments: Shaun Herdsman, EcoExpert, retail and industry division manager

What are your key goals/priorities as a business for 2020?

Modiform will be working hard in 2020 to close the material loop as much as possible. This is our main goal. We want to create return systems with growers and retailers so that material can be used again and not lost. We don’t have enough of these systems around Europe.

We want to talk to every retailer about what they do with their horticultural plastic waste and work with them to develop more return systems or, if that’s not possible, we will talk to them about alternatives to plastic. Anything we can do to lower our environmental impact, we will do it. We want to use the correct materials to give the best chance for them to be recycled when they are not possible to be returned.

What do you regard as the biggest opportunity for you as a business (or for your sector) in 2020 and why?

We are in a climate emergency. The world needs to take CO2 out of the atmosphere. The horticultural sector is in an ideal position to grow, helping to tackle this problem with plants. Our sector has to be seen by the public as the “green” sector. Yet we are still supplying everything in plastic. We have an opportunity to change the way we grow and pack plants so the consumer recognises our industry is leading the way with materials that are kind for the environment, and that our products will actually help to reverse the situation that humans have created.

What do you feel will be the biggest challenge for you as a business (or for your sector) in 2020 and why?

The Waste & Resources Action Programme and retailers are going to ban polystyrene. Transport trays used to take plants to retailers are delivered in polystyrene trays.

We are a huge user of polystyrene and so is our industry. We will have to completely change to other materials and that isn’t easy or cheap. It takes investment and, of course, time.

But do we really want to change from one plastic material because it is banned to another plastic material? Maybe we should take the leap and change to moulded pulp EcoExpert trays to transport our plants to the retailers.

What was the best thing about winning a Horticulture Week Business Award for you as a business?

It was great to be recognised for all the hard work our UK team has put in over the last year and a half. We also received some great press coverage and it put us at the front when the industry thinks about packaging their plants in the most environmentally friendly way.

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