Certifeye at IFTF ’23

Last week, we attended the International Floriculture Trade Fair in Vijfhuizen as exhibitors. Just like in previous years at the Trade Fair Aalsmeer, we were able to gain valuable insights about developments in the flower sector and about the efforts of various parties to deliver products of the very best quality to consumers.  

The international nature of this fair led to interesting conversations: what problems do certain links in the chain encounter independently of each other, not taking regional laws into account? What similarities and differences do we see?  

Marlies Verbruggen, salesmanager at Certifeye, elaborates: “On a day like this, you can clearly see that automation in certificate processing can work to the advantage of all kinds of companies. Regardless of which exact certificates are used by a particular producer, sharing certificates costs all parties a lot of time all across the globe. It’s nice to see that a Certifeye Wallet can bring some relief in this regard. 

Additionally, together with our trade fair neighbours, Greenhouse Sustainability, we were able to show the world of transparency and sustainability to the visitors of our stands. Upon scanning the QR-code of our beautiful bouquets, they were immediately taken to a Certifeye Wallet with a completed declaration of the CO2 emissions of this product.  

You too can apply for such a declaration and demonstrate that you and your relations are on the path to ongoing sustainability. Are you interested in joining us? Check out the Greenhouse Sustainability website, or immediately create a free Certifeye Wallet account to share your achieved certificates with your network in advance. 

In practice: Jonker & Schut

Our users know Certifeye inside out. How does the platform help them with recurring administrative work? Today we give the floor to Anton Heintjes, account manager, and Tom Nijhof, quality manager at Jonker & Schut. They have been working with Certifeye since 2021 and are happy to share their experiences in packaging and repackaging powdered dairy products and certificate management.

‘Certifeye makes certificate management scalable which is super important to us’

‘It doesn’t matter how many suppliers you have to request and manage certificates and documents from. If you secure them with a well-functioning system like Certifeye, numbers don’t matter. Certifeye makes certificate management scalable and that scalability is super important to us,’ says Anton Heintjes, account manager at Jonker & Schut. His colleague and quality manager Tom Nijhof adds: ‘The companies we supply products to want to know whether our suppliers and ourselves are certified. With Certifeye, we can very easily check who and what has been approved and manage our extensive certificate management.’

Strict controls

The bulk of Jonker & Schut’s production chain consists of powdered dairy products, which are subject to strict supervision by a variety of regulatory organisations. The organisation has the appropriate halal and kosher certificates and thus a well-deserved place in the associated supply chain. Added to this are ongoing audits by the Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA) and the Netherlands Controlling Body for Quality Affairs (COKZ). All this adds up to around 50 audits a year.

Accurate and careful chain registration

Certification bodies from all over the world visit the company to check whether the products they work with consist of kosher and halal-certified raw materials. Every year, hundreds of certificates and documents are requested for this purpose and managed with the online platform. After all, many foods we consume every day contain dairy components: from baking products, bread, soft drinks and chocolate to beer, sports nutrition and even medicine. This is a wide range of products. Upon delivery of the products, Jonker & Schut must also be able to present its own certifications.

Gatekeeper function to safeguard the chain

The processes require accurate and careful chain registration. ‘Jonker & Schut fulfils a gatekeeper function in the chain,’ says Anton. ‘We are a service company, not a product owner. Customers buy powders and then sell them. We pack and transport. Upon delivery, we have to be able to prove that the products we transport have actually been produced kosher and halal. Someone has to secure the chain. To manage that process, we use Certifeye.’

Hours spent on mail traffic

Previously, required certificates were stored in folders on a computer. If anything changed, Jonker & Smit’s quality controllers spent hours sending e-mails around. Tom: ‘We did not get alerted when a certificate expired. Every year, hundreds of e-mails went out asking departments, customers and suppliers whether documents needed replacing or updating. You often got back incomplete information, or the message that the rest would follow or come a bit later. Of course, that didn’t happen and you had to continue the hassle’.

Smooth certificate management

‘This process now runs much more smoothly with Certifeye. The platform takes a burden off of our shuolders and keeps our certificate management up to date. Mails are automatically sent out when a new certificate is needed or an update is due.’ Ton and Anton foresee that certificate delivery and management will only increase in the future. ‘Customers, suppliers and manufacturers increasingly want to know exactly what products consist of and where they come from.’

Certificate management as an integral part of QMS

Good certificate and document management requires good organisation and record-keeping. ‘Laws and regulations are changing by the day. There is more and more supervision coming our way, as we sail along with the customer’s requirements. For us, Certifeye is the only means by which we can secure these processes.’ This is why certificate management is an integral part of Jonker & Schut’s QMS. ‘Certifeye will be integrated deeper and deeper into our quality management, so we will use the platform more and more.’

Creating surveys and questionnaires with Certifeye

Anton and Tom are already preparing to use Certifeye for surveys and questionnaires towards suppliers. Quality-oriented questionnaires and customer satisfaction tests are being considered for this purpose. ‘We are CSR certified and are considering sending out questionnaires about this. But that is something for the future. Right now, we are mainly concerned with making sure that halal and kosher products are properly secured.’

Certifeye the solution in terms of convenience and time saving

Good examples lead to action. Relations at Jonker & Schut have had their eye on Certifeye and started using it. Anton: ‘I think many companies would be jealous of us if they saw how little time we spend on certificate management, because everything happens automatically here. If you want to incorporate certificate management in your quality system, Certifeye is the best solution given the convenience and time savings.’

KFC and Certifeye – What Does the Near Future Hold?

All preparations for further automation throughout the chain are in progress. We are not alone in this goal; our collaboration with KFC serves as a continuous source of inspiration and innovation, which brings us great joy.

With our joint participation in IFTEX in Nairobi still freshly engraved in our memory, a significant and continually increasing number of certificates is being placed in Certifeye Wallets. And the best part of this collaboration? The information placed by KFC in the Wallets comes directly from the source, without any intermediaries, and therefore without the potential for human error.

These reliable certificates are then made available on the websites of growers and can often be found in the public Wallets of these organizations. Those who prefer to keep their own certification private, can share their documents securely with a select group of their relations using direct links and subscriptions on the platform.

As a KFC certificate covers multiple areas at once, which you can read more about in our knowledge base, it becomes immediately clear whether a grower meets the FSI 2025 Basket requirements or not. This is an important advantage for growers from Kenya, especially as there appears to be confusion about the value of a certificate from time to time. Thanks to smart “and/or” systems, technicalities we will not bore you with, the evaluation of the FSI 2025 Basket takes international certificates that are equivalent to each other into account. This gives growers who work with excellent certification bodies from various regions ample opportunity to guarantee the quality of their products to a wide audience.

In November, we hope to meet the KFC team at our stand during the International Floriculture Trade Fair in Vijfhuizen. We look forward to further collaboration.

In Practice: Royal De Ree Holland B.V.

Our users know Certifeye like the back of their hand. How does the platform help them with recurring administrative work? Today we give the floor to Paul Broersen and Eefje Peters- Elfering, respectively the Quality Manager and ICT Manager at Royal De Ree Holland B.V. They have been working with Certifeye since 2020 and are happy to share their story.

Royal De Ree Holland BV was looking for a simple tool to properly manage and control supplier certificates in one central location. The flower bulb specialist joined Certifeye in 2020, and developments in sustainability with the goal of purchasing 100% certified products by 2024 played an important role in this. 

Royal De Ree Holland has specialized in the development, packaging and transport of top quality flower bulbs and related products for over 100 years. The company supplies various markets in more than 40 countries and is preparing for the legislation surrounding the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD). The introduction of Directive means that from 2024 companies will be required to report on their impact on people and the climate . The Directive should ensure more transparency and better quality of information on sustainability. 

Grip on certification 

In Certifeye, Royal De Ree Holland manages various certificates: Global GAP, Global GAP IDA, MPS-GAP, MPS ABC and MPS SQ, FSC, PEFC, SEDEX, Skal, and the GRASP assessment. They come from suppliers of flower bulbs, plants, paper, cardboard, wood and plastic.
Paul Broersen, Quality Manager at Royal De Ree Holland: ‘ CSRD demands reliable data from the chain and flower bulb sector. With the number of certificates we process, we want to get a grip on this as much as possible through the certificate exchange and, in the future, perhaps also through writing out questionnaires to chain partners. Currently we are working on a data inventory for the CSRD: what information do we already have in-house and what information do we need to distribute?’ 

Manage and share certificates 

Royal De Ree Holland used to collect information from its chain partners directly from MPS. ICT Manager, Eefje Peters: ‘The disadvantage was that we could not check on the day whether suppliers were still certified. The delivery on information was triggered in response to the products delivery once a year. That information wasn’t enough for us.’ 

‘With Certifeye we manage certificates in one central place. Growers can manage their certificates themselves via their Certifeye Wallet and share them with us. The system processes these automatic requests from growers who do not use it. This way we create a total overview and we can properly manage the end dates of certificates. When they expire, we automatically receive a signal and can therefore sound the alarm with our suppliers in time.’ 

Reducing administrative pressure 

According to Eefje, suppliers’ reactions to the platform are mixed: ‘You have suppliers who join in immediately and you have suppliers who are reluctant to have any certificate information and related data recorded.’ ‘It is therefore not due to Certifeye, but rather to the entire certification process. Some growers still see it as an additional administrative burden. Paul: ‘Ultimately, Certifeye helps us keep an overview of where we are in the chain. This also makes it a good indicator of our goal to be able to purchase a 100% certified product by 2024. ‘ 

Eefje: ‘We hope that in the future Certifeye will become the platform where all growers in the flower bulb sector store their certificates and which will be used by everyone in th4e industry.’ 

Paul sees that more and more fellow exporters are joining the platform. ‘Because many growers have joined Certifeye at our request, other exporters can benefit from this and use the platform more easily. Certification simply requires registration and administration. We can’t take that away. But the more chain partners and sector peers join, the less administrative pressure for growers surrounding certification and the lower the threshold for sharing certificates is.’ 

CO2 Footprint Information Exchange 

The demand to share information is becoming increasingly urgent for the floriculture sector, which means that the challenge of getting the right data to the right customer is increasing. Paul: ‘Each customer has specific wishes in the field of sustainability, the environment and certification. That makes it complex to pass on the right information to the next link in the chain.’
The number of requests to share information about matters such as crop protection and packaging is still not too bad at Royal De Ree Holland. ‘We know that those questions will come and Certifeye can also help to collect, manage and share that data. Royal De Ree Holland has been CO2 neutral certified for scope 1&2 since 2021 and is now also mapping the impact of the entire chain (scope 3). With the help of Certifeye we can extract this information from the chain.’

Paul: ‘The CSRD obliges us to do so. In the field of environmental and social affairs, customers are beginning to cautiously ask where we stand as a company and what information we do and do not have. We are already being asked to share information in a number of areas and that will only increase. 

In the long run, we will therefore need more and more data. We already have a lot of general information with which we can fulfill part of our CSRD obligations. But the CSRD also asks for more and more specific and reliable data. We have been ISO 14001 certified since 1998 and we ensure that laws and regulations are implemented in our QMS. We are not surprised by the CSRD. Reporting on environmental matters is already in our system. The CSRD is an extension of that.’

Certification as an important indicator 

‘Everywhere around you hear what society thinks about environmental and social matters. We give substance to those things. Certification is an important indicator for us to see where we stand in the flower bulb sector. We are also a Sedex member, which looks at the social conditions within our company and our chain.
From an entrepreneurial perspective, I say that there are too many laws and regulations on the table for these kinds of things. On the other hand, the CSRD is a good step towards being able to report transparently within Europe on environmental matters and social conditions within the chain.’ 

Certifeye at IFTEX2023 Nairobi, Kenya

We’ve been on the road. From the 6th to the 8th of June, Certifeye was present at the stand of Kenya Flower Council during IFTEX 2023, the largest flower fair in Kenya. With more than 165 international producers and countless visitors, the fair days were quickly filled with fascinating conversations. 

Hugo Bakker shares his experience: 

“It is my first visit to Nairobi and therefore also to the IFTEX. Here you can get firsthand experience of how important countries such as Kenya and Ethiopia are in the flower sector. Not even for a moment did I feel bored.  

The collaboration with Kenya Flower Council is a huge boost for us. Local growers were also filled with enthusiasm upon hearing about the pilot program for automated uploading of their certificates into the Certifeye Wallet. Having appropriate certificates, they could instantly demonstrate their compliance with standards such as FSI2025 or fulfill highly specific customer demands. It was an extremely inspiring journey and we definitely want to return to Kenya in 2024.” 

The pilot between Kenya Flower Council and Certifeye is being carried out in consultation with three large organizations with nurseries in Kenya and Ethiopia. The pilot is expected to be completed in 2023 and then we can also make the Wallet Pro available to companies with a KFC certificate. The normal free license is of course already available and is already being used extensively by African parties. 

Would you like to know more about the pilot project? Or would you prefer to discuss the supply chain matters that hold significance to you? Check out our calendar for upcoming events. 



Sustainability in the Agricultural Supply Chain: What Will the Future Bring?

What role does technology play in making your supply chain more sustainable? This question was the focus of the Sustainability in the agricultural supply chain event on 11 May in Woubrugge. We addressed topics like transparency, AI and the carbon footprint.

“Can we have a bit less transparency?”
Whereas Fred Vahlkamp, founder of Certifeye, is committed to making organisations in the supply chain more sustainable and stimulating openness between the parties involved in this on a daily basis, during his session he discussed the flip side of this phenomenon. Where does one draw the line between cooperation and safeguarding confidential business information? Moreover, who guarantees the reliability of all this information? Fred: “The trustworthiness of data can be categorised in Certifeye in 3 ways, and we do this based on stars. One star equals data entered by the user, two stars for data obtained through portals, and information obtained directly from the source gets three stars.” The latter category will grow faster and faster as automatic connections with certifying bodies increase. By establishing a link between that three-star data and the operation recorded in your own basic records, for example a purchase order, it is possible to have an independent party guarantee that the delivery conforms to the specified requirements. In doing so, you don’t have to indicate which grower or other supplier you bought the goods from. So, things can be a little less transparent from time to time.

HAK’s jars
Frans Kuijpers, head of HAK’s quality department, talked the visitors through the importance of quality management during product innovations. This included the history of the organisation, whose products are a staple in the Dutch store shelves. From day one, the HAK family has focused on sustainable business practices through local cultivation, going along with seasonal vegetables and developing recyclable packaging, among other developments. The glass jars we know so well are thus the result of almost 100 years of continuous research into how to improve in terms of people and the environment. How are they tackling this in 2023? “We hire young scientists and give them plenty of room to experiment. Do they come up with an idea? Does it work? Then we implement it.”

Our “homegrown” innovations were also featured during the event. Over the past year, our software developers have explicitly been developing in the field of artificial intelligence (AI – Artifical Intelligence). Recognising logic in documents, including certificates, is a priority here. The event’s visitors were given a demonstration of CertifAI’s capabilities. In this case, an image of an MPS certificate was presented to the AI tool. The software read the image and extracts the most important data from it: the type of certificate, the MPS number, the validity dates and the scope of the certificate. The use of AI becomes increasingly important for examining and structuring data so that it can be used for CSRD reporting, for example.

Standardisation of the Carbon Footprint
Finally, Henri Potze of Greenhouse Sustainability addressed the visitors about the carbon footprint. His organisation has been working for years to help companies identify their impact on the world around them to signal where improvement is possible. This month, they took a big step towards standardising the carbon footprint based on the so-called FLoriPEFCR. These are the European calculation rules for determining such a carbon footprint. With the Flori Footprint Tool, the “Declaration Footprint Calculation” can now be published, where information about the impact of one specific product through the entire production process is shown in a clear manner. VDE Plant was the first organisation to receive and to upload this declaraction to the Certifeye Wallet. Read more about this in the article “A 1st for both VDE Plant and Greenhouse Sustainability”.

Sustainability Goals
Last year, we challenged our visitors to think about their own future and sustainability. They wrote down their goals on our sustainability goal cards and had them stored in our vault for a year. During the event, we were allowed to share the contents of two of these cards with the audience. And what was the result? Most of the goals have since been achieved! There is just one electric car still waiting to be delivered.

New cards with new goals have been stored in our vault. We wish all visitors and speakers a sustainable year which exceeds all expectations. See you in 2024!

Datasets in your Certifeye Wallet

The swift rise of the Carbon Footprint is evident in the Netherlands. Greenhouse Sustainability, represented by Henri Potze during our event on 11 May, has already provided extensive insights into how organizations can calculate the Footprint in accordance with the FloriPEFCR. While the organization does not offer actual certification yet, there is a declaration. This way, you can already show the results after a calculation to your relations through the Certifeye Wallet.

It is of course interesting that the calculations, as well as their impact, have a bigger reach than just your own company. After all, you are a link in the chain. To facilitate this reach, we are currently testing dataset sharing. This would mean that the user shares the dataset obtained from a footprint calculation with their customer. The latter can then include this dataset in their own calculations.

You only share this data with the parties you want to share it with. However, this method allows to perform complete calculations throughout the chains, even if the calculations themselves have been performed by different software tools.

We are happy to work and think along with you on this way of data sharing. Are you interested in this topic and would you like to discuss your insights? All parties in the supply chain are always welcome to share their thoughts, from growers and packaging companies to traders and retailers. And we are happy to share our knowledge and experience with you.

If a conversation leads to a good idea, we’ll both have that good idea. And that’s something quite different from sharing a Euro, as then you each only have 50 cents. Email us at: info@certifeye.com.

A 1st for both VDE Plant and Greenhouse Sustainability

April marked not one but two celebrations around sustainability in the agri chain! VDE Plant, grower and breeder of tropical and air-puryifying plants, made an exciting announcement during the Horti Footprint Chain Program event. The organisation has concretised its Carbon Footprint, the details of which are publicly available in the Certifeye Wallet.

This makes VDE Plant the first member of the Certifeye platform to post its Carbon Footprint data to the Certifeye Wallet. The announcement also comes as a first for Greenhouse Sustainability, an organisation that has been working diligently to identify and reduce the environmental impact of companies. In collaboration with VDE Plant, they have now issued a Carbon Footprint statement and made it available as a shareable uniform declaration document in the Certifeye Wallet for the very first time.

VDE Plant has no secrets

Sustainability is of paramount importance to VDE Plant, which is reflected by the publicly sharing of the environmental impact of their products. The 16 categories included in Greenhouse Sustainability’s “Declaration Footprint Calculation” are made publicly available in the organisation’s Certifeye Wallet. This Wallet can be accessed from within the application, but also through a QR code printed on their products that allows for users outside of the platform to view the declaration. This is in line with Greenhouse Sustainability’s mission statement: “No words, but actions”. By making all sustainability information available, VDE Plant will be able to demonstrate how they are progressing down the path towards sustainability over the years.

One CO2 size to fit all?

Greenhouse Sustainability has been active in the agricultural sector for years, helping organisations calculate the impact of their operations on the world around us. This benefits not only the participating companies, but also their customers, since the information about their suppliers allow them to make informed choices about the sustainability of their chains.

Greenhouse Sustainability’s 1st lies in the standardisation of these calculations. Thanks to the declaration, which from now on can also be placed in the Certifeye Wallet, the CO2 impact of products can be seen in a glance. The calculation method of this tool corresponds to the so-called FloriPEFCR. These are the European calculation rules for determining, for example, the carbon footprint.

For now, this declaration is based on information provided by the party being investigated. The next step: a Carbon Footprint certification based on externally verified data.

We look forward to seeing what the future of standardisation of environmental impact will bring. Are you also interested in this topic? Contact us at info@certifeye.com, and we will be happy to think along with you.

Greenhouse Sustainability, Certifeye, and the future of the Carbon Footprint

Naturally, we are keeping an eye on developments. Together with, among others, Greenhouse Sustainability, we are looking at how we can easily present the information about a Carbon Footprint using the Certifeye Wallet. The wallet growers can already use to easily share Certificates with their trading partners. 

Certificates Versus Data 

In fact, a Carbon Footprint does not differ much from a certificate. It has assessment guidelines and calculation rules, which are based on the European Flori Product Environmental Category Rules (FloriPEFCR). You could compare such a calculation with the results of a certification audit, as those results are then documented in a report. Then, there is proof the calculation has been performed in a presentable format, which can be seen as a certificate.  

Full Control Over Who Can See Your Data 

We ensure that both the certificates and results of a Carbon Footprint calculation can be stored in the Wallet and, if necessary and desired, shared with trading partners. When it comes to the sharing process, we have a very clear policy: the owner of the information is the one who decides who is allowed to see what. If, when entering a contract with a customer, you determine that that customer may have insights into your obtained certificates, you can easily arrange this in your Certifeye Wallet. Of course, this does not mean that everyone can see this information. Only those to whom access has been granted can see it. The same applies to the Carbon Footprint and all other documents you upload into your Certifeye Wallet. 

Using the Wallet to display certificates and/or the Carbon Footprint has the advantage that you do not have to wait for a request from your customers. As soon as you receive a new version of a document, you easily place it in the Wallet and all customers you have given permission to are immediately informed of this update. That saves quite a bit of e-mail traffic. 

In the coming period, there is plenty to do regarding the different aspects of certification and of course the Carbon Footprint. We closely observe all regulations and adjust our platform where necessary. 

Do you have any ideas or experiences you would like to share with us concerning the topic of certification and other types of compliance documentation? We would love to hear from you! Please contact us at info@certifeye.com. We are always open to breaking new ground when it benefits our users’ supply chains. 

Will Certification be Redundant in the Future?

Technology is developing faster and faster, and this makes it possible for new applications thereof to become reality. If you combine different technological applications, you can collect data that you no longer have to verify, if the technology that has been applied is proven suitable. This is an interesting topic for a discussion on the future of certification within the agribusiness sector.

On January 19th we had a meeting in cooperation with the Wageningen University and Research (WUR), welcoming visitors from various sectors of the agribusiness. There was representation from flowers, flower bulbs, food, animal feed, and certifying bodies. We are exploring the possibility of a so-called PPP, a public-private partnership in the field of innovation.

The introduction was given by Mr. Koos van der Meij, affiliated with the WUR. The intelligent sprayer was used as an example and is equipped with four different technologies. First, an optical scanner for crop recognition, a GPS system to determine location and area, a volume meter to determine the amount of liquid sprayed and an infrared scanner to determine residues. Combined, this information presents the amount sprayed per area on a given crop. That data can be recorded as validated data  to fulfill required records within an agricultural operation.

This can be called remote viewing and assessment. The increase in different technological applications gives room for other human actions and limits for example the travel of auditors etc. Is this far away? Perhaps, but far away is currently coming closer very quickly. The latter is reason for ManualMaster and Certifeye to be at the forefront of these developments. And what better way is there to do that, than in a consortium of companies that use their knowledge to come up with new applications of existing and developing technology?

Are you interested in thinking along with us? Please get in touch via info@certifeye.com or through our contact form stating PPS Decentralized Validation. Our colleague will contact you as soon as possible.