In recent years, Royal FloraHolland has presented the Greenovation Award during the Trade Fair, to growers who are innovative and provide a fresh perspective in the field of sustainability. Wilma Kofoed, Manager of Trade Shows and Events introduced this award a number of years ago and, in this interview, tells us more about the award, the idea behind it and how it has developed.
What is your role at Royal FloraHolland?
"I am Trade Shows and Events Manager at Royal FloraHolland and as part of my position I am responsible for the organisation of the Aalsmeer Trade Fair and the Greenovation Award."
How long have you worked at Royal FloraHolland and what are your experiences of this role?
"I have been working at Royal FloraHolland for over 30 years and have ended up at Trade Shows & Events via all kinds of commercial positions, both on the supply side and the customer side. In this position it's nice to know how things work in the business. A trade fair is actually nothing more than bringing supply and demand together at an inspiring location. It is great fun to see how the fairs and especially the Aalsmeer Trade Fair play an important role in this, and at an international level. I also find it very interesting to join forces internally with all of the Royal FloraHolland business units and services involved in the fairs, so that we can put our best foot forward in November."
What is the Greenovation Award exactly?
"Exhibitors at the Aalsmeer Trade Fair can register their new sustainable product or concept for the Greenovation Award. Royal FloraHolland wants to stimulate sustainability in the chain and therefore presents the 'Greenovation Award' during the Aalsmeer Trade Fair. An expert jury selects 10 nominees from the entries. A professional presentation is made of these 10 nominations with photo and film material, which the audience can then vote on. The expert jury and the public jury each contribute 50% of the votes towards the final result. The 10 nominations receive extra attention during the voting process through our social media channels, website, mailings and a physical presentation at the fair. On Wednesday 4 November the winners will be announced during the Aalsmeer Trade Fair in the Royal FloraHolland House."
What are the guidelines for the Greenovation Award?
The jury will assess the following criteria:
- Impact on the environment
- Social impact
- Recognizable as a sustainable product
- Store-ready concept
- Cooperation (e.g. grower and supplier and/or trader added value)
- Practical applicability
How did you come up with this idea/concept?
"At the Trade Fair we previously had the 'Best stand Award', which was set up to encourage exhibitors to give extra attention to the layout of their stand, what they wanted to project, what their message actually was and so on. There came a point where there was not really a need for that award anymore, because most exhibitors nowadays present themselves in such a professional way. That is why it was time for a new concept.
"We wanted to introduce an Award that responds to developments both in and outside the sector, and that can give pioneers extra exposure. Sustainability was already very much in the spotlight at the time and seemed a good subject for an Award. We have noticed that sustainability is only becoming increasingly important and that a lot is happening in the field of sustainability in the sector. It is good to show this to the whole market and with this in mind, the Greenovation Award came about."
What were the industry's initial reactions?
"In the first year, entries were somewhat limited, as the award was new of course and not much known about it yet. As well as that, the number of exhibitors working on it was not so high. However, customers were already starting to indicate that sustainability would be a condition for future delivery. This subject became increasingly important to both customers and growers. In recent years, the number of entries has risen sharply and we have noticed that the Greenovation Award is becoming increasingly important."
How important is sustainability and innovation for the sector?
"Extremely important, the market really demands it. I am convinced that if you don't preserve and innovate, you will genuinely lose market share in the end. At the same time, it also offers many opportunities. People want green in their environment, but are also particular about how 'green' those products actually are. It is important that we show that there are many good developments in the field of sustainability in the sector. It is great that by presenting the 'Greenovation Award' to those who want to stand out through sustainability, we are able to offer a platform."
What are your plans for the future with regard to the Greenovation Award?
"The prize and sustainability objectives are still topical, so we can keep going. Together with its partners, Royal FloraHolland wants to stimulate sustainability in the chain. That is why we give the nominees as large a stage as possible by using our channels as best we can for them and putting their product or concept in the international spotlight."
What message do you have for the sector?
"For all exhibitors at the Aalsmeer Trade Fair I want to say this: submit your sustainable product as a concept for the Greenovation Award. For the customers and visitors of the fair: at the end of September, the nominations will be made known and votes can be cast via the Trade Fair website. Visit our fair to see all the developments, trends and innovations for yourself. We're looking forward to seeing you there!"