Informed decision making: a tool to aid the decision making process of sourcing responsible growing media throughout the UK supply chain
A previous publication (Alexander and Bragg, 2014) presented work in progress in the UK towards defining sustainable growing media. The work represented the response of the UK horticultural industry to a government White paper which had established targets for peat use in UK horticulture (zero peat use in hobby market products by 2020 and zero peat use in professional products by 2030). In addition, the UK horticultural industry is conscious of having to operate in a more sustainable fashion and these factors are increasingly part of the decision making process. Good progress has been made by the working group (representing manufacturers, growers, retailers and NGO's). Discussion has revised the aspiration of the tool to be about responsibility, not sustainability, to avoid overly ambitious expectations associated with the latter. The group has now published guidelines for the assessment criteria, newly revised assessment decision trees have been generated and the group has also commissioned a 'Calculator' which allows end users to assess both individual materials and media mixes. Example growing media products will be presented to illustrate how the information will be presented to the buyer and how much detail is provided at both a product and ingredient level. The scoring system will be used to highlight the effect of how sourcing ingredients from different suppliers or geographical sites can influence the final product score and thus responsibility of a product. A scheme to manage the tool moving forwards (administering it and revising targets) as well as auditing the tool will also be described. For the first time in the UK this tool allows the growing media buyer the opportunity to include factors other than just cost and quality in their decision making process.
Alexander, P.D., Stuart, J.H.C. and Bragg, N.C. 2017. Informed decision making: a tool to aid the decision making process of sourcing responsible growing media throughout the UK supply chain. Acta Hort. (ISHS) 1168:93-100
growing media, sustainability, horticultural industry, responsible sourcing, calculator