The Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) has launched guidance on how the horticulture sector can lead the way in sustainable business practices and efforts to reduce climate change.
Building on the strong foundations that already exist in UK horticulture and landscaping, the HTA has worked with its members to develop its first ever Sustainability Roadmap.
This work identifies five key areas to place horticulture and landscaping at the forefront of sustainable business practice. Designed as a framework for collaboration, with ambitious targets for 2025, achievement against the roadmap’s goals will make a significant contribution to the government’s 25 Year Environment Plan.
HTA chairman, James Barnes, called on the industry to embrace the ethos of the roadmap, saying: “Horticulture has an intrinsic connection to the environment – we are a community who cares about the natural world and it is in our interests to safeguard its future.
“The Prime Minister recently announced his 10-point plan for a green industrial revolution – I believe we have an essential role to play in the Government’s plan to transition to a greener economy. As a sector which contributes around £24bn to the UK’s GDP and supports over half a million jobs, we must demonstrate how we offer real opportunities for green employment and a more sustainable economy as the UK recovers from the impact of COVID.”
The roadmap supports the enormous strides already taken towards a more sustainable industry.
It will, for example, be central to making further progress in tackling issues such as use of plastics. The HTA has for some time been working with members and stakeholders to develop industry-led solutions for the re-use and recycling of horticultural plastics and with local government and the waste industry to increase kerbside recycling of plastics used in horticulture.
The roadmap outlines a goal to see 40% or more of the combined weight of plant pots and packaging, garden chemicals containers, and growing media bags sourced from recycled plastic, by 2025.
The Sustainability Roadmap focuses on five areas:
- Reducing HTA members’ carbon footprints
- Reducing stress on the UK’s water supply
- Increasing circularity in horticultural plastics
- Actively shaping a peat reduction strategy by February 2021, engaging with all stakeholders
- Fostering innovation in pest and disease management
They are critical, both in terms of their commercial importance to the industry and in terms of the potential for making a difference to the environment.