- What is Veriflora®?
Veriflora® is a sustainability certification program for fresh cut flowers, ornamental plants, handlers, input materials, and retailers. It is recognized as the gold standard among horticultural and floriculture sustainability certifications. The Veriflora labeling program allows consumers and bulk buyers alike to trace the chain of custody from farm to final bouquet or pot.
- What are the basic procedures and processes covered under Veriflora certification?
The Veriflora program delivers products backed by true agricultural sustainability.. Producers are required to put practices in place throughout the production, management, and distribution processes that guarantee improved:
- Environmental Responsibility. Production practices that build soil, conserve water and support healthy ecosystems.
- Worker Protections. Promoting a healthy, equitable workplace that supports farmers, workers, their families and the community.
- Quality Processes. Supporting handling practices from seed to store that allow consumers to enjoy flowers and plants that look beautiful and last longer.
- What crops can become Veriflora Certified?
Cut flowers, flowering plants, container-grown ornamentals, vegetable starts, and plugs and liners. Food crops receive our Veriflora Sustainably Grown certification label. Veriflora includes specific certification criteria for Handlers and Responsibly Managed Peatlands. In addition, Veriflora verifies environmentally preferable input materials, and has a Preferred Retailer program, which currently includes ShopKo, Organic Bouquet, and others.
- How much does it cost to become certified?
Fees are determined based upon size and complexity of the operation. Auditor fees are calculated on a per diem basis, plus travel time and expenses; administrative fees are determined by the number of sites audited.
- How long is my certification good for?
Certification is granted for a three-year period, with annual surveillance audits to confirm continued compliance with the Veriflora requirements.
- What supporting documentation is required of the grower?
Growers must provide the following documentation (among others) prior to certification, and then again annually in support of their surveillance audits: Crop production area and annual yield, by product; Agrochemical use; Water use; Energy use; Waste disposal and recycling records; Agrochemical use; and Composting records.
- How is grower certification achieved?
Certification is achieved through implementation of corrective actions in response to any non-conformities issued in the audit report. The certification decision is rendered by SCS after review of a self-assessment workbook, the audit report, and corrective actions and evidence submitted.
- Must a grower "improve" in order to retain certification year after year?
One of the major goals of the Veriflora standard is to identify and encourage sustainable production practices, and to stimulate continuing improvement and innovation in agricultural production practices. Participants establish and work toward improvement goals as part of the certification process.
- Is there a prohibited chemical list?
Yes. Veriflora specifically prohibits the use of any synthetic or botanical pesticides which pose a risk to workers in the agricultural production operation and have been identified by the World Health Organization (WHO) as extremely hazardous or highly hazardous (Class 1a and 1b).
For all remaining pesticides that are not classified as WHO Class 1a or 1b, phase-out is required for pesticides that:
- represent acute or chronic risk to workers (EPA Class I or II) or are classified as either neurotoxins or as known or probable carcinogens (EPA Class A, B1, or B2);
- pose ecotoxic risk to the environment, classified by the EPA as "moderate" or greater risk.
A specific list of pesticides not permitted for use is found in the Veriflora Sector Specific Annex: Cut Flowers.
- Is there a prohibited input materials list?
Yes, synthetic or botanical pesticides as described in the previous FAQ, as well as any genetically modified organism (GMO) planting materials, are prohibited.
- What types of producers will benefit from Veriflora certification?
Veriflora certification is a good fit for growers who wish to incorporate the highest level of sustainable agriculture practices into their business, and to have those practices validated and recognized.
- What makes Veriflora different from other horticulture certifications?
Veriflora was established to serve as the gold standard among horticulture and floriculture standards. Independent rankings by organizations such as SAI have backed this up. The Veriflora standard requires that the grower incorporate environmentally beneficial practices at all levels of production, maintain a high level of product quality, and provide worker and community benefits.
- What kind of retailer and consumer demand is in the marketplace now?
Veriflora plants and flowers are among the most recognized by major retailers. They are preferred by major retailers across North America. Consumers prefer Veriflora labeled flowers and plants because they understand they are purchasing product from the producers making the most difference in the environmental, quality, and social sustainability arenas.
- What are the top reasons growers give for pursuing Veriflora certification?
- Want to stand out to retailer clients as the highest quality brand that the retailer could choose
- Want consumers to know about and value the environmental programs they have implemented
- Want to join the Veriflora family of certified companies
- Want to gain recognition for the work they have already done to be a top quality producer, and want to establish a clear path to continuous improvement and