In January 2018 Ter Laak Orchids won the AIPH International Grower of the Year Award 2018 (IGOTY) and scooped the AIPH Sustainability Award. The company, run by two brothers Eduard and Richard Ter Laak, grows 6 million Phalaenopsis Orchids each year. With two greenhouses in Wateringen in the Netherlands and a third 5-hectare sustainable greenhouse under construction, the business supplies garden centres, florists and retailers across Europe from its growing site.
The International Grower of the Year Award is a global prize for horticultural growers who excel in the field of market development, sustainability, economy, human resources and/or innovation. According to the jury, Ter Laak won the prize because they excel in sustainable innovations and excellent work atmosphere. Winning the AIPH International Grower of the Year Award 2018 came as a bit of a surprise. “For us it was the first time that the company had been nominated for an international award,” admits Eduard. “To qualify you have to be nominated by an affiliated company,” he explains. “We were nominated due to our recent sustainable developments, including our new, very sustainable 5 hectare, daylight greenhouse and our new and unique underground water storage system.”
Currently a new Daylight Greenhouse is being built next to the existing nursery. This type of greenhouse is unique in the sector. “Using special lenses in the deck, we can capture and store solar heat. Solar rays are centered on a tube with flowing water and the water in these tubes is heated. This heat can then be used to heat the greenhouse, significantly reducing our energy consumption, by up to 45-50%,” explains Eduard.
“In 2017 we also completed an underground water storage that allows us to store rainwater in the soil. The rainwater can be pumped out when required and used to humidify the plants. In this way we not only recirculate our water, but we also counteract salinization of the soil and reduce the chance of local flooding.”
“Winning the award was a real surprise,” reveals Eduard. “It was already a great honor to be nominated, alongside the other exceptional companies that had been shortlisted. But to win the award is a fantastic appreciation. It makes us very proud and is a big accolade for our dedicated team and our loyal partners/clients. We work as a team, in which cooperation is very important, so this is an award for the whole team. We celebrated this together with a party for all our employees and their partners.”
After winning this IGOTY-award, Ter Laak Orchids has been ranked as among the top 12 companies in terms of sustainability in the floricultural sector of Holland and had the chance to win the prestigious ‘King Willem I Plaque’ for Sustainable Entrepreneurship. This national prize is awarded once every two years to the most sustainable company in the Netherlands.
Ter Laak Orchids is now very firmly in the spotlight. “From a business perspective, this is an international award that has received a lot of worldwide attention,” explains Eduard. “International companies and educational institutions now want to visit our company and learn about our production, technological innovations and our sustainable vision. In addition, this brings us to interesting contacts, like potential employees and even possible new partners, with whom we can develop new ideas.”
“However, this award won’t change our company. We’ll stay the same as before! We work every day with passion on our product. We see this award as a great reward and an extra motivation for a bright future!”
Author: Jean Vernon