Ammerlaan The Green Innovator
It’s all in the name. At Ammerlaan - The Green Innovator, everything revolves around being green. Green with their huge assortment – anything from alocasias to bromeliads and everything in between and beyond- but also green and innovative in the way they handle their business. In 2010, Ammerlaan was the very first floriculture company in the Netherlands to work with geothermal energy. Noviflora spoke with Dennis Smits about the company’s sustainable ambitions.
Dennis, you've been with Ammerlaan for 20 years now. How did you get started?
I started with planting and cleaning plants, a way to get into the industry. Ammerlaan is such a varied company, with lots of different types and species. It's in our name, of course, Green Innovator, we're always looking for new products. If you ask me, our plants are pretty much the Mercedes of potted plants [laughs].
The name Green Innovator also hints at your sustainable working methods. You were the first floriculture business in the country with a geothermal energy source. Can you tell us about that?
That's right! We've been working with geothermal energy since 2010, the first grower ever in the Netherlands to do so. We wanted to be more sustainable and something like solar panels just wasn't an option for us- we need that sunlight coming through the roof. The possibility of a geothermal well was there, the area was free and we had the space, so it seemed like the logical next step for us. It wasn't an easy step though. When we first started digging, gas and oil came up, and in 2017 a pipe ripped, so we had to dig a completely new well. Then a pipe was left behind at around 1700 metres, which we're just now digging up. It's a fantastic, perfect solution if everything works, but it takes quite a bit of effort.
I can imagine! But it’s such a valuable energy source.
It’s a valuable source for us, and for the surrounding area as well. The source provides more heat than we need, so we share it with a pool, a gym, a school, 16 apartment buildings and a whole network of other growers in the area. An incredibly valuable project, for everyone. Because we share this geothermal energy, we’re able to compensate for the carbon footprint of our entire supply chain, meaning our carbon footprint is zero.
Do you have any future plans to make Ammerlaan even greener?
We’re working on many different projects, like replacing the plastic vats with cardboard. All our new, black pots are fully biodegradable, and we sort our waste. We’re very proud of our MPS-A+. MPS-GAP and MPS-SQ certifications, and will keep working on our green ambitions.