Environmental auditing of the hardy nursery stock sector

Although quite fragmented, comprising of a few large growers and many smaller enterprises, the hardy nursery stock industry supplies garden centre retailers with an astonishing range of plants and makes a significant contribution to the UK economy.

Issues concerning environmental protection and sustainability are usually a concern but can sometimes be given low priority especially when there are other businesses pressures. Managing high product volumes and still maintaining high a quality in terms of product appearance can mean that significant levels of chemical inputs, water and energy are used. It can also mean significant quantities of waste are generated. However, environmental management techniques such as auditing, trend analysis utilising environmental indicators and methods such as risk assessment are not used as often as they should be.

AERU have carried out many projects related to environmental management and auditing within the agricultural and horticultural sectors and have worked with these industries to make auditing and assessment techniques more useable and accessible. One such initiative was to develop an environmental audit and a simple mechanism of support and advice for the hardy nursery stock sector. A simple paper based check-list and self-assessment type system was developed that was compatible with the EUREP GAP protocols used by the retail sector. This was based around the concepts of Integrated Crop Management but modified such that it would be of particular interest to the hardy nursery stock industry.


Prof. Kathy Lewis



University of Hertfordshire
University of Hertfordshire, 2017.