Overview

The committees and groups are networks of specific business sectors of the HTA membership. They create and drive new HTA projects, share knowledge and the latest industry news, develop strategies and initiatives such as Greening the Olympics and National Plant Show, inform policy and lobbying work, and provide a networking opportunity for members.

The cycle of activity in the committees reflects the modern, constantly changing business environment, and some groups are more active than others at any one time. We are witnessing consolidation in the marketplace, as well as ever-Leaner business, which makes it increasingly difficult for people to give time to ‘the industry’ beyond their immediate companies. As a result, we have seen a few groups go dormant whilst their market structure undergoes further change.

Amenity Suppliers Group

This grower group mainly supplies the landscape trade, from specifications for large-scale public procurement contracts to domestic landscapers. They meet twice a year to discuss key issues and opportunities, as well as to network and assess the state of the trade nationally.

This group also directly advises AHDB on R&D needs. The Import Substitution study which identified a £300 million opportunity for UK growers came from this group in 2012. Plant health is currently a big topic of discussion for this group and they have regularly driven and shaped HTA lobbying in this area. A recent success being to influence the draft EU regulations to include grower compensation packages and to cover internet traders. The group also tries to engage the industry with government agencies leading on major public procurement projects such as HS2.

This group has also had a strong influence on the Ornamental industry Roundtable Action Plan, creating asks for a green infrastructure evaluation toolkit and better engagement with the industry in the public procurement process.
 

Association of Liner Producers

This group is made up of quality growers supplying liners to the trade. The group differentiates itself through quality standards.  The group and all its members meet to discuss standards and developments and contribute to R&D discussions.

British Ornamental Plant Producers

The British Ornamental Plant Producers' Certification Scheme (BOPP) has been designed for use by growers and packers of ornamental horticultural products and by growing media producers. The Scheme aims to set high standards of professionalism in the way in which certificated businesses operate and through unbiased and effective evaluation, by an United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) accredited Certification Body where applicable, to ensure that these standards are maintained. The ultimate objective is to ensure that customers can have complete confidence in both product and service when dealing with BOPP Certificated suppliers.

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Growing Media Association (GMA)

The GMA and its members are committed to the provision of high quality growing media for the millions of plants grown in pots and containers in the UK every year, whether they are grown by gardeners on their patios or by commercial growers. When plants are grown in containers, (rather than the soil), a fundamental requirement for healthy growth is a growing medium or substrate that supports a healthy root system. Plant roots in a container have access to a much smaller volume of substrate than they would when grown in the soil therefore the air and water capacity of the medium used is much more critical.

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Manufacturers' Committee

Meeting twice a year this Committee represents the interests of HTA garden industry manufacturers and suppliers. Its remit includes reviewing the annual industry trade show, recommending changes and new initiatives where appropriate and identifies and discusses issues and opportunities facing the garden industry manufacturers’ sector.

Marketing Committee

This cross-sector group is a vibrant forum responsible for identifying and discussing marketing issues and opportunities facing the garden industry. It meets twice a year and provides an interface between garden retailers and suppliers of garden goods and services, the media and relevant external bodies. It helps steer HTA’s agenda of promotional, market intelligence, events and other marketing support activities, recommending changes and new initiatives where appropriate. It was instrumental in developing the ‘Love the plot you’ve got’ campaign and establishing the successful Marketing Forum conference.
 

Ornamentals Management Committee

This is the most strategic HTA grower group and membership consists of representatives from all the other sectors. It directly advises HTA on lobbying strategies, channelling a consensus voice where possible, to ensure a powerful industry message.

This group also generates strategies for growers in dealing with major issues and challenges, such as plant health. The government’s Chief Plant Health Officer attended a 2015 committee meeting which led directly to better, more open communications between industry and the Animal and Plant Health Agency.

The committee meets three times a year and helps create and drive HTA projects, both sector-specific and industry-wide.

Responsible Sourcing Scheme for Growing Media

This scheme has been five years in the making and its aim is:

To ensure growing media is made from materials that are sourced and manufactured in a way that is both socially and environmentally responsible.

The scheme enables retailers, growers and manufacturers to make the best informed decisions about different constituent formulations, maximising the environmental and social benefits, as well as considering cost.

Each raw material in a growing media mix is scored through seven straightforward decision trees:

  • Energy use
  • Water use
  • Social compliance
  • Habitat and biodiversity
  • Pollution
  • Renewability
  • Resource use efficiency

Individual scores combine to one over-all score for a particular mix, eg. multi-purpose compost.

Now we can all understand, measure and take responsibility for the social and environmental impacts of our choice of growing media materials.

The scheme will be piloted at HTA National Plant Show on 17 and 18 June 2016, and is currently in development phase with a project steering group and subgroups to cover Technical, Benchmarking, Communications, Audit and Membership. The audit part of the scheme is currently going through the tendering process.

Please follow the below links for:

Responsible Sourcing Calculator Scoring trees Guidance notes

 

Retail Management Committee

This Committee comprises 14 businesses from the breadth of the retail sector, including DIY multiples, garden centre chains, large and mid-sized independent destination centres and small nursery retailers and meets 3 times a year. It is the central body for identifying key issues that impact the retail sector, and advises HTA on strategies and activities that will benefit its retail members. 

Retail Suppliers Group

This vibrant grower group specialises in the supply of plants to retail, from big chain to small independent. They meet two or three times a year to network, raise issues progress business growth and development. This group created National Plant Show which has grown into one of the most successful and productive UK trade shows. And this group started the Selling Plants Profitably brochure and Plantarea Manager training programme. Improving plant marketing and selling skills are core interests of this group.

In summer 2016, the HTA drew together key industry figures form this group and from the retail management and manufacturers committees to hold a Joint Meeting which started an industry think tank process looking to the future of plant and garden retailing.

Seasonal Plants Group

This group is focussed on seasonal plants such as poinsettias, polyanthus, cyclamen, and includes what is referred to as ‘bedding plants’. Up until recently, the group met regularly and held a biennial conference called ‘Seasonal Plants Focus’. However, this group’s needs for physical meetings have changed and they now get together for an annual networking dinner with a speaker.

SeeDS Group

The Seeds and Distance Selling Group meets at least twice a year to discuss current issues and drive initiatives for seed suppliers and companies involved in mail order and internet sales. This group is developing an electronic data collection service, together with retailers, which will help drive improvements through the supply chain.

Plant health is also a significant issue for this group, particularly as several seed companies trade overseas. Obtaining prompt certification is critical to ensure viable trading conditions are maintained.

Technical Committee

A group of growers which comes together to share current issues of concern around pests and diseases and technical subjects, to be updated with new legislation, and to participate in government consultations and lobbying activity. The technical committee visits stimulating places such as research stations, colleges, chemical and substrate production facilities, as well as other growers. The committee draws together many of the organisations that support and work with the industry, and both ADAS and the RHS are part of the group. There is no other group like this one for the Nursery Stock grower as it embraces all the important aspects of crop production in one place.

The committee helped shape the online COSSH assessment member benefit which is launching in 2016, and it recently spent two days on a study tour of Northern Ireland visiting Greenmount College to see current research projects and to visit a growing media manufacturer and several different growers.

Tree and Hedging Group

A thriving group of bare-root and container tree and hedging plant growers and suppliers. This group spotted ash dieback on Danish nurseries in 2009 before it hit the UK, alerting government and the trade to this devastating disease. More recently, this group alerted the media to the likely destruction of millions of trees in 2016, resulting from the government’s poor implementation of woodland grant schemes.

This group holds an annual conference, dinner and site visits to network, share new developments, research ideas and sector issues. The group also does study tours, feeds into AHDB research programmes and directly informs HTA industry lobbying activity, such as plant health and major public procurement projects such as HS2.

2015 AGM and conference was held at Albrighton Hall in Shropshire with visits to Forestart and Maelor Nurseries, and reports from CONFOR and EFNA. The HTA and AHDB-H held a joint Technical Day focussed on the tree and hedging sector in summer 2015.