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.
BOPP is a specialist group of the Horticultural Trades Association (HTA), which is based near Reading in the UK. The scheme is managed by a team of professionals with experience within the ornamental horticulture production and retail sectors. The BOPPManagement Committee oversees the management of the scheme and is made up of members representing the different sectors of the membership. The committee meet quarterly to discuss the scheme management and development.
BOPP offers a range of benefits, to its membership with certification available to four Standards, two developed for growers, one for ornamentals packhouses and one for growing media manufacturers. Members are supported by workshops, help-lines, andtechnical information including sample manuals, templates, guidance notes and reference documents, with information accessible via the BOPP website. The BOPP Rules and Operating Procedures provide more details about the structure of the Scheme, including membership and inspection fees (Annex 1). From the beginning of the certification process, the BOPP Scheme has been developed to make the transition to a certificated business as straightforward as possible.
All members of the BOPP Certification Scheme must have an annual independent inspection to check that they comply with the requirements set out in the BOPP Standards. Trained horticulturists with relevant experience in the industry and training in crop protection carry out the inspections. BOPP uses an appointed UKAS accredited certification body to carry out inspections. UKAS accreditation ensures the independence and consistency of auditors and inspections. BOPP also offers members a scored inspection with advisory comments to enable businesses to use BOPP to continually develop and raise standards.
The BOPP scheme was developed in the mid-1990's, initially for the pot and bedding plant industry to provide retailers with reassurance that their suppliers were meeting certain criteria with respect to legal, environmental and quality requirements. The scheme was established by the British Protected Ornamentals Association (BPOA), and funding for the original standard and sample manuals was provided by the Horticultural Development Council (HDC). Since then the scheme has developed to include the hardy nursery stock, cut flowers and bulbs, packhouse and growing media sectors.
The BOPP Scheme has four standards; two grower, an ornamental packhouse and growing media manufacturers:
The grower standards are based on good agricultural practice and have been developed specifically to meet the needs of the ornamental horticulture industry. The standards are divided into four sections; strategic issues, production issues, post-harvest handling and customer considerations. There are two options for members to chose for certification:
- UKAS Certification Standard
This standard is inspected by the UKAS accredited certification body and results in a pass or fail inspection. Auditors are not able to provide advice during this inspection.
- Continual Development Standard
This standard is inspected by a contracted consultancy company and results in a pass or fail inspection, with scoring for each compliance criteria and advice on how businesses can improve their systems.
The Ornamental Horticulture Packhouse Standard
This is a good manufacturing practice standard, which has been written specifically for the ornamental horticulture industry. The standard is divided into three sections; process and product control, customer considerations and strategic issues. The standard is inspected by a UKAS accredited certification body and results in a pass or fail inspection.
The Growing Media Producers Standard
This is a good manufacturing practice standard, which has been written specifically for the growing media manufacturers industry. The standard is divided into three sections; process and product control, customer considerations and strategic issues. The standard is inspected by a UKAS accredited certification body and results in a pass or fail inspection.
This section of the website provides all the information you will need to become a BOPP member.
Here you can find out more about the benefits of BOPP membership and read testimonials from growers, an ornamental horticulture packer and a growing media producer to see how becoming a member of BOPP has benefited their businesses. Further details about BOPP certification, with a short summary of each of the four BOPP Standards (Continual Improvement Standard, UKAS Certification Standard, Ornamental Packhouse Standard and the Growing Media Standard) will help you to select the correct option for your business.
You also have the option of ordering an information pack to be sent to you through the post. This is a collation of background information and the forms required for your BOPP membership application.
Once you have decided to apply to become a BOPP member your application can be completed in four easy stages:
- Before signing up please ensure you read the BOPP Rules and Operating Procedures. This document will provide more detail about the rules that you will have to abide by once a member, and the processes and costs involved.
- Complete and submit the online application form for your website account.
- You will then be directed to download and complete the BOPP Membership Application Form and the Scheme Registration Form and submit them with your subscription to BOPP.
- Once we have received and accepted your completed application forms and subscription fee, your BOPP membership will begin. You will be welcomed to the BOPP Scheme and will receive your unique membership number and a password for your website account.
Once the above stages are complete and you have become a BOPP member you will be in the Pre-Certification stage.
Whilst in the Pre-Certification stage you have 12 months to ensure the appropriate processes and documents are put in place to enable a successful inspection. As a BOPP member you will have access to guidance notes, templates and technical support documents via this website. The website also holds contact details in case you need further support or direction.
An inspector will contact you during this period to check on progress and, when ready, to arrange your first inspection.
The Benefits of BOPP membership
BOPP Certification will enable your business to:
- Meet customer requirements
- Gain preferred supplier status
- Use BOPP as a marketing tool
- Use BOPP as a management tool
- Ensure that you are legally compliant
- Use BOPP as a means of continuously improving your business
The BOPP Scheme aims to provide a 'one-stop-shop' that supplies all the certification needs for grower businesses, growing media manufacturers and packers in the ornamental horticulture industry. The Scheme has developed Grower, Growing Media and Packhouse Standards to meet the specific requirements of ornamental horticulture businesses.
Membership provides advice and help including sample manuals, templates and guidance notes which all help the member to control costs and minimise time inputs at the pre-certification stage. The members. only area of the BOPP website includes technical support and reference documents for ongoing support. The BOPP annual technical seminar aims to keep members informed of current important, technical, legislative and environmental drivers within the horticulture industry.
Even for businesses who do not require certification there are still a great many benefits to be gained by joining the BOPP Scheme. Implementation of the key principles of the Standards adds to good business practice and provides a structure around which businesses can logically develop and grow.
Part of the BOPP commitment to raising standards is seen in the regular review and updating of the Scheme and Standards to take into account changes in legislation and technical developments. By belonging to BOPP members can take advantage of this ethos and incorporate these improvements into their business management processes and ensure that the business is legally compliant. Use of the BOPP logo on company documentation informs clients at a glance that the business operates to BOPP Standards.
Unlike other Schemes, BOPP membership provides a forum whereby members have an input into the Scheme. BOPP is the only ornamental horticulture certification Scheme that is owned and controlled by its members (grower businesses, packers of ornamental produce and growing media manufacturers) with management input from professionals.