About the BOPP Certification Scheme
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 BOPP Management 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, and technical 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.