Meo Carbon Solutions has been working on the development and implementation of an international certification system for sustainable and climate-friendly peat substitutes, HORTICERT, for the past two years. The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) based on a decision by the Federal German Parliament. Within the framework of a multi-stakeholder process and under the leadership of the Agency for Renewable Resources (Fachagentur für Nachwachsende Rohstoffe eV, FNR), MCS is now entering the project’s final phase.

After developing, pilot testing, and optimizing the certification concept, Meo will transition HORTICERT into regular operation in the last project phase (end of 2023 to end of 2025). The transition into regular operation includes issuing first certificates, implementing a quality management and integrity program, and obtaining an official recognition and accreditation of the system. Furthermore, communication strategies and digital solutions for conducting audits will be developed during this phase.

HORTICERT will offer certification of peat substitutes along the entire value chain —from the extraction of raw materials to the production of the final substrate. Companies ranging from independent smallholder farms to processing and mixing plants, as well as traders, can apply for certification. HORTICERT will ensure that the peat substitutes used in peat-free and peat-reduced growing media have been produced in an ecologically, socially, and economically sustainable way.

Under HORTICERT, greenhouse gas emissions are calculated according to a uniform methodology, revealing greenhouse gas savings of peat-free and peat-reduced growing media compared to conventional, peat-containing products.

Additionally, the integrated HORTI-TRACE system enables digital traceability of international supply chains of peat substitutes.

While HORTICERT will initially offer certifications for peat substitutes such as green waste compost, wood fibers, bark humus, and coconut-based products, further criteria will be developed to cover all peat substitutes in the future.

You can learn more about the certification system on HORTICERT’s website: horticert.org.