Van Lier Nurseries wins NZPPI Sustainable Futures Award 2024

16 May 2024

Marisa and Harry Van Lier from Van Lier Nurseries in Auckland were presented with the NZPPI Sustainable Futures Award 2024 for their dedicated commitment to sustainability. The award was presented by Karen Orr of ECCA, which chose this year's winner.

The nursery has transitioned its glasshouse heating systems from gas to a CO2 heat pump system and installed over 7 million litres of water storage capacity. Van Lier Nurseries' innovative approach exemplifies how sustainable choices can be both cost-effective and beneficial to business operations.

During their acceptance speech Marisa and Harry shared insights into their sustainability journey.

"Our commitment to sustainability began in 2018 during our honeymoon in Datai Bay, Langkawi Island. Despite its pristine reputation, the beach was littered with rubbish from major brands. This experience prompted us to reconsider our business's responsibility towards waste management."

The nursery has pioneered several sustainable practices:

  • The first in the cut flower industry to transition from plastic sleeves to compostable and recyclable paper sleeves.
  • Using cardboard inserts for pot plants instead of plastic packaging.
  • Moved from using bore water to solely relying on rainwater, expanding water storage capacity from 3.5 million litres to 7 million litres through reservoirs and tanks.
  • Switching from rockwool to coir for growing cut flowers, paired with a locally sourced potting mix.

A major milestone was the transition to CO2 heat pumps in 2021; "Faced with the end of our gas contract, we explored various heating options and chose CO2 heat pumps, commissioned in August 2023. This decision was based on the efficiency, sustainability, and minimal land and maintenance requirements of the heat pumps."

Marisa and Harry emphasised that choosing sustainable options was not always more difficult or expensive; "It involves research, creativity, and adjustments to business processes. Our commitment to reducing our environmental impact has received positive feedback from customers, reinforcing their loyalty to our business."



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