Responsibly Produced Coir (RPC)

The need for sustainably produced products is growing rapidly. New regulations and legislation at national and international level, critical retail and a more conscious consumer promote this development. This also has major consequences for products produced by the horticulture industry and the supplying companies, including growing media. Growing media are an essential part of the cultivation of many horticultural crops. These can be crops such as fruits, vegetables or herbs, but also ornamental and tree nursery crops. Fruits, vegetables and herbs form the basic food supply. Ornamental products, including shrubs and trees, are important for human well-being and the greening of cities. In addition, tree nursery products are also important for the preservation and expansion of forests.

The producers of growing media are confronted with questions and demands about performance and transparency. Answers to this need to be found and solutions must be devised. Coir products such as coir-pith and coir-fibre are an important component for growing media nowadays. The development mentioned with regard to sustainability, has led to questions about the responsible production of coir products. For this reason, a group of coir producers has asked RHP, knowledge centre for growing media, to develop a scheme to secure responsible practices in the coir supply chain. This development fits in with the European regulations that will be implemented in the nearby future, including CSRD (corporate sustainability reporting directive).

Following the initiative of the coir producers, RHP organised a kick-off meeting in Woerden, the Netherlands in May 2023. Representatives of the supply chain were invited to discuss the usefulness and need for responsible sourcing. The meeting provided input and support from a wide range of stakeholders. The discussions in Woerden have convincingly shown that there is a need for transparency in the coir supply chain. RHP will therefore work together with the coir companies to develop principles and criteria (P&C) for responsible sourcing of coir components for growing media. In the growing media sector, P&C have already been developed for responsible sourcing of peat materials (RPP). Stakeholders have expressed their preference for responsible sourcing of all components for growing media. When developing a scheme for coir products, it is kept in mind that a system and method could ultimately also be applicable for other materials that are processed in growing media. Foundation RHP is the principal for the development of the RPC scheme. For the management and application of RPC in practice, the scheme will be embedded in the RHP organisation.


The growing media industry wants to develop a set of principles and criteria for the responsible production of coir in order to provide certainty and unambiguous answers regarding the origin and history of coir materials. To ensure that the requirements are met, independent and objective assessment takes place at production companies and in the value chain. This is reflected in Responsibly Produced Coir (RPC) certification. Of all aspects of a responsible coir value chain, the following are essential for a credible and relevant certification program:

Social responsibility: a safe and healthy working environment is a prerequisite, which includes protection against coconut dust, heat and dehydration with sufficient personal protection for the safe handling of machines.
Environmental Responsibility: wise water and chemical use at processing sites and proper wastewater treatment are essential to prevent local water scarcity and pollution.


The goal of the Certification Scheme for Responsibly Produced Coir is to ensure that coir used as a component for growing media in both professional horticulture and the hobby-market can be guaranteed from responsible sources. Hereto a set of principles, criteria and indicators is to be provided that can be used to certify coir for growing media.