Certis Europe is celebrating 15 years of growing success. The company was launched in 2001 with business units in Benelux, UK and France and expansion followed swiftly into Spain, Portugal and Italy. Certis works in close cooperation with sister company, Spiess-Urania which serves markets in Germany and Eastern Europe. The recent creation of KNE Certis, now also provides access to markets in South Eastern Europe. Certis is firmly established as a credible player across a wide geographical area in Europe, with access to around 90% of the agrochemical market.
European food production in the 21st century is facing significant challenges from a number of different directions. A rising global population combined with climate change is placing increasing pressure on land and resources, while the risk of global unrest, threatening food security, has renewed the importance of local production. Various policy initiatives in Europe have led to many regulatory changes to protect the environment further. These factors place conflicting demands on agriculture, which is now required to be more productive from a smaller area. Crop protection has a key role to play in ensuring an efficient agricultural industry that safeguards the environment, at the same time as giving consumers the volume, variety and quality of food that they will continue to demand now and in the future.
Within the crop protection sector, changes to the regulatory system, have led to the loss of many older active ingredients. As a consequence, some crop sectors are currently left with few options to control yield and quality limiting pests, weeds and diseases. There is a need for a range of innovative technical solutions that protect crops from insects and disease and ensure a high quality production that meets the increasing demand. In addition, there has been considerable consolidation in the industry over recent years and the trend is continuing amongst the major multinationals e.g. Dow-DuPont and the acquisition of Syngenta by ChemChina, plus Platform acquisitions, such that the implications for European crop protection, in terms of portfolio priorities and future investment, are uncertain.
Certis Europe has built a dynamic organisation that is able to adapt to this new environment and has the capability to develop, register and market an innovative range of crop protection products across the EU. With the major part of its portfolio comprising products listed on Annex I of the EU Plant Protection Directive, Certis has a sustainable business that can provide its customers and suppliers with a viable alternative to the multinational companies. Certis Europe has an extensive supplier base, including a significant number of Japanese companies, from whom several new active ingredients have been developed and launched in the last few years. The relationship with key suppliers extends beyond marketing and product distribution: Certis provides a full development and registration service, providing technical and regulatory positioning and influencing at both EU and national level, and is increasingly partnering in this way with its shareholders Kumiai and Nisso, as well as Mitsui & Co.
In an environment where products are being lost from the market and where the investments required to register new active ingredients are huge, life-cycle management of existing products is critical to suppliers. Certis Europe leads product stewardship task forces in several European countries which aim to safeguard the environment, while maximising the availability of crop protection tools to the grower. On behalf of suppliers, Certis undertakes specific work to develop new formulations and mixtures that provide environmental and efficacy improvements that can protect market share and extend the commercial life of products.
A wide-ranging portfolio that includes conventional chemical products, biological pesticides, beneficial insects and pheromones, makes Certis unique among suppliers to the horticultural, speciality and arable sectors and we believe this is a sustainable competitive advantage. Alongside the portfolio is a level of expertise and knowledge, allowing Certis to provide integrated novel solutions to growers that meet crop production challenges and take account of the demands and pressures placed on them by the food industry and the regulatory environment: this is the Certis Integrated Pest Management (IPM) offer. As part of this process, Certis Europe proactively develops close relationships with key influencers along the value chain, including supermarket retailers, processors, grower organisations and Non-Government al Organi sat i ons (NGOs).
In terms of crop focus, Certis Europe has a reputation and excellent track record as THE product and solution provider to the high value and speciality crops that include fruit, vegetables, vines, potatoes and flowers. Over recent years the company has evolved this service-based offer into the broad acre arable crops of wheat, barley, oil seed rape and maize. This move into arable crops has been facilitated not only because Certis suppliers are looking to expand their products into these crops but also because Certis strongly believes that the underlying expansion of the arable market, coupled with regulatory changes and food chain demands, provides a good opportunity for a service-based, speciality product offer differentiated from our competitors.
Certis Europe has a highly effective and focused sales and marketing organisation with direct presence in the major European markets. Each of its national branches has its own sales, marketing, technical development and registration capability ensuring that the full potential of the portfolio can be realised, taking into account local market and regulatory conditions, together with other significant influences, such as crop production protocols and other food industry requirements. To make best use of the expertise and knowledge available within the company, Certis has now created a European structure that involves six key teams responsible for different sectors of the portfolio. Each has a dedicated leader and core team, including business, marketing, technical and regulatory skills, from across the organisation and is supported by local expertise from the main markets. The teams cover the product portfolios for arable; seed treatment; potatoes; CleanStart (soil fumigation); trees and vines; and biorationals. Team leads are accountable for the definition and implementation of an agreed European strategy for their portfolio. In this way, Certis has the right expertise at both European and local levels, to provide optimum focus for future portfolio development and growth.
Certis Europe is not an R & D based company but does have the advantage and benefit of the research of shareholders Kumiai and Nisso, ultimately directed to European crops. In addition, with its researchers linked to the Japan Agro Services (JAS) facility at Nîmes in France, Certis has the capability to undertake early-stage evaluation of new crop protection products and to be involved in developing new uses for products that come its way. The facility also houses MASI’s seed treatment formulation laboratory, equipped with facility also houses MASI’s seed treatment formulation laboratory, equipped with state of the art equipment necessary to develop modern formulations, as well as field trials capability.
Considerable development work has been undertaken over many years with the CleanStart portfolio, providing sustainable soil management with proper stewardship and highly specialised and adapted application technology. Certis took on development and distribution of DMDS in late 2011 as part of the CleanStart portfolio. Additionally, it has strengthened its portfolio through the generation of its own intellectual property and offers this capability as a service to its suppliers. Certis also has patents pending for innovative biological crop protection.
The company is now increasing its footprint in the European market by strengthening its own national organisations to take advantage of significant new opportunities in major arable and speciality crops. The company recognises the importance of having coverage in all of the EU 28 and has expanded its footprint and penetration of the market through a recent joint venture with a valued partner, K&N Efthymiadis, that has created KNE Certis in South Eastern Europe. It also has a close working relationship with sister company, Spiess-Urania in Germany, offering access to Eastern Europe. Certis Europe has established itself as a credible player in the European agrochemical market and, with its ability to bring innovative solutions, together with the knowledge and expertise that resides in the organisation, provides a strong platform on which its suppliers can rely and an organisation that can deliver on its objectives and those of its suppliers and shareholders.
For more information visit : www.certiseurope.com
Revised article based on that Published in International Pest Control – September/October 2016 issue.