The GMI has been developed in order to help the horticultural industry in the UK meet government targets for reduction in peat use. Peatlands are an important habitat and carbon store globally and it is now widely recognised that it is important to minimise further drainage of peat bogs and peat extraction. The GMI scheme aims to increase consumer awareness about the need to protect the world’s peatlands and the need therefore to use more sustainable materials for growing their plants and improving the soil in their gardens. It also aims to provide a mechanism to encourage growing media manufacturers to develop and market effective peat replacements
The UK Biodiversity Action Plan (1997) stated that the horticultural industry should aim for a minimum of 40% of total market requirements (soil improver plus growing media products) to be peat-free by 2005 and 90% by 2010. The 2005 target has been met due to the combined efforts of suppliers, growers and retailers in the horticulture sector. The 2010 target is much more challenging but this scheme aims to be a catalyst for a greater rate of change in peat replacement.