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Did you know you can buy Fairtrade flowers?

Last week, the first Fairtrade flower forum took place at Petersham Nurseries to discuss what sustainability looks like when it comes to cut flowers.

Georgina Wilson-Powell 16 September 2019

Did you know the British flower market is worth £1.4 billion and Fairtrade flowers are sold in 17 different countries around the world?

Fairtrade mostly buys flowers grow in Africa and the Middle East, where the sector has become a huge part of economic development. While a rapid expansion has brought jobs, people can face poor health and safety, unsustainable incomes and the flowers 

As a result of rapid expansion corners can be cut, people can face misconduct, poor health and safety conditions and unsustainable incomes. 

The forum was organised to highlight hidden issues in the flower trade and to make people more aware of that fact that not all cut flowers are created equal.

Fairtrade flower launch

Fairtrade launched a renewed focus on flowers at Petersham Nurseries

Mike Gidney, CEO at the Fairtrade Foundation said: ‘More than  57,000 workers are supported by Fairtrade on flower farms across 64 producer organisations. Nine out of ten people in the UK recognise the FAIRTRADE Mark, which is celebrating its 25th year in October. 

Yet despite huge leaps forward since Fairtrade started working with the first flower farms in 2006, there remain challenges in the sector, and thousands more people are still experiencing shocking exploitation, low wages, unsafe working conditions and dangerous manual labour.

We want to ensure sustainability at each stage, from the growth of the stems to the sourcing of different flowers, both locally and at scale, to the sale of beautiful bouquets online and in stores around the country. Fairtrade is well placed to lead the change.”

Isobel Anstey, flower buyer from Co-op says: “Fairtrade guarantees growers in developing countries a better life and a brighter future and we will continually look for ways and areas that we can develop to help make positive impact and life changes for these farmers. We were delighted to commit to and be the first retailer to source 100% Fairtrade African roses. This means that any roses from Africa, used in either single or mixed bouquets, are Fairtrade, meaning over 35 million Fairtrade roses are sourced for Co-op from Africa each year.”

What makes flowers Fairtrade?

Fairtrade has introduced a minimum floor wage to protect farmers working on Fairtrade flower farms, and standards set out improved regulations and decent working conditions, ways to support women’s empowerment, and community development. The Fairtrade premium, an additional sum of money, supports community projects and investment.

Fairtrade flowers are available to buy at high street retailers; Aldi, Asda, Co-op, M&S and Sainsbury’s. They are also available at online retailers: Arena Flowers and Moonpig.

Georgina Wilson-Powell 16 September 2019

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