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Introduction

The feel-good factor of buying flowers for a friend or loved one can be marred by concerns over issues such as air miles, workers’ rights and the use of chemicals, but a number of companies are taking positive steps that meet higher environmental and welfare standards than ever before.

Keyword-ResearchLook out for our new sector-specific Ethical Accreditation certification marks which now cover over 15 different consumer product sectors. These are additional to our original Ethical Company mark that features on the packaging of over 100 million consumer products every year.

Flower Miles

The UK cut flower and houseplant market is worth around £1.75 billion, but the limited growing spaces and unfavourable weather conditions mean that 95% of cut flowers are being imported to the UK to keep up with the demand.

One obvious choice to combat flower miles is to source flowers from UK growers. There are a number of flowers grown in the UK which are available during their natural growing season, meaning more choice in the summer months than winter. Ask your local florist for more details about ethical flowers or look online for specialist companies like Green & Gorgeous (www.greenandgorgeousflowers.co.uk) which send cut flowers by post and The Real Flower Company (www.realflowers.co.uk) which scores well in our Ethical Rankings.

Supporting Workers

Some argue that it is more environmentally friendly to grow flowers in their natural conditions in developing nations and transport them to the UK in the cargo hold of passenger planes, than it is for flowers to be grown under glass in Europe using additional heating and lighting. Buying flowers from developing countries also creates work and support for local communities and the opportunity to make a decent living. There are a number of schemes and labels now available to help you choose the most ethical flowers, which help support growers and workers across the globe and most of these also set environmental standards:

* Fairtrade
The Fairtrade Foundation guarantees decent working conditions, local sustainability and fair terms and trade for farmers and workers in the developing world. The majority of flowers and bouquets carrying the Fairtrade Mark in the UK are available from supermarkets, including: Marks & Spencer, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and The Co-operative. Of the florist networks, Interflora is the only company within our research to offer a selection of Fairtrade certified flowers.

* Fair Flowers Fair Plants
Fair Flowers Fair Plants (FFP) is a label attached to flowers and plants and is given to growers that meet certain standards relating to the environmental and the social conditions of workers. The environmental requirements of the FFP label relates to the use of pesticides, fertilisers, energy, water and waste. Producers are required to keep records of usage, which are subsequently verified by the certifying body. The social requirements are based on the International Code of Conduct for cut flowers (ICC), which contains requirements related to the safety, health and working conditions of the employees at production companies. Arena Flowers, which achieves a high Ethical Ranking within our research, was the first company within the UK to achieve FFP certification and is also an Ethical Accreditation member.

* Florverde Sustainable Flowers
Florverde Sustainable Flowers (FSF) is a social and environmental standard, which ensures that flowers certified under the scheme have been responsibly produced. FSF requires flower growers to adopt measures that will protect and enable worker’s rights, implement best environmental practices, and comply with national regulations. FSF also helps safeguard quality by requiring the proper care and handling of flowers. See www.florverde.org for where to buy certified flowers.

* Organic
At the moment, organically certified flowers in the UK are not easy to find, but many flowers are grown in an environmental way without having an official organic label. A quick web search and you’ll find a number of flower companies offering natural flowers without the use of chemicals or fertilisers.

Ethical Flower Companies’ Rankings Detailed Table


Keyword-Research
Buy our detailed Ethical Research Reports. See the findings behind companies’ ethical ratings, as featured in The Good Shopping Guide. Several different product sectors available covering hundreds of consumer brands.

We have created ethical rankings for the following brands, based on the activities of the company group (see above tables): Bunches, Arena Flowers, The Real Flower Company, British Bouquets, Eden4Flowers, Flying Flowers, iflorest, Seranata Flowers, Valueflora, Interflora, eFlorist, Flowers Direct, Netflora

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