With Valentine’s Day looming, and Fairtrade Fortnight just around the corner, it’s time to ask me – “Why Fairtrade Flowers Ali?”
DATES FOR YOUR DIARY:
Valentine’s Day 14th February 2020
Fairtrade Fortnight – Monday 24 February to Sunday 8 March 2020.
Fairtrade Foundation recently invited me to their ‘Future Sustainability’ event at the ever wonderful Petersham Nurseries.*
I was fortunate enough to meet and chat to Grace Adhiambo Otieno, Field Supervisor, at Flamingo Flower Farm in Kenya. Her story is incredible, and the Fairtrade Premium has massively improved her work and home life, in terms of gender equality, workers’ rights, education and the environment in which she and her colleagues work.
“I humbly request if you are going to buy a flower for family or friends, please buy it from a Fairtrade shop….It is a blessing to us. It has really really impacted many lives. I am only one single person, but I am the voice of many many people. If you buy a flower with Fairtrade Premium, and the money goes back to the worker, it changes a life.” Grace Adhiambo Otieno, Field Supervisor, Flamingo Horticulture Ltd. farm.
I was also delighted to be able to bring along a client, Francesca with whom I was working as a consultant, building her Stamptastic social media and the Sustainability Policy for her business. (see below for links)
I had this feeling that at every ‘ethical, or sustainable’ event that I am fortunate to attend, I was finding myself in a ‘bubble’ where yes it’s fabulous to be amongst likeminded business people – however, I have the impression that I/we are all preaching to the converted. It was a real eye-opener to bring a guest who knew nothing about the Fairtrade Foundation. Although of course Francesca (pictured here with me, Ali Clifford) recognised their logo from her bananas and coffee – she had no reason previously to even consider where her flowers were grown.
In fact – There are over 4,500 Fairtrade products available to buy in UK shops
Other Fairtrade Products
As well as those bananas, coffee and tea – You can also find Fairtrade ice cream, wine, vodka, gin, flowers, spices, gold, footballs, rugby balls, massage oils, shaving oils, lipstick, hand balm, sun screen, face cream, face masks and deodorants.
Explore more products on Faitrade Foundation’s Buying Fairtrade page.
So yes – nine out of ten people in the UK recognise the FAIRTRADE Mark, which celebrated its 25th year in 2019. 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.
The good news
The good news is that 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. In addition, Fairtrade offers an additional sum of money, which goes to support community projects and investment. In 2018, €6.7 million of Fairtrade Premium was generated, nearly a third of this goes towards education services for workers and their families.
The British flower market is worth £1.4 billion and Fairtrade flowers are sold in 17 different countries around the world. An overwhelming majority (94%) of these flowers are grown in Africa & the Middle East. Millions of people there rely on growing flowers for their livelihoods and the sector has become a huge part of economic development. As a result of rapid expansion corners can be cut, people can face misconduct, poor health and safety conditions and unsustainable incomes.
Mike Gidney, CEO of Fairtrade Foundation spoke:
‘As we look to the future, we must consider how we can protect, strengthen and improve this industry. Both for the people working hard to grow our flowers and the environments they are working in. 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’.
Where to buy Fairtrade Flowers
Aldi: Buy now
Co op: 100% Fairtrade single stem roses. Fresh from our growers in Kenya. Buy now
Arena Flowers: is one of only two specialist UK florists to be registered with Fairtrade. Buy now
Asda: Buy now
Lidl: Buy now
Morrisons: Buy now
M&S: Choose from our beautiful selection of rose and lily bouquets to mark that special occasion. Buy now
Moonpig: Their selection of bouquets sourced only from Fairtrade farms are sure to brighten anyone’s day! Buy now
Sainsbury’s: As well as being the UK’s largest retailer of Fairtrade flowers, all our rose bunches from Kenya have been Fairtrade since 2007. Buy now
Find out more about Fairtrade Flowers on the Fairtrade Foundation’s website here
* I love Petersham Nurseries – it’s just up the River Thames from my old flat (I know, lucky me…) so I try and visit when I can. Amazing food and a wonderfully merchandised gift shop and plant stalls. Visit Richmond here
Ethically sourced sustainable Somerset flowers can also be purchased from Georgie The Flower Farmer at Common Farm Flowers
Find me over on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/incredibusy
Read Stamptastic’s Environmental policy here