Flowers are wonderful gifts to demonstrate love and thoughtfulness to a friend or significant other, brightening up their day and their space.
But these pretty blooms also have an ugly side.
The majority of flowers sold in the United States are grown in South America, Latin America, and Africa on farms that are all to often ripe with pesticides, unsustainable growing methods, and exploited, underpaid labor.
To ensure that the flowers you’re purchasing are responsibly sourced from farms with eco-friendly practices and ethical working conditions, look out for the Fair Trade label. Growers and distributors with this certification have passed rigorous standards for their environmental and labor practices and must pass routine third-party checks. Below are a few places to find ethically grown floral bouquets:
One World Flowers is a FairTrade USA licensed importer and a distributor of Fair Trade certified flowers across the United States. The company is keenly aware of every aspect of sustainability, conscious of both the environment and the lives of all people involved in growing their flowers.
Their sustainable business model guarantees safe working conditions, fair living wages and environmentally friendly growing practices. And to ensure that the company is truly serving the Ecuadorian communities in the best way possible, workers vote on how to use the money from their 10% Fair Trade premium.
Whole Trade® is the label from Whole Foods guaranteeing ethical sourcing from third-party Fair Trade certifiers. This “Whole Trade Guarantee” is a commitment to ethical trade (fair wages and good working conditions), environmental responsibility, and investments in community development.
Whole Trade® Flowers are sold in Whole Foods locations across the US, Canada, and United Kingdom. These ethically-sourced flowers are priced in line with other flower bouquets on the market, with two dozen roses for just around $25. And there’s a special Valentine’s Day price for Amazon Prime members going on through the fourteenth.
Fairtrade International (FLO) accredited BloomQuest sells numerous varieties of flowers, but specializes in roses. The socially responsible company sources their flowers from Fairtrade accredited farms in Kenya and can guarantee a transparent supply chain.
Through BloomQuest’s Fairtrade practices, farmworkers receive fair wages to cover sustainable production, as well as enough to fund investments in social and economic development projects. BloomQuest is also an eco-conscious company—they utilize geothermal heating and hydroponic production to reduce water and resource usage.
BeMyRose is a Fair Trade flower company with organic, sustainable growing practices. They use composted organic material as fertilizer or soil amendment, recycle all materials, and are committed to using absolutely zero harmful pesticides.
The conscious company continuously looks for ways to support the farmworker communities where they source their flowers. BeMyRose encourages their farmers to develop self-sustaining projects with the 10% Fair Trade premium, and they implement additional programs for farmworker communities, including laundry and dental services. You can read more on their projects here.
Another ethical + eco choice besides Fair Trade certification is to find locally grown flowers. It’s simple math—the shorter the distance your flowers have to travel to get to you, the smaller the carbon footprint!
Farmer’s Markets can be great spots to find locally-grown flowers. Another great resource I recently discovered is Floret Flowers. Just search for “Farmer-Florists” near you to find a locally grown bouquet. It’s also always good to do some research online beforehand or ask a few questions to ensure responsible and transparent farming practices.
Know of any other places selling ethical, sustainable, and/or Fair Trade certified flowers? Feel free to leave a comment or send me an email.