Since Fairtrade first began certifying flowers in 2001, consumers have been eager to brighten someone’s day with Fairtrade roses and other Fairtrade cut flowers. Most of these come from East Africa, which is a prominent production hub for the global flower industry. Fairtrade Standards also cover other plants like poinsettias, geraniums or potted chrysanthemums.
Most flowers and plants are grown on large estates. As a result they are one of the only Fairtrade products to be exclusively sourced from plantations with hired workers, and not small-scale farmers. Fairtrade’s Hired Labour Standard establishes criteria that aim to improve working conditions on plantations and gives workers a stronger voice with plantation management.
What Fairtrade Means for Flowers Producers
The Fairtrade Standards for flowers and plants help protect workers and ensure safe working conditions. The standards stipulate that wages must be equal to or higher than the regional average or the minimum wage. Producer organizations also receive the Fairtrade Premium in addition to the selling price, which is invested in local business and social development projects. At flower plantations or in hired labour situations, a joint body composed of workers and management is formed to manage the Fairtrade Premium.
Under the Fairtrade Standards for flowers and plants, a detailed set of safety regulations limit the use of agrochemicals and prohibit the use of banned pesticides. Read more
General Flower and Plants Facts
- The conditions for flowers in East Africa and Latin American countries near the equator are generally ideal for flower cultivation. Flowers need at least ten hours of daylight and consistent humidity, which can be found constantly in many areas of these regions.
- Flowers grown in artificially heated and lit greenhouses in temperate countries, such as the Netherlands, have on average a larger carbon footprint than flowers grown in natural greenhouses in tropical areas, even when transport is taken into account.
- For the price of cultivating two hectares of flowers in the Netherlands, six hectares can be cultivated in Kenya.
- After cutting, flowers have to be cooled consistently and stored at 10-15 degrees to maintain their beauty and full value.
- Since flowers are highly perishable, the industry depends to a large extent on air freight. However, trails with sea shipments have recently begun.
Where to Buy
Fairtrade flowers and plants can be found in many florists and local supermarkets. If you cannot find Fairtrade flowers in your community, talk to your local retailer or get in touch with your local Fairtrade organization by checking out Fairtrade Near You.