Arena Flowers were excited about being shortlisted for the Mayor’s Responsible Procurement Awards in December 2010. We had a great evening at City Hall and thought we’d take a moment to tell you about it.
What are the Responsible Procurement Awards?
The Responsible Procurement awards themselves are there to recognise contributions made by suppliers to and staff of the Greater London Authority (GLA) group towards procurement delivering significant social and environmental benefits. A bit of a mouthful but essentially, responsible procurement within the GLA group is a policy to ensure that procurement delivers environmental benefits, social benefits and economic efficiency. This stimulates the GLA group internally and also external suppliers to work on meeting environmental, social and economic objectives. The award ceremony itself is to recognise those internally, or external suppliers who’ve successfully gone the extra mile to make their business or area more environmental, socially responsible and efficient.
For example, the winner of the Ethical Sourcing internal award was Phil Roddy, who has worked with London Underground’s uniform procurement. Phil won his award as a result of his work with uniform manufacturers, meaning that London Underground staff’s fleece jackets are made from recycled plastic bottles.
Why were we shortlisted?
Arena Flowers was entered into the environmental sustainability category of the awards. We deliver flowers to individuals across the UK and we also supply Transport For London with a flower and gift delivery service. Our environmental credentials are strong; being the first UK florist to sell “Fair Flowers Fair Plants” flowers, we are the only florist in the Good Shopping Guide’s ethical supplier directory and we won an Online Green Award from the IMRG in 2008.
We have an unusual buying process for our flowers. We buy our flowers directly (one of the Arena Flowers buyers is at the flower auctions in Holland at 5am each morning), meaning that we cut out extra cost and extra time getting flowers from growers to the customer – this means the flowers spend less time in expensive energy-consuming fridges (and also last longer for the recipients). Buying directly and selecting stems ourselves ensures not only the quality of the flowers but it also means we can buy exactly what we need, so wastage is reduced.
But it’s not just the flowers, we also use carbon neutral hosting of our website and print our cards on paper from sustainable sources (and where possible, with vegetable-base inks!). Flowers couriered in boxes are in boxes made from recycled paper. We also recycle all our paper, printer cartridges, cardboard and green waste. And we sell organic wines to add to orders too.
The award ceremony itself was held at City Hall in London – an amazing building with fantastic views and it was very nice to meet London Deputy Mayor, Richard Barnes. Richard is also a member of the London Assembly for Ealing and Hillingdon, so we hope to see him at Flowers HQ some time soon.
Although we didn’t win the award, it was a great evening to find out what other suppliers and GLA staff are up to. The award trophies themselves were made from waste timber from New Scotland Yard. For us this reinforced the message that it’s not just the big things that matter to ensure an environmentally responsible business, but also the small things we can do day to day. Something which we are constantly mindful of at Arena Flowers.