Fair Flowers Fair Plants - Arena Flowers is the first UK florist to sell FFP products
What's the problem?
It's said that when you buy flowers, you buy emotion. Unfortunately, you don't necessarily buy quality or ethically produced plants or flowers. The caring sentiment behind the gesture of sending flowers is not alway shared by global members of the flower industry. Flowers are certainly not meant to promote exploitative practices that were rife two hundred years ago in the industrial era. Yet in some areas of the supply chain, poor practices persist, as has been publicly revealed in recent years.
What's being done about it?
Fortunately steps are being taken to eradicate such practices by ensuring that customers can vote with their wallet and purchase flowers knowing that the entire production cycle underwent the highest level of scrutiny and accountability possible in the flower market. The Fair Flowers Fair Plants (FFP) Organisation, the new international standard for flowers and plants consumers, has recently been set up to monitor and check ethical standards, right from the flower or plant grower to the beautiful bouquet or plant that the consumer receives.
Who is Fair Flowers Fair Plants/FFP?
The Fair Flowers Fair Plants (FFP) Organisation is an international alliance of trade unions, non governmental organisations and international flower trade organisations that have all reached an agreement on the standards and procedures to create a decent and healthy industry that better symbolises the flowers they are selling and their aspirations for an ethical flower industry.
What is the aim of Fair Flowers Fair Plants?
Essentially the goal of the Fair Flowers Fair Plants project is to stimulate the prodution of and demand for sustainably produced flowers and plants. This should in turn lead to a reduction in exploitation of the environment and people by unscrupulous individuals.
How will Fair Flowers Fair Plants achieve its goals?
Producers have to meet high standards regarding environmental and social aspects of their production. If they achieve certification for those standards following inspection by independent certification organisations, they are allowed to sell their products under the FFP umbrella and bearing the FFP label. This label then follows the flowers from the fields, through to the auction houses where flowers are sold, through to florists such as Arena Flowers, and then finally to you, the consumer. Spot checks are carried out on certified organisations to ensure no slippage in standards following certification. Thus consumers can be confident that at every stage they are supporting ethical flower growing practices.
How can this all be tracked effectively?
With the support of key players and lots of inspections! The ability to track the flowers as they pass through the supply chain is crucial to the success of FFP and its goals. The good news is that even with the rise of supermarkets buying direct from growers, over 60% of all flowers bought and sold are still channelled through auction houses in Holland (they process around 40 million blooms a day from not only Dutch growers but also from exporting countries like Kenya, Zimbabwe, Israel, Colombia, and Ecuador). The auction houses are strong supporters of the FFP Organisation and are making strenuous efforts to increase the visibility fo FFP to buyers on the auctions.
What about products bought direct from growers/not off the auctions?
Arena Flowers, like other large flower buyers, occasionally buys direct from growers. Products sold by FFP producers through channels other than the auctions are nonetheless traced by the FFP organisation, under the terms of their agreement with the FFP organisation, and still bear the FFP label.
What's the difference between Fair Flowers Fair Plants and Fairtrade Flowers?
FFP is not the same organisation as Fairtrade. FFP's focus relates not only to 3rd world growers, but also to growers in the first world. In addition, the FFP standard ensures that once flowers have left the grower, they continue to be monitored and checked for the highest ethical and environmental standards. FFP is the first initiative to truly look after the flowers and plants from the grower right to the customer. For further details on the differences and simlarities between Fairtrade and FFP, read our interview with Regina Dinkla, Project Manager of Fair Flowers Fair Plants.
Thank you for your interest in this initiative.
The Arena Flowers Team