Sustainable & Ethical Flower Sourcing this Mother's Day

Photo Source: @thebouqsco

We’re here to remind you that Mother’s Day is this Sunday (May 10th) and what better way to surprise your mom while practicing social distancing than with a beautiful bouquet of flowers both ethically and sustainably produced?

Just like food and textiles, flowers are an agricultural product. As with any agricultural product there are environmental and supply chain factors to keep in mind before purchasing the most beautiful bouquet you can find. 

Here’s what to consider before purchasing:

  • Carbon Footprint – Most flowers are imported from areas with more suitable growing conditions. There has been debate over whether imported flowers are a sustainable option. One study concluded that flowers grown in Africa produce significantly less CO2 than flowers grown in Kenya since heated greenhouses and artificial lights are not needed.

  • Use of Pesticides – Because we don’t eat them, there is far less legislation over what chemicals can and cannot be used in flower production. As one of the largest pesticide consumers in the world, the flower industry has been known to use toxic chemicals like DDT and methyl bromide, both of which are banned in the US and known as “ozone-depleting” chemicals. Without proper training on the usage of these chemicals, workers are at risk for dangerous health concerns and local eco-systems suffer.
  • Water Pollution – Runoff from chemicals used in the growing fields can have severe consequences on neighboring waterways. One example of this is Kenya’s Lake Naivasha, where the fish stock has completely collapsed due to fertilizer draining into the lake.
  • Air Pollution – Runoff isn’t the only issue with using toxic chemicals. As much as 90% of applied pesticides evaporate from the foliage and soil after application and can travel up to 1500 miles, adding to the air pollution and public health concerns of flower producing regions.
  • Exploitation in the Supply Chain – A 2007 press release from the nonprofit War on Want stated that “Mothers in Colombia growing flowers for sale in British supermarkets for Mother’s Day face poverty wages, health problems such as repetitive strain injuries and risk miscarriages through exposure to pesticides.” Cases of child labor have also been reported in India, one of the largest rose producers in the world.

  • Waste – Plastic wrap and floral foam are examples of unnecessary waste produced in the floral industry. Although most florists nowadays prefer to arrange foam-free, it’s still a question you should ask before purchasing.

Where to buy sustainably and ethically produced flowers this Mother's Day?

1) Bouqs.com – Delivery in all 50 states

The Bouqs Company is committed to eco-friendly flower farming. They work with local florists in your area to source and deliver sustainable flowers that are cut-to-order and wrapped in butcher paper to avoid plastic.

2) SlowFlowers.com - An online directory of sustainable and ethical florists in the US committed to American-grown flowers.

3) Your own local florist – Just ask! See if your own local florist has any locally sourced flowers grown sustainably. Request your order be wrapped in butcher paper instead of plastic and ask if they can skip the foam. 

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