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Our quick guide on how to find ethical flower delivery companies

Why it is important to buy from ethical flower delivery companies

Many people love buying freshly cut flowers to brighten up their home or celebrate a special event. Nowadays, you can order flowers online and have them delivered to you or a loved one within just a few days!

According to the BBC, the UK market for cut flowers and ornamental plants has now risen to over £1.3 billion! The growing popularity of online flower shops means it is even more important to ensure we are buying from Ethical Flower Delivery Companies. There are several ethical issues within the Flower Delivery sector that you may want to be aware of before purchasing your next bouquet.

Firstly, the flower industry is one of the worst offenders for its use of pesticides. Since flowers are not considered food products, the regulations on what chemicals can be used are much less strict, with some countries using toxic chemicals that are banned in other parts of the world! Not only does this damage the health of flower farmers, but it also risks polluting local water systems.

Kenya’s Lake Naivasha experienced serious environmental degradation due to the chemicals used in flower production. Back in the early 2010s, Circle of Blue reported that the pesticides waste from flower farms had polluted the lake and caused the deaths of thousands of fish, damaging its ecosystem and depriving the local people of much-needed food and income. Although the situation appears to have improved in recent years, the case of Lake Naivasha demonstrates the serious risks that pesticides can pose to natural habitats.

Additionally, a key topic of debate is whether it is more sustainable to buy flowers grown locally or those imported from tropical climates. Some people argue that flowers grown closer to home have a lower environmental impact, as there are fewer carbon emissions used to transport the products at a shorter distance. However, the situation is more complex than you may think.

Some studies suggest that the carbon emissions required to produce artificial heat and light for flowers grown in cold climates, such as the UK or The Netherlands, could potentially be worse than the cost of transportation.

There is therefore no clear-cut answer on whether locally grown flowers are less harmful to the environment. You can find ethical flower delivery companies that source either from the UK or abroad. However, if you can find outdoor-grown seasonal local flowers, such as daffodils in the UK, these will be more energy efficient.

Our Ethical Flower Delivery Companies rating table provides you with all the information you need to choose the right company to buy your flowers from without damaging the environment. Just look for ethical flower delivery companies with a high score in our table, particularly those that have been awarded our Ethical Accreditation.

Moreover, by following the handy tips in this guide, you’ll know exactly which flowers are the most ethical, such as Fairtrade flowers and organic flowers. Organic flowers are the best solution for minimising the chemicals used in flower production, whilst Fairtrade flowers help ensure that flower farmers receive sufficient pay and job security.

Our research findings: the lack of Fairtrade flowers and organic flowers

The Good Shopping Guide’s latest research into the Flower Delivery sector has revealed some of the recurring issues within the industry. We were disappointed to see the lack of Fairtrade flowers available on the market. Out of a total of 16 companies, we found that only 4 sell Fairtrade flowers.

Similarly, our research found that only 3 companies were offering organic flowers, which is only 19% of the companies we assessed! Due to their social and environmental benefits, companies selling either Fairtrade flowers or organic flowers were awarded additional points in our Fairtrade and Organic criteria.

Our recommendations: then ethical benefits of buying Fairtrade flowers and organic flowers

We have previously mentioned that Fairtrade flowers and organic flowers are some of the most ethical products on the market. We will now explore the benefits of both options.

Organic flowers are significantly more sustainable, as the process of organic farming uses fewer pesticides than traditional non-organic farming. Therefore, by buying organic flowers you are avoiding products made with toxic chemicals that have the potential to pollute natural water systems, kill wildlife, and harm the health of farmworkers.

If you are interested in purchasing organic flowers, two ethical flower delivery companies, Arena Flowers and Prestige Flowers, have products available for you. However, these products may be subject to seasonal changes, so we recommend contacting your chosen ethical flower delivery company to see what organic flowers they have in stock at that time.

In terms of human rights, buying Fairtrade flowers is your best option for ensuring that the farmers producing your bouquets are being treated fairly. The Fairtrade Foundation sets standards to improve workers’ rights, meaning workers producing Fairtrade flowers generally receive better pay, job security, and overall quality of life.

Moreover, like organic flowers, Fairtrade flowers are made with fewer chemicals, as the Fairtrade Foundation also sets regulations against hazardous substances. For Fairtrade flowers, we can recommend Arena FlowersBloom and Prestige Flowers.

 See the full Ethical Flower Delivery Companies rating table to find out more.

Key Research

Below you will find links to the key sections of our ethical research in Home & Office:

We have created ethical comparison rankings for the following brands, based on the activities of the company group (see above tables): Bunches, Arena Flowers, The Real Flower Company, British Bouquets, Eden4Flowers, Flying Flowers, iflorest, Seranata Flowers, Valueflora, Interflora, eFlorist, Flowers Direct, Netflora.

Disclosure:  Some of the links above are affiliate links, meaning we earn commission if you click through and make a purchase. Placement and use of these links has no bearing in terms of the ethical scores that we give to a brand.  All commission earned by The Good Shopping Guide is re-invested into the research carried out by The Ethical Company Organisation.

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