The Truth About Going Green
When people think of sustainable floristry, the first thing that comes to mind is reducing waste. Florists can swear off flower foam, only sell flowers that are in season, and use paper packaging instead of plastic packaging. However, people fail to realize that green floristry is more than just recycling and that the floral industry is more than just florists.
Sure, florists are how the end product is distributed to customers, but there is a lot more behind the bouquet of flowers you purchase on Valentine’s Day. According to PMA’s Trends in Mass-Market Floral Report, 82% of cut-flower sales in the U.S. consisted of imports from countries such as Colombia, Ecuador, and Mexico. Transportation alone uses millions of liters of fuel and releases thousands of metric tons of CO2 – and this is without taking into account refrigeration.
Flowers are perishable items and have very short lives. In order to survive the trip, flowers have to be transported in refrigerated trucks, which use even more fuel. This adds to the already high carbon footprint. Therefore, in order to go green, the entire supply chain has to be re-worked, from farming to transport.
The floral industry also uses large quantities of water since floriculture is a pretty water-intensive process. With already limited supplies of water, this can also be interpreted as wasteful. There is, however, no solution to this. Going green can only go so far.
Yet another popular issue is the chemical pollution caused by the floral industry. Pesticides are regulated and controlled when it comes to growing food. However, flowers are not considered edible and do not follow any such guidelines. The use of toxic pesticides can therefore pollute the air, pollute the water, and even damage the ozone layer.
With all of this at stake, considering the environmental impact of floristry is extremely important. David Kaplan from All My Flowers said, “I think sustainability is very important in these times. Keeping that in mind, economics comes into play. Changing the way things are done today is extremely difficult. For example, the rise of e-commerce and 1 bouquet in a box originating from faraway places, of course, takes the same space as 8-20 bouquets in a box, hence using more airspace and ground logistics.”
Basically, green floristry is a big ask. Sure, there are ways to work toward sustainable floristry, but they’re not as revolutionary as some make them out to be. The floral industry has more moving variables than most other industries. From dependence on imported flowers and consequences of transportation across countries to the short lifespan of the product and the level of waste on the B2C end, the industry has a lot to tackle before it can be more sustainable.
However, there are also other things to take into consideration. No matter how noble our intentions maybe, because the supply chain is global, any action will affect hundreds or thousands of others. This can result in lost jobs, the collapse of the floral industry in some regions, or, in some cases, even more pollution and waste.
The trend of eco-friendliness pushes people to act quickly, but the floral supply chain works months in advance. Hasty decisions made with an eco-friendly mindset may not have the desired results. Since the supply chain is so complicated and flowers are ordered in advance, simply cancelling shipments won’t result in sustainable floristry. It would simply create more waste since flowers have a short life and vendors may not find another order to fulfill in a short period of time.
At New Bloom Solutions, we fully understand the nuances of the situation since we deal with all parts of the supply chain, from farmers to florists. With over two decades of experience in the industry, we can help you with all your flower-related needs – just schedule an appointment.