- One of the European leaders in flower delivery
- Offers fair trade certified roses
A JOURNEY INTO THE HEART OF FLOWERS
Want to offer flowers but can't come on D-Day?
Distance is no longer an obstacle and thanks to Internet, you can offer bouquets to whomever, wherever and whenever you want, from your sofa!
But which site to choose among the multitude on the web? Between network florists, central offices and producers: not easy to understand "who does what" and what differentiates them..
So I propose a trip to the land of flowers, hoping that this small tour d'horizon will help you
The advantages and drawbacks...
75: This is the percentage of the world flower market held by the Netherlands.
They are the European leader in this field and the largest importer and exporter country of flowers.
9/10: this is the ratio of imported roses on the European market.
They come from East Africa (Ethiopia, Kenya) but also from Latin America (Ecuador, Colombia).
Almost all the roses we buy therefore travel several thousand kilometres before arriving in our houses (mostly passing through the Netherlands beforehand...)
These "flower transmission chains" (such as Interflora and Florajet for examples) actually use the services of independent florists. These are the ones who make and deliver the bouquets that you order on the Net.
Here is how they work: as soon as your order is placed on the "chain" website: your request is forwarded to the florist closest to the place of delivery.
He will make your bouquet according to his creativity, his arrival and his know-how, before delivering it (himself) to the desired person.
By making the local florists work: you know that your bouquet will not travel the whole country before being delivered
Another advantage: delivery can be requested within a few hours, on a Sunday or a holiday because the bouquet will be hand delivered by the florist.
Small drawback that can frustrate: as a buyer, you will not know the "final result" of the bouquet delivered... so you will have to trust the florist !
We are dealing here with a short circuit that involves only one intermediary: producer/central/consignee.
The central purchasing agencies have a whole list of producers (French and/or foreign) from whom they obtain their supplies to create their bouquets.
Here, no surprises! The bouquet delivered will correspond (normally !) to the photo you will have seen on the website of the central purchasing.
On the other hand, the carriers who take care of the deliveries do not work Sundays and public holidays: it will therefore be necessary to take this data into account and accept this restriction during your purchase (a pity if Mother's Day falls on a Sunday...)
Also keep in mind that the bouquet will be delivered in a packaging (usually cardboard, with a pocket of water) that will have travelled (sometimes) several hundred kilometers... which could potentially "tire" and damage your flowers (and this, even if the signs take special care of their packaging).
Their main asset: freshness!
The flowers are cultivated locally and picked in the morning, put in bouquet in the afternoon and dispatched in the stride for a delivery the next day...
It's hard to do better in terms of speed/efficiency! (Delivery usually takes place within 24 hours)
So there is no intermediary, you support the work of the horticulturists and nurserymen in your country and thus preserve their jobs, and you know where the plants you buy come from.
Where do the flowers we buy come from?
With the Netherlands holding 75% of the world market (see box): no need to tell you that the probability of you buying flowers from your country is low...
For several years now, we have also seen countries such as Kenya and Ecuador take a little more market share, to the disadvantage of French horticulturists in particular.
Faced with this international competition which cultivates intensively and thus manages to meet world needs throughout the year (with large reinforcement of pesticides, heated greenhouses and exploited workers): European producers can hardly compete...
Behind this flower business hides a much less pink reality...
If you scrape a little, you quickly realize that not everything is very "honest" on the flower market.
No more ostrich-like approach and the doublespeak: it is important, I think, to be aware of the following realities:
- The flower market is fed by huge farms located in the 4 corners of the planet and mainly in underdeveloped countries where labour is cheap.
We can therefore better understand why, in 20 years, a lot of european farms have thrown in the towel and shut down: impossible for them to face this (
unfair) global competition which, it, manages to meet a demand as strong, at lower cost...
- The soils are overexploited, impoverished and contaminated by intensive use of pesticides (some farms use twice as many pesticides as in the Netherlands for example... not all countries are subject to the same regulations) and chemical fertilizers which (in addition to contaminating the soil) create health problems among workers (cancer outbreaks in particular)
- Intensive irrigation inevitably depletes water resources
- Working conditions are very difficult (about 60 hours per week for a very low wage)
- The transport (truck/aircraft) and especially the use of greenhouses heated with natural gas (and the winner are : the Netherlands!) produce a considerable quantity of CO2.
But perhaps all is not lost: over the years, more and more consciences are rising and decide to do everything possible to try to establish a trade more respectful of the planet and human conditions.
Many labels have thus been created in this direction but unfortunately remain too little known by consumers.
Labels to promote quality, eco-responsibility and respect for the human condition
The main international labels
"MPS Florimark Trade"
It is the most widespread (Dutch) certification among horticulturists worldwide.
Professionals who obtain this certification thus guarantee their consumers maximum quality and reliability.
This certificate actually includes three:
- Florimark TraceCert: This certification guarantees the traceability of plants and flowers.
- Florimark Good Trade Practice: it is a quality management system coupled with strict requirements in terms of traceability and environmental and social respect.
- ISO 9001:2008: it is a certification that defines a very specific quality management system.
Transparency and traceability are the key words of this certification.
"Ethical Trade Initiative" (ETI)
This label commits professionals to act responsibly and promotes decent work (respect for human rights).
"Flower Label Program" (FLP)
This (German) label encourages horticulturalists to meet both social and environmental requirements.
Thus, the working conditions of employees are an essential criterion in obtaining this label (decent pay and working hours, access to care, etc.), as well as responsible management of the environment (limited use of pesticides, careful management of natural resources, etc.).
This list is obviously not exhaustive: there are many other organisations, certifications and labels such as Fairtrade Labelling Organizations (FLO) which work notably for fair trade and include, among others, the Fairtrade Max Havelaar, Fairtrade Mark and Transfair labels.
Final introspection and awareness...
To choose between buying local flowers or participating in a global business not very respectful of our planet or the human race: personally, my choice is made.
And what about you? On which site of our ranking will you make your next purchase?