Is cut flower ethical in the UK?
Nearly 80% of the cut flowers we buy in the UK are imported from the Netherlands, Colombia and Kenya. The world's largest flower-farming nations are the Netherlands, Colombia, Kenya and Israel and they are main exporters to the UK. For years, the flower industry suffers from social and environmental problems.
A lot of people do not concern so much about what pesticides are used to grow flowers. According to a Guardian report (Siegle, 2012), 12 different pesticides are used to help flowers grow in Columbia. Furthermore, some flower farmers use toxic pesticides which are banned in industrialized nations in Ethiopia. Moreover, the issues over the carbon foot print have been increased as the use of air-freighted flowers increased (Siegle, 2006). With issues over pesticides and carbon foot print, water shortage, impacts of greenhouses on landscape, and packaging issues were also being associated with the cut flower industry.
Besides the environmental problems, social issues such as low wages, health and safety issues and labour rights are also being associated with the cut flower industry. In Colombia, flower farmers are exposed to systematic labour abuses and toxic chemicals exposure remains an important concern among farmers. Health issues persist as farmers are forced to work double shifts to meet consumers’ demand with depressing labor rights. The flower industry is comprised of between 65-75 percent of women workers, women’s issues such as sexual harassment and compulsory pregnancy testing tend to be pressing (Holt and Watson, 2008). Furthermore, issues over the lack of permanent employment have been raised. Flower workers are hired by “cooperatives” and they get only temporary work contracts limited to only one to three months.
Fair Trade and some solutions
All these problems are cannot be covered perfectly....