As Valentine’s Day approaches, make sure the flowers you buy for your loved ones are ethical and sustainable.
Across the world, 250m rose stems will be produced for the day. Of those exported to the EU, 38% are from Kenya, where flower export values have trebled this decade. Governments in Ethiopia, Tanzania and more recently Uganda and Rwanda, are also pursuing expansion, with flowers now accounting for 10% of East African exports.
That part of the world has a natural abundance of heat and space, and lots of available cheap labour. Flowers could help the regional economy to “bloom”. However, there are significant social and environmental challenges, such as the massive population growth around Lake Naivasha which contributes to pollution and has helped cut the lake’s volume in half.
Our own research project on sustainable flowers focuses on stakeholders from different parts of the supply chain. But you definitely have a role to play here too, and it begins with asking questions of the flowers you buy.
Continue reading on The Conversation to find out which questions to ask of your flowers to make sure they are ethical.