Finding the ethical flower – with Australia’s ABC Radio

Blueprint is a weekly lifestyle programme on ABC Radio, the national broadcaster for Australia. Hosted by journalist Jonathan Green, it takes the prime Saturday morning slot and is described as ‘a weekly rummage through the essential cultural ingredients — design, food, travel, gardens, fashion — for a good life’. This week Jonathan interviewed our project co-lead Dr Jill Timms about the global cut flower industry, what consumers should be asking and the work of our Sustainable Flower Project. This is how they describe the piece…

Much has been made about the importance of ethically and sustainably consuming food and textiles, but what about flowers? They are, after all, an agricultural product (and a labour and resource intensive one at that).

Sociologist Jill Timms has been researching the ecological and human impacts of the global cut flower industry for over a decade. She joins Blueprint to figure out what a ‘sustainable flower’ might look like.

To find out more about where and how to source sustainable flowers, find Dr Timms’ beginners’ guide here.

Find more Blueprint via the ABC Listen app or wherever you get your podcasts.Duration: 14min 54secBroadcast: Sat 15 May 2021, 9:06am

Valentine’s Day: Five Ways to Ensure Your Flowers are Ethical


As Valentine’s Day approaches, make sure the flowers you buy for your loved ones are ethical and sustainable.

How can you do that? Just follow the advice we compiled in a little article for The Conversation last year.

Read an excerpt here and then follow the link below for the whole article.

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.

Sustainability in Small-scale Flower Production


This week our own Dr David Bek attended the annual Flowers from the Farm Conference to share some insights from our research with small-scale grower florists.

David presented some of the insights from our research, including advice on how to including some of the key principles for developing a British standard for sustainable flowers.

You can download our free sustainability guide for florists here ▸

David also co-organised a lunchtime breakout talk with Angela Coulton from Petal & Twig on the theme Sustainability Issues in Small-scale Flower Production.

More than 60 people turned up, which shows terrific interest and engagement. Clearly, there is a real desire to advance the sustainability agenda within Flowers from the Farm and to become a trend-setter for the whole horticulture industry.

Thanks to the many who filled in our survey – we will post the results on the website soon.

Angela Coulton from Petal & Twig during the lunchtime breakout talk on Sustainability Issues in Small-scale Flower Production.

Another highlight was Shane Connolly’s demonstration and we were particularly pleased to see him emphasising the need for sustainable practice in floristry by quoting HRH the Prince of Wales:

For (change) to happen as many people as possible, across all cultures and languages, must understand the natural world and our place within it. We are Nature ourselves”

Free Sustainability Guide for Florists Launching at FleurEx 2019!


If you are a florist or flower buyer attending FleurEx this weekend, keep an eye out for us and our free sustainability guide!

The free sustainability guide is designed to offer you 3 things:

  • An overview of key issues regarding the sustainability of cut-flowers
  • Information so you can make informed decisions on how you source/use flowers
  • Details of where you can find out more and keep up to date with developments

We will also be uploading a PDF version of the guide shortly for those of you who are not able to attend FleurEx.