12th September 2023
A fascinating workshop was held at Organic Blooms near to Bristol with 20 participants drawn from the grower-florist sector. The main topics for discussion focused on sustainability principles – what practices should a truly sustainable florist-grower focus on in their daily work? And then we considered how these principles can be assured. Participants outlined the key challenges that are faced from ‘seed to bouquet’, noting carbon footprints in logistics, growing media and packaging as important areas to consider. Interestingly, a lack of transparency up and down the supply chain was noted as a significant challenge. It is hard to make sustainable decisions if information is not available. Overall, a very productive and motivating day for all. Watch this space for further updates and please get in touch to be involved.
1st June 2023
The flowers displayed in Westminster Abbey at the Coronation of King Charles III were sourced from 5 RHS gardens and 88 small-scale British growers. In this article in Floraulture International, David Bek reflects on what this recognition might mean for the UK’s small scale sector and the local/seasonal movement more broadly.
It has been our pleasure to work with Flowers from the Farm since the very inception of this project in 2017. Therefore, it is fantastic to see that they are partnering with Royal Florist Shane Connelly (another friend of the project) to deliver local, seasonal flowers for the Coronation of King Charles III. This is a triumph for the work that Flowers from the Farm have done as an organisation and even more importantly it is likely to be a significant turning point in debates about sustainability in the cut-flower sector. Please click this link to see the video which tells more about Flowers from the Farms contribution to the Coronation.
David Bek recently had the pleasure of being interviewed for Roz Chandler’s Cut Flower Podcast. A lively discussion was held on a variety of topics. What is the impact of our choices within the supply chain? What’s happening in the world of flowers? How much do most florists know about sustainability,? Why is it so hard to get the message out about sustainable products? What’s the impact of globalisation on the flower industry? What is the biggest driver of the British flower market? The buzz from people who are trying to make a difference in the flower industry and more…
Please click on this link to listen: Cut flower podcast
24th March 2023
Building Collaboration in the UK Floriculture Industry – an exciting workshop was held at Coventry University bringing together a wide range of stakeholders from across the industry. The event showcased the findings from consultations to identify the key sustainability challenges at different points in cut-flower supply chains. Eight challenges were identified as priorities for action, including carbon footprints, living wages, modern slavery and plastics and packaging. There was widespread agreement that collaboration is needed to tackle these challenges. Watch this space for more details regarding proposals to build a collaborative structure to drive change…
To view the report please click here
9th January 2023
We are delighted to share news that our friends at the Sustainable Floristry Network (SFN) have launched their website, Jill and David are delighted to be advisors to the SFN and we look forward to the launch of the SFN Education Program which they have helped to develop. This is a very exciting initiative for the industry which promises to stimulate informed debate about sustainability and raise the bar across the industry.
‘A NEW STANDARD FOR FLORAL DESIGN
In theory, cut flowers are natural, biodegradable, and renewable. It’s hard to imagine they could be an issue. But just one humble bunch or arrangement can present problems for the environment — from excessive plastic waste, to a large carbon footprint, to, in some cases, inequity in the global supply chain.
The SFN solution is to create a new standard for floral design — one that supports new thinking in sustainability. This process involves reconnecting with nature along the way, especially if our goal is to protect it.’
To access the website please click here
To see SFN’s LinkedIn post announcing the launch please click here
1 December 2022
Research on sustainable practices within the cut flower sector, shorter supply chains and improved industry standards, is to be one of the featured projects at the launch of the brand new Sustainability Institute at the University of Surrey on 1 December. Our Co-Lead Jill Timms, now Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Surrey, is delighted that the ongoing collaboration between herself and David Bek at the University of Coventry is being recognised in terms of its potential for increasing knowledge of and solutions to the sustainability issues faced within agricultural supply chains and the flower industry more specifically.
16th November 2022
Sustainability featured heavily at the Trade Fairs held in the Netherlands last week, which happened to coincide with COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh. David Bek’s blog below reflects on the challenges facing the cut-flower industry as tools such as the Hortifootprint become available to companies enabling the, to calculate their environmental footprints. Transparency and collaboration are essential if the industry is to maximise opportunities to reduce its footprints.
16th May 2022
The South African floriculture sector is the third largest on the African continent after Kenya and Ethiopia. Interestingly, indigenous flowers and green foliage dominate – such as the iconic proteas and pincushions. Some of these stems are harvested from the wild which raises sustainability questions, although well managed harvesting leads to lower environmental footprints than greenhouse and plantation style production. Read more in David Bek’s article in Floraculture International’s May edition: FIJune2022ProteaPower
14th April 2022
David Bek participated in a webinar focusing upon the Turkish ornamental horticulture and floriculture sectors. The webinar was organised by Floraculture International and hosted by AIPH. The participants talked about the potential for growing the sectors in Turkey in the coming years. David outlined the challenges and opportunities posed by the sustainability agenda. The webinar can be accessed below, with David’s presentation starting at 56 minutes and 30 seconds into the event.
4th February 2022
People often ask us how they can buy ‘sustainable’ flowers. We always recommend thinking about a number of different factors as outlined in an article in The Conversation back in 2018. One of our recommendations is to buy flowers that have been grown on farms that have been certified. We recently held a seminar discussing the pros and cons of certifications. Below is a link to Caroline Downey’s presentation in the seminar. Caroline has much experience of working with certifications in the cut-flower sector, so her observations are well worth a listen.
View the video here: Certifications: tools of control or protecting workers’ rights?
17th December 2021 – Building Resilience in Flower Supply Chains
Our report detailing the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic upon cut-flower supply chains. How were growers and workers affected during the first year? How could other supply chain stakeholders respond to help and make supply chains more resilient? How did consumers respond in the UK? What needs to be done to improve supply chains in the future? This report is part of the Building Resilience in Flower Supply Chains Project funded via the Vulnerable Supply Chains Facility (VSCF), set up by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).
Read our report here: Building Resilience in Flower Supply Chains
Read the Policy Recommendations report here: Building Fairer Supply Chains
14th October 2021 – The Path to Sustainability in Ornamental Horticulture
Feature article in Floraculture International detailing Dr. David Bek’s keynote address at the recent AIPH Sustainability Conference. David discussed the impacts of climate change on horticulture, outlined measures being taken by the industry and called for concerted action across the industry to tackle the issues head-on.
Read the article here: Path to Sustainability 2021
2nd September 2021 – Climate Change is Here
Dr. David Bek writes for Floraculture International magazine about the impacts of climate change upon the horticultural industry in light of the recent IPCC report. He emphasises the need for rapid action to tackle the unfolding crisis.
Read the article here: Climate Change is here
10 September 2021 – Co-Lead Dr Jill Louise Timms appointed to University of Surrey
After six years at the University of Coventry, where the Sustainable Cut Flower Project was founded, Jill will be moving on to be Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Surrey, This is a move to her disciplinary home, however Jill’s research and work with the Project will very much continue and benefit from now being a multi-university one as she continues to share the Lead with Dr David Bek. Please note Jill’s new contact at: firstname.lastname@example.org,uk.
27th August 2021 – How green is your bouquet? The new eco-friendly mindset in floral design
This article in the Financial Times quotes from the Coventry University Sustainable Cut-flowers project in the context of debates about sustainable bouquet making.
Read the article here: How green is your bouquet? The new eco-friendly mindset in floral design Financial Times
6th July 2021 – Promoting more resilient cut-flower supply chains
Coventry University have worked in partnership with the Fairtrade Foundation, MM Flowers, Fairtrade Africa, the Co-op, Tesco, Marks & Spencer, Coventry University, Food Network for Ethical Trade (FNET), Partner Africa, and Women Working Worldwide on a project seeking to improve resilience in cut-flower supply chains in light of the experience of the COVID-19 pandemic. A report from the project focuses upon the policy interventions required to better support workers and improve the sector’s resilience.
Read the report here: Recommendations for building fairer and more sustainable flower supply chains
15 May 2021 – Finding the ethical flower with ABC Radio
Our project co-lead Dr Jill Timms speaks to journalist Jonathan Green, on ABC’s lifestyle programme Blueprint – Australia’s national radio broadcaster.
Listen to the podcast here, as they discuss their love of flowers, the challenges of global flower supply chains and what consumers should be asking before buying.
5th May 2021 – The Environmental Impact of Flowers? Not so Rosy
Journalist Ros Davidson investigates the environmental impacts of the cut-flower industry and draws upon research from the Coventry University research project as well as interviews with Dr. Jill Timms and Dr. David Bek.
Read the article here: The Environmental Impact of Flowers? Not so Rosy
4th February 2021
Adapting to climate change or being proactive in reducing its onset
Dr. David Bek discusses sustainability challenges in the horticultural sector in the latest issue of ‘Floraculture International’ magazine. He argues that the horticulture industry needs to cut emissions to reach the UN’s 1.5-degree pathway rather than work out how to live with it.
Read the full article (pdf) here ▸
28th January 2021
Covid-19: How Fairtrade and partners are helping flower workers flourish
Tomilola Ajay discusses how, with support from UK aid, the Fairtrade Foundation is working with partners to build hope in the flower sector and protect thousands of Kenyan flower workers and their families from the impacts of Covid-19.
Read the full article here ▸
Learn More About Our Project:
The Sustainable Cut-flowers Project is co-led by Dr David Bek and Dr Jill Timms at the Centre for Business in Society, Coventry University. You can watch a brief video to learn more about our project here.
Learn more about our research and who we are ▸
Read about our annual workshops ▸
Access further resources, website links and videos ▸
Download cut-flower trade data guides, a free sustainability guide and free posters ▸
View a selection of our published outputs from the project ▸
Green Gown Awards 2019
In November 2019, our project was ‘highly commended‘ in the category ‘Research with Impact (Institution)’ at the Green Gown Awards UK & Ireland in Glasgow. Read more about the commendation in the brief press release.