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

Project secures DFID funding to support workers in developing countries hit by COVID-19

Congratulations to Jill and David in securing the latest DFID funding for the project. The co-leaders won key funding from the UK Government’s Department for International Development (DFID), for the purpose of helping supply chain producers struggling within the current pandemic. With help from the funding, the project will allow rapid response to vulnerable workers in urgent need as a consequence of COVID-19. Alongside as well projecting a longer-term resilience to support those in all areas of the cut-flower supply chain.

“The COVID-19 crisis has tested many aspects of supply chains’ resilience and without doubt resulted in many negative impacts upon workers and producers in the cut-flower industry. However, through this project we have the opportunity to engage in cutting edge research which can lead to improvements in the way that supply chains operate in the future, increasing resilience, improving sustainability and improving conditions for workers.”
Dr David Bek

“We are delighted to be contributing the academic input to this very important DFID project, and to be partnering with the Fairtrade Foundation, MM Flowers and Women Working Worldwide, as well as the sustainability leads at Tesco, the Co-op and Marks and Spencer. Together we will be working to increase supply chain resilience and to provide urgent and long-term benefits to flower workers, from PPE and food gardens to reliable procurement policies and raised consumer awareness.

This is a natural progression of the work we have been doing for the past five year on our Sustainable Cut Flowers Project, working with industry stakeholders on innovative approaches to improve environmental and social standards in the supply of the flowers we buy.”
Jill Timms

We invite you to read further about the latest secured funding in an article by Coventry University.

Farming the Future Webinar – Blooming Opportunities: Getting into the Cut-Flower Market

One of the project’s co-leads, Jill Timms, was recently invited to present at the Farming the Future webinar held by the Soil Association and the Organic Growing Alliance on the 12th of August 2020. The exciting and thought-provoking event was introduced by Ben Raskin, the Head of Horticulture at Soil Association and on the board of the Organic Growing Alliance, where the following experts in the flower industry including Jill participated. These were: Fiona Haser Bizony at Electric Daisy Flower Farm and Jo Wright at Organic Blooms.

Jill discussed the Sustainable Cut-Flowers research project, in particular highlighting the global challenges and local chances. Such key issues and barriers included: environmental footprint, water footprint, carbon footprint, labour and social issues and floristry practice. In turn, there is a local opportunity of delivering an alternative to such barriers – a move towards British, locally grown and organic flowers. Alongside an example of a flower farm with fantastic examples of environmental and biological innovation, Red Land Roses. Concluding, with an insight into the issues with the flower certifications.

“The Soil Association is a membership charity that campaigns for healthy and humane sustainable farming and land use… and we certify organic businesses. The Organic Growers Alliance is a network of growers and horticulturists and farmers. It’s run by growers for growers!”
Ben Raskin

Webinar Purpose
The webinar was prompted by COVID which has impacted flower growers immensely and builds upon the Organic Flower Conference that Organic Growers Alliance held in 2019. The aim was to create discussions around new ideas and opportunities in relation to how the industry has been impacted by COVID. The webinar focus was on the flower market and market opportunities.

We look forward to future follow-up webinars…

Webinar – Blooming Opportunities: Getting into the Cut Flower Market

Green Gown Awards 2019 – Recognition of the Project’s Research


Following the Sustainable Cut-Flowers Research Project’s award nomination for the Green Gown Awards in the category ‘Research with Impact‘. The project was recognised as highly commended in the ‘Research with Impact’ category at the ceremony on Tuesday 26th November 2019. The research project team, comprising of Dr David Bek, Dr Jill Timms along with Dr Nora Lanari (then PhD candidate), are thrilled at obtaining the award. The Centre for Business in Society, the research centre in which the project is based, have shown their delight for the fantastic research that has acknowledged.

Below are Jill and David’s reflections on the prestigious award and their excitement for recieving the honour at the Green Gown Awards.

“Receiving an accolade from the prestigious Green Gown Awards is the icing on the cake for this project and our stakeholders.”
Dr Jill Timms

“This commendation demonstrates how the sustainability dial is starting to shift in the cut-flower market with benefits being created for small UK producers, as well as within global-scale production networks such as Fairtrade.”
Dr David Bek

A big thank you again to The Green Gown Awards for being nominated, and well done to the Research Team!

Cut-flower Trade Data Now Live!


We have done the hard work for you and looked into trade flows of cut-flowers across the globe.

We’ve analysed global trade flows of cut-flower imports and exports. Sticking with our research focus and interest, some of these briefs also focus on specific regions. Feel free to have a look here ▸

Source: HS92 Data Set, based on the BACI International Trade Database, accessed via The Observatory of Economic Complexity by Alexander Simoes (