Sainsbury said this week that all of its rose bouquets would come from Fairtrade sources by the spring.
The retailer is currently buying 75% of its rose bouquets from Fairtrade suppliers, but will switch completely in the coming weeks.
The company said it was now the UK’s biggest retailer of Fairtrade roses, as well as the UK’s biggest rose retailer. Its sales of roses have reached more than 50 million stems a year, up 50% on 2003.
Paul Harris, Sainsbury’s Fairtrade rose buyer, said: “This initiative is bound to have a major impact on the entire UK trade, since it shows what can be achieved by a retailer with a commitment to social responsibility.
“We have seen a great rise in the popularity of roses. Recently, sales are up of Amani and Keroi variety roses, which are yellow, closely followed by Aqua and Sweet Unique varieties, which are pink.”
Harris said Sainsbury’s Kenyan rose growers employed more than 10,000 people, with 30,000 others dependent upon their earnings. David Meller, Sainsbury’s socially responsible sourcing manager, said: “This step will improve the lives of thousands of people in Kenya.”