Flower industry representatives are poised to launch a new, consumer-facing international fair trade label.
The Fair Flowers and Plants mark is being championed by Union Fleurs, the international flower trade organisation, and is backed by a range of trade unions and non-governmental bodies across Europe.
Union Fleurs hopes the new label will become an umbrella for all fair trade inspection, and will put a stop to duplication of effort and confusion caused by the plethora of schemes for ethically sourced flowers.
Secretary general Rolf Persson said he knew of one grower in Ecuador supplying several countries, including the UK, who was forced to undergo and pay for nine separate inspections every year.
“Producers are fed up with all
these different schemes for different markets,” he said.
The label’s principles are founded on the International Code of Conduct for Cut Flowers and the Milieu Programma Sierteelt for sustainable flower production.
All bodies operating existing fair trade-related schemes for the flowers and plants sector will be invited to join the Fair Flowers and Plants mark.
As well as covering social conditions in the developing world, the scheme will also cover those in the European Union, said Persson. “We think in Europe that we are very well developed and that we have legal systems that take care of things. But that is not always the case.”
Union Fleurs has submitted a proposal to Brussels in a bid to gain funding of E1m.
It will find out the EU’s verdict on May 25. The cost of start-up and the first three years’ operation for the mark is estimated to be E3.5m.
The mark is set to appear in Germany, Scandinavia and Austria next year.
If discussions progress well with UK multiples, the mark could appear here by 2008.
Richard Clarke