Planning on buying flowers for Valentines Day? Chances are, the flowers you're buying got somebody hurt - and not from the prickles on the stems.
Like so much of what we buy, most of the flowers sold in the US originate in the developing world. And like so much that originates in the developing world, the workers who produce the flowers frequently do so under substandard conditions. How would you like to be working in a greenhouse while it's being fumigated, for instance? It happens. Or how about keeping your back bent for over 12 hours, for less than a dollar a day? It happens. And then there's always the strong possibility of being raped on the way to work. That happens, too.
Sort of sours the Valentines Day surprise, doesn't it?
But there's something you can do to reduce the risk of suffering every time you order flowers. There are distributors - such as One World Flowers - that specialize in Fair Trade Certified flowers. When you use a company like this, you are not only ensuring that the people who grew your flowers are receiving a decent income in reasonably safe working conditions, but you are also telling florists - and their distributors - that you want them to do business differently.
And you really are supporting a different business model. In order for a business to qualify as Fair Trade Certified, they need to fulfill a 200-point social, economic and enironmental checklist, as explained here by TransFair USA President and CEO, Paul Rice: