New Eco-Label Targets US Consumers
by Lena James Fenton
While relatively commonplace in Europe, the average American cut flower buyer hasn't had the chance to buy flowers that are certified by programs that target environmental and social practices. Officially launched in June in the U.S., VeriFlora is a new eco-label for flowers aimed at wooing social and health-minded consumers.
Adherence to VeriFlora standards (including water and ecological conservation, social responsibility and product quality, among others) will be audited by NSF International, a non-governmental certifying body that also audits food and air quality standards. VeriFlora requires a minimal level of organic practices with a documented commitment and timeline for each grower to bring their farms to fully organic systems. According to Michael Keyes, senior auditor of VeriFlora, since the label was initiated nearly two years ago they've certified growers producing more than 75 million stems annually. Certified crops include delphinium, hydrangea, lilies, freesia and roses.
Gerald Prolman, founder and CEO of Organic Bouquet, an online retailer and wholesale supplier for organic flowers (www.organicbouquet.com), has been the driving force behind VeriFlora. His goal has been to create a "unified standard of sustainability for the cut flower sector. He believes the demand for sustainable production is on the rise: "In the United States, there are 63 million educated and affluent consumers who spend $230 billion annually on responsible products. This demand will create a bridge that will increase organic flowers production."
While it's the first of its kind in the U.S. market, VeriFlora joins the Dutch MPS system and Germany's Flower Label Program as another option for the world's cut flower growers seeking environmental and social certification