U.S. Moms Enjoy Beautiful Flowers, Female Flower Workers Enjoy Better Wages and Working Conditions
The Earth Times
This Mother's Day, Fair Trade Certified(TM) flowers will not only bring joy to U.S. moms, but will also provide benefits for pregnant women and working mothers on flower farms in developing countries.
TransFair USA, the only independent, third-party certifier of Fair Trade Certified products in the United States, offers Fair Trade Certified flowers to the U.S. market. The flowers are available to consumers in time for Mother's Day.
Newly available this year, Fair Trade Certified flowers -- available at 1800flowers.com, samsclub.com, organicbouquet.com, and Whole Foods Markets (under the Whole Trade Guarantee label) -- show that sometimes gift items can benefit the producer as well as the recipient.
While many people believe cut roses and flowers are grown locally, most commercially available flowers are grown in the developing world. Adding a Fair Trade Certified label to these flowers guarantees that women working on Fair Trade Certified flowers receive health care, paid vacation, maternity and sick leave; education, child care and fair wages; and protective gear and training on safe handling of agrochemicals. Benefits such as these, that many American mothers take for granted, are a first for many female flower workers in Ecuador, Columbia & Kenya. Workers in the cut flower industry in these countries are predominantly women.
Growers also receive a premium of approximately 10 percent on each sale to invest in community and business development projects.
"We are thrilled to offer Fair Trade Certified flowers as a response to growing consumer demand for socially and environmentally responsible products," said TransFair USA President and CEO Paul Rice. "Sourcing Fair Trade Certified flowers means direct access to the high-quality flowers in the world, increased flower sales, a better environment and a better way of life for thousands of flower workers around the world."
While each retailer will set its own price for the flowers, Fair Trade Certified flowers are expected to be priced competitively with other flowers. To date, more than 30 of the highest quality flower growers in Ecuador, Colombia and Africa are Fair Trade Certified, representing over one billion stems of production.
Fair Trade Certified flowers were first introduced in Europe in 2001. Since then, sales have grown 30 percent every year. The retail value of all Fair Trade Certified products in the U.S., including coffee, tea, cocoa, sugar, honey, vanilla, rice and fruit, reached more than $1 billion last year, and is projected to reach $2.25 billion by 2012.
Understanding the Fair Trade Movement
The Fair Trade Certified label is a simple way for consumers to know that their products were produced under socially, environmentally and economically sustainable conditions. A recently released study by the Hartman Group found that 73 percent of U.S. consumers believe their purchases have significant impact on society, and most are willing to pay a 10 percent premium for sustainable products.
Fair Trade Certified ensures that farms comply with rigorous environmental standards governing pesticide use, water conservation, wastewater treatment, ecosystem protection, and more. An extensive list of agrochemicals is completely prohibited and other agrochemicals are required to be phased out over time. Additionally, Fair Trade Certified flower farms must transition to an integrated pest management system and make progress toward organic certification.
About TransFair USA
TransFair USA, a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization, is one of 21 members of Fairtrade Labeling Organizations International (FLO), and the only independent, third-party certifier of Fair Trade products in the United States. TransFair USA audits transactions between U.S. companies offering Fair Trade Certified products and the international suppliers from whom they source, in order to guarantee that the farmers and workers behind Fair Trade Certified goods were paid fair, above-market prices and wages. FLO annually inspects producer organizations to ensure that strict socioeconomic development criteria are met using increased Fair Trade revenue, in addition to sustainable farm management, environmental stewardship and democratic decision making.