Fair Flowers Fair Plants is a label for sustainable flowers and plants. The flowers and plants that produced and sold with the label meet the social and environmental requirements of the Fair Flowers Fair Plants standard.
The label was established in 2006 by representatives of wholesales, human rights and environmental organizations, growers and trade unions. The social and environmental standards are set out in the International Code of Conduct drawn up by civil society organisations.
The past few years have shown that it was very difficult to create a large enough market for the label. For the florists there was no sufficiently wide range of Fair Flowers Fair Plants products and too large a number of growers did not participate because of low demand.
Unfortunately, Fair Flowers Fair Plants will stop at the end of 2017. Until then, all growers who meet the appropriate certification requirements and the traders and shops that comply with the general conditions, can sell flowers and plants with the Fair Flowers Fair Plants label.
The Fair Flowers Fair Plants standards are based on the International Code of Conduct. These have been drawn up by the International Flower Coordination (IFC); a number of trade unions and human rights and environmental organisations.
This code of conduct covers the following 10 points:
- Freedom of association and collective bargaining
- Equality of treatment
- Living wages
- Working Hours
- Health and Safety
- Pesticides and Chemicals
- Security of employment
- Protection of the environment
- Child labour is not used
- No forced labour
The issues covered in the environmental field are in particular the limited use of fertilizers, energy, plant protection products and water and waste separation.
Certificates and Audits
When the label was established in 2006, it was decided not to create a new certification scheme or extra audits. This way bureaucracy and costs were reduced, existing certification schemes were upgraded and the future adaptation to technological and social developments was guaranteed.
On the basis of the International Code of Conduct and comprehensive checklists a number of existing certification schemes were accurately benchmarked by experts of relevant civil society organisations. Growers who have (a combination of) the following certificates can sell their flowers and plants with the Fair Flowers Fair Plants label:
The verification of compliance with the certification requirements is done during audits, if necessary supplemented by interim registrations. The audits are performed by organizations accredited to this end, using an audit protocol. Observers from trade unions and human rights and environmental organisations are usually present during these audits.
The participants of Fair Flowers Fair Plants must conform to the general rules:
The Foundation Fair Flowers Fair Plants (FFP) is governed by representatives of four stakeholders groups: wholesalers, human rights and environmental organizations, growers and trade unions. Each of these groups has two representatives; one from Europe and one from the rest of the world. All representatives have the same vote and consensus is always achieved without having to vote.
The objectives of the Foundation are in the statutes: ‘… to stimulate the production of, the trade in and the sale of flowers and plants sustainably produced (from an environmental and social perspective), by giving effect to the Cooperation Agreement for an International Flower Label… ‘. The realization of the objective is carried out on a non-profit basis.
The Foundation, over the years, has carried out the following activities:
- Developing the FFP concept and relevant conditions
- Management of the labels and certificates
- Organisation of consultative structures to create maximum support
- Organisation of information, supply and control of labels and the promotion of the concept
- Taking other initiatives in that field by synchronizing benchmarking systems with the concept
- Implementation of the concept by accredited certification organisations
Background and Evolution
The label and the Foundation Fair Flowers Fair Plants (FFP) was established in 2006 after a period of preparations by international representatives of wholesale (Union Fleurs and affiliated national organisations), human rights and environmental organisations and trade unions and production (in particular through FloraHolland and Kenya Flower Council).
The substantive basis of the label is formed by the International Code of Conduct, designed to improve, in particular: (1) the labour, social, health and safety standards, (2) minimizing the use of pesticides and chemicals and plant protection products in the flower sector.
The Fair Flowers Fair Plants label is designed for both cut flowers and plants from all production areas in the world; ‘North and South’.
Since the label must be visible in the entire chain from grower to consumer, the label has to be used by growers, traders and shops on the products, shop floors, website, etc. The participants pay a fee for this. In the past 5 years up to more than 100 growers, more than 100 wholesalers and 1000-1500 florists were connected.
During the first five years the Dutch and other governments, the European Community and the flower and plant sector (via the Horticultural Board) invested in the label and the organization.
One of the results of the International Code of Conduct and the Fair Flowers Fair Plants label is that certification schemes were specifically developed or adapted and social and environmental conditions were more strictly controlled than before invoice.
In 2012 the Foundation FFP decided that additional efforts should be done to achieve further growth of the label. Therefore the pre-competitive activities (benchmarking) and competitive activities (marketing of the label) were seperated.
With the chairman of Union Fleurs and VGB and superbly supported by the Dutch Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH), the Foundation FFP set the first steps for the establishment of the Floricuture Sustainability Initiative (FSI). One of the activities of FSI is the development of equivalency tools to increase transparency in the world of certification schemes in the flower sector and make comparisons between these schemes. The other area of FSI is to further develop sustainability in the floriculture sector with the ambition to obtain 90% sustainable flowers and plants by 2020.
For the marketing of the label the foundation has agreed with the MPS organization in 2012 that they would perform all communication, promotional and administrative activities around the label and the participants. At the start of 2017, MPS has indicated to stop these activities.
In May 2017, the Board of the FFP foundation, after having spoken to participants and their representing organisations, has decided to stop Fair Flowers Fair Plants label and related activities after 2017. The Foundation will be dissolved at the end of 2017.