As a low-waste florist, we ask you to think before grabbing a bunch of dyed chrysanthemums for Mum in 2023.
Flowers and their symbolism conjure up feelings of nostalgia, memory, and love. Mother’s Day is the biggest day of the year for giving flowers. Yet the question of traceability is far from our minds when ordering or buying flowers. You’d be forgiven for thinking the flowers we send to our loved ones via online or bricks and mortar florists are grown in lovely flower fields within a reasonable distance where we live. Granted, some are, but it’s almost impossible to tell for sure without Country of Origin Labelling (CoOL). In 2022 there were almost $104M flowers imported into Australia representing approximately a third of flower sales.
It is a fact that localisation is key to reducing climate damage. When it comes to buying flowers, choosing seasonal, Australian grown flowers such as chrysanthemum, roses, tulips, gerberas, snapdragon, and cymbidium orchids immediately reduces environmental impact, creates less carbon emissions, uses less chemicals and has less biosecurity risks compared to their imported counterparts. However, a lack of transparency in the cut flower industry means it is all too easy to overlook the environmental impact of the next bouquet of flowers you send to a loved one, or worse, to your environmentally conscious Mum.
With the lack of awareness and regulation around the country of origin of flowers, flower sellers in Australia do not have to disclose where flowers are grown. The Flower Industry Australia (FIA), the national representative body for Australian flower growers and florists, are calling for the introduction of Country of Origin Labelling (CoOL) for flowers–similar to food labelling.
Tracing flowers from their source would provide the transparency and autonomy that modern consumers seek, increase opportunity for the next generation of florists who are seeking meaningful and purposeful business opportunities and employment, increase visibility and growth for Australian flower growers, and reduce environmental impact and greenwashing in the cut flower industry.
A new wave of florists are emerging globally who are part of the ‘slow flower movement’, practising low-waste techniques, switching to compostable packaging, avoiding toxic floral foam in their designs, and choosing locally grown over imports. There is also a rise in small-scale regenerative flower farms popping up around Australia.
So if you are a conscious consumer and are actively trying to reduce your carbon footprint, tell your florist your preference for Australian grown flowers when ordering this Mother’s Day.