Buy Fairtrade bouquets this Mothering Sunday and ‘Take a Step for Fairtrade’ to help mothers in developing countries
Mothers up and down the country will receive up to seven million stems of Fairtrade flowers from their loved ones this Mothering Sunday, the Fairtrade Foundation can reveal.
Mothering Sunday is a celebration honouring all mothers and is a day to give thanks for all the things they have done over the years. And with Fairtrade bouquets available from Asda, Interflora, J&E Page, John Lewis, Marks & Spencer, Morrisons, Next, Ocado, Postal Bouquets, Sainsbury’s, Somerfield, Tesco, The Co-operative, Waitrose and Whole Foods Market, there’s plenty to choose from.
New for Mothering Sunday 2012, treat your mum to a beautiful Mother’s Day Fairtrade Pink Rose Bouquet from Marks & Spencer or their Fairtrade Rose and Fresia Gift Bag. And Interflora is selling a vibrant Fairtrade Mini Sunflower Hand Tied Bouquet which will add a cheerful note of colour to any room.
Estimated UK retail sales of Fairtrade flowers in 2011 reached £26 million, or 75 million stems. It’s expected that sales of Fairtrade flowers for Mothering Sunday alone will provide £100,000 in additional Fairtrade Premiums for workers on flower farms to invest in community projects.
Flower farms have long been a key employer in Kenya, providing jobs in areas where there are few alternatives and ensuring a valuable source of export revenue for the country. With more than half of Kenya’s population of 37 million living in poverty, the cut flower industry plays an important role in providing employment and alleviating poverty. Around 55,000, many of them women and mothers themselves, are directly employed in the industry, while a further 2 million people, indirectly depend on jobs in the flower industry.
Fairtrade certification provides an independent verification that workers on these large-scale flower farms have decent wages and working conditions in line with the core International Labour Organization (ILO) Conventions. This includes the right to join a trade union, the right to negotiate collectively with the employer on terms and conditions of employment, freedom from discrimination, a safe and healthy working environment and no child labour.
As with conventional sales, the farms negotiate a price with the exporters who buy their flowers for the Fairtrade market. This price includes an additional payment called the Fairtrade Premium, set at 10% of the negotiated price. This premium money is reserved specifically for investment in projects which benefit the workers and their wider communities. Decisions about how the premium is used are made by a Joint Body of elected workers and management representatives, in consultation with the workforce.
Dan Morey, Business Development Manager for flowers at the Fairtrade Foundation said:
‘If you haven’t had time yet to buy your gift, why not treat your mother to some Fairtrade flowers or Fairtrade chocolate for Mother’s Day? Throughout the year we want everyone to take as many ‘steps’ for Fairtrade as possible and buying a thoughtful and considered present is the perfect way to take your step for the women who grow your flowers. We have over a million steps still to take this year to reach our target of 1.5 million. So, please make your Mothering Sunday gift a memorable one. And, don’t forget to register your step online at step.fairtrade.org.uk.’
And it’s not just the flower producers who benefit when you buy a Fairtrade bouquet. Tropiflora in Sri Lanka, which employs about 100 workers, now exports mini pot plants and Fairtrade foliage – the green leaves that give the backing to bunches of flowers. Currently just 16 percent of their sales are on Fairtrade terms so they are justly proud of their achievements this year. In particular, they have invested much of their Premium in a revolving loan fund for workers so that the same pot of money can be used in multiple schemes. Projects have included providing small loans for individuals, running English classes, buying books for children, setting up sports teams and funding hospital equipment.
For more information, visit www.fairtrade.org.uk/flowers