The Fairtrade Standard for Flowers and Plants was introduced just over 10 years ago. Since then Fairtrade flowers have grown to become one of the top seven Fairtrade products, with more than 50,000 workers employed on Fairtrade certified flower farms in 2012.
However, Fairtrade plant sales have been significantly lower, with currently only three certified producer organizations. One reason for this is that the standard currently only allows for plants to be imported at a “finished stage”, which is expensive due to high transport costs. The market opportunities for plants lie in trading young plants and young plant material, which are cheaper to transport.
Large amounts of labour are involved not only in the production of finished pot plants, but also in the production of young plant material. This labour is currently not certifiable and therefore workers involved cannot have the opportunity of benefitting from Fairtrade. National Fairtrade organizations (NFOs) have received specific requests from industry to allow for young plant material to be traded as Fairtrade certified, and in particular from retail for specific products such as Fairtrade poinsettia which are made out of young plants grown in developing countries. Global Product Management (GPM) for Flowers and Plants have been researching the feasibility and implications of such potential changes, both at producer and market level.
The proposals presented in this consultation paper aim to adapt the standard to the market realities and harness a growth opportunity so that increased sales in Fairtrade plants can impact more workers’ lives, while at the same time addressing the identified risks.
To broaden the scope of the Flowers and Plants Standard to include young plants and young plant material for plants. This would open up the scope to include different types of production systems, which would enable more market uptake, thereby increasing the reach of impact to more workers.