Pledge for a sustainable, nature-positive flower industry.
In the 21st century, the loss of connection to nature is having profound impact on humanity.
This disconnection is appearing in many ways – from impacting our mental health, to altering our ideas about what is natural.
However, florists are a unique bunch. Every working day they have an opportunity to experience a connection to nature that is inherently promising and joyful.
In busy, urban centers, florists are an accessible portal into the beauty of the natural world. Florists are the people we call when life calls for celebration, congratulation, appreciation or condolence, across all cultures and economic circumstances.
Flowers bring great joy through their beauty and the spark they radiate as living things. When we are surrounded by inanimate objects, flowers remind us of the transient cycles of life: birth, growth, reproduction and eventually, death.
The florist is not simply an exchange point for a commercial transaction. The florist has a great opportunity to genuinely connect people with the natural world by showcasing what nature can do, instead of what we can do to nature.
Yet somewhere along the way, we have lost track.
The UN defines sustainability as practices that meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
Floristry that “needs” floral foam, plastic packaging and props, and relies on exotic blooms flown halfway around the globe to meet the demands of a world used to getting whatever it wants, whenever it wants, is by definition unsustainable.
It is our responsibility as an industry to address this issue.
As we look towards a truly sustainable industry, our idea about what constitutes ‘good’ floral design must change. For the past 50 years, ‘good’ floral design has meant pleasing and predictable visual outcomes that adhere to prescribed notions of ‘acceptable’ floral design. But it many cases, these fixed designs are based on the use of manufactured sundries that have no place in sustainable floral design.
The Sustainable Floristry Network’s vision is for nature-positive floristry. Our goal is to see floristry as an artistic extension of nature – something that also makes a positive contribution to the planet and its people.
‘Good’ means something different when we are talking about sustainability and floral design. Obviously, arrangements must still be attractive. But sustainable floral design must also be carbon neutral, free from toxic chemicals, produce no waste, and all individuals associated with the production of the flowers and materials throughout the supply chain must experience safe and fair working conditions.
As florists, we want consumers to connect with nature through floristry and enjoy the great many benefits that this experience brings. But to have an authentic connection, that representation of nature must be genuine. As florists we must tell the truth about what is natural, and what is not.
We must actively seek better choices that support our objectives. The perfect technical solutions may not exist yet, but that does not mean we can’t shift our practices now to ‘better’ practices. And we must share our knowledge with our customers so they too can make better choices.
Our mission is to lead the global industry to an equitable and sustainable circular economy through education, certification, behaviour change and advocacy.
The SFN recognises that floristry and floral design engage a wide range of individuals who interact with the industry in many different roles. Each person will have a different experience in education, employment, skills and ideas about artistry. Nobody is perfect, we are all learning. No one individual has all the answers, but as a collective, we can learn from and teach each other as we move forward into true sustainability.
We are committed to challenging traditional design approaches that focus on the use of wasteful and polluting products in favour of designs that leave a minimal environmental footprint. The SFN looks to leading global organisations and the latest scientific and academic research to identify these processes.
The SFN acknowledges that identifying a truly sustainable path for floral design is complicated and untested. As an independent organisation, we will seek to guide industry in the most up-to-date and scientifically accurate manner possible.