29 september 2007
Dutch auction clock announces Fair Flowers
The FFP label will improve unsatisfactory labour and environmental conditions in African countries, says René Kouwenhoven of Dutch trade union FNV Bondgenoten, which is closely involved in the Flower campaign of Dutch NGOs. "It is our aim that eventually distributors will only buy flowers from bona fide nurseries. The label will put pressure on growers."
Many Dutch flower and plant growers transferred at least part of their growing facilities to African countries suchas Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda some time ago. Weather conditions are better and wages are low. But in many cases, labour conditions are poor and environmental regulations are being violated.
The Netherlands occupies a pivotal position in the global flower market with 80 to 90 percent of all flowers sold world wide passing through two giant Dutch auctions. Kouwenhoven: "Distributors can see on the auction clock which flowers carry the FFP label. As fair trade flowers cost no more than non-labelled flowers, we hope that Dutch traders will embrace the initiative. In the UK, Germany, France and Sweden FFP has already proved a success."
The consumer label for sustainably produced flowers and plants was introduced in 2006. It sets a common standard for the environmental and social conditions in floricultural production. In this way producers can show that they meet the requirements of the International Code of Conduct, based on the conventions of the International Labour Organization, and their production is as environmentally friendly as possible.
Producers are inspected by independent, accredited inspectors in company with observers from local trade unions and NGOs. Kouwenhoven: "They are our feelers. They know what is happening on the ground." The FFP-label also has a tracing system which makes it possible to follow floricultural products from the producers to the shops. Fair Flower Fair Plants is an independent foundation managed by producers, trade, trade unions and NGOs with equal 25 per cent voting rights.
P+ webtip: Fair Flowers Fair Plants