The Footprint of Flowers: Carbon and Social

UK minister if International Development Hilary Benn is asking consumers to buy flowers flown in from Kenya, rather than European hothouse flowers.

"People want to buy ethically and do their bit for climate change, but often don't realise that they can support developing countries and reduce carbon emissions. Recent research shows that flowers flown from Africa can use less energy overall than those produced in Europe because they're not grown in heated greenhouses. So, this Valentine's day, you can be a romantic, reduce your environmental impact and help make poverty history. This is about social justice and making it easier, not harder, for African people to make a decent living."

Mr Benn said: "Climate change is hugely important to the future of developed and developing countries but if we boycott goods flown from Africa we deny the poor the chance to grow; their chance to educate their children and stay healthy."
Florists disagree: "As a member of the government perhaps he also should be looking to support the UK's own cut flower production industry, which currently supplies about 10% of our domestic cut flower needs, but just 10 years ago was supplying over 20%, and 20 years ago was supplying 45% of the UK's cut flower requirements."

This is a challenge we will face over so many things in the coming years; do we buy Bangladeshi rice and support farmers there, or California rice which uses huge amounts of water and energy to grow? Are we putting South American farmers out of business when we shop local? Are the 70,000 Kenyan flower workers being helped by this or hurt? (this website calls them "Flowers of Evil") ::BBC

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