The Co-op Group has become the first retailer to only use 100% Fairtrade roses in all of its flower bouquets, when sourced from Africa.
The retailer is the first to sign up to the new international Fairtrade Sourcing Ingredients model for flowers, which allows businesses to commit to sourcing one or more Fairtrade commodities for use as ingredients in finished products and replicates the Co-op’s 2017 commitment on Fairtrade cocoa sourcing.
Now any roses from Africa, used in either single or mixed bouquets, will be Fairtrade – meaning 35 million Fairtrade roses will be sourced for the Co-op from Africa each year.
To mark the new sourcing initiative, the Group has pledged to make a donation of £30k, generated by the overall sales of Fairtrade roses in February and March 2018, to the community hospital in Naivisha, Kenya, which lies north west of Nairobi. The donation will help struggling graduate nurses to find employment and offer training around increased patient care.
It will also will deliver a much needed improvement in the maternity service currently available to flower growing communities. Around Naivasha, the nurse to patient ratio is as high as 60:1 – and one nurse can care for 40 newborn babies at one time.
“We are proud to be able to bring to market the first roses under the new Fairtrade Sourcing Programme,” said Brad Hill, Fairtrade strategy manager at the Co-op. “Fairtrade guarantees growers in developing countries a better life and a brighter future and we will continually look for ways and areas that we can develop to help make positive impact and life changes for farmers in developing countries.
“We, our customers and our members, continue to recognise the strength and value to producers of the Fairtrade Mark and we will be increasing our sourcing of the other core Fairtrade commodities to drive further Fairtrade Premium to producer communities.”
Eliza Ward, senior partnership manager at The Fairtrade Foundation, added: “It is fantastic to see Co-op become the first retailer to make all their African sourced roses 100% Fairtrade. The Fairtrade premium paid by Co-op is allowing growers in Kenya to invest in their community including building medical facilities and classrooms.
“With Fairtrade Fortnight starting on February 26 we would encourage everyone, the next time they want to treat a loved one to some beautiful blooms, to consider making 2018 the year they commit to buying Fairtrade.”