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Fall in Love With Fairtrade Roses This February
At SFU, Canada’s first Fairtrade Gold designated campus, we carry Fairtrade chocolate, sugar, spices, coffee and cotton but as Valentine’s Day approaches, many people will be gifting flowers, especially roses to their special someone to show their love on this romantic day. During Valentine’s day, Fairtrade roses are available in an effort to promote the ethical production of the flowers thanks to the Fairtrade movement and support the growers and workers that provide them around the world.
In Canada alone, the flower industry is worth over $158 million, with most of those sales coming from non-Fairtrade certified companies. When a company becomes Fairtrade-certified, it involves a designation process that ensures fair wages as well as safer employment for producers and workers. The goal of Fairtrade is to promote sustainability and empower farmers which helps to build stronger communities.
Without Fairtrade certification, the roses you buy could be exposing underpaid workers to harmful pesticides which can result in long-term health conditions and increased costs.
"Flower farmers in Ecuador, Kenya and Tanzania are exposed to harmful pesticides and chemicals that are banned in Canada,” says SFU Fairtrade Ambassador, Daphne Chan. “At SFU and in our daily lives, it is vital for us to purchase products that are prioritizing the health of farmers and thanks to Fairtrade, farmers will be able to receive support and work in safer environments."
In addition to the negative health impacts on the workers, a 2018 study found that cut roses from Fairtrade-certified farms in Kenya generate 5.5 times fewer greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and 6.5 times lower energy demands compared to non-Fairtrade roses grown in the Netherlands. Not only does choosing Fairtrade roses support workers, but it also supports environmental sustainability for the future.
When you’re feeling rosy this February, remember that Fairtrade roses are the best way to show love not only to friends and loved ones but to flower farmers and the environment.
You can find fairtrade roses for sale this February 14th during Spirit Day festivities from 12 p.m. – 3 p.m. in Convocation Mall thanks to SFU Fairtrade ambassadors.
This story is part of a series highlighting the VPFA portfolio's work towards SFU's 2022-2025 Strategic Sustainability and Climate Action Plan. For more information on VPFA sustainability work, please visit sfu.ca/VPFA. For more information on SFU's goals and actions within the sustainability and climate action plan, please visit sfu.ca/sustainability.