Did you know?
Most of the flowers we buy for Valentine’s day in the US and in Europe have a huge carbon footprint.
Because it is winter, it is very difficult to find local produced flowers. And because the demand on Valentine’s day is huge, flowers have to be imported in large cargo planes from Colombia or Ecuador to the US, and from Kenya or Ethiopia to Europe.
American shoppers are expected to spend nearly $2 billion on flowers — most of which will be roses — in Valentine’s Day. Colombia alone shipped more than 4 billion flowers to the US last year, according to the Washington Post.
According to the Post, 30 cargo jets fly from Colombia to Miami every day in the three weeks leading up to the big day and a similar amount fly out from Ecuador, amounting to more than 15,000 tons of flowers delivered in less than a month.
In Europe, flowers arrive by flights mainly from Kenya to the Netherlands, the biggest hub for flowers in Europe. Flowers are sold at auction to wholesalers who will in turn sell them to independent florists, and retail chains.
Then, flowers get fashioned into bouquets before being loaded onto refrigerated delivery trucks. The flowers need to be kept cold every step of the way, otherwise they’ll wilt.
The environmental and carbon footprint of this whole process is huge. Transportation is one of the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, and is a major contributor to climate change and global warming.
What can we do about it? When possible, try to buy locally and sustainable produced flowers. It is likely to be difficult in winter, so swipe right to see our eco gift idea for Valentine’s
Why not sponsor a tree in the name of your loved one? This can be a very special gift, and a great way to help reforestation! There are a lot of different organisations out there that offer this service. In general, they will give you a certificate for the tree that you contributed to plant. Easy!