Ethically Sourced Funeral Flowers
Whenever we talk about green funerals, we tend to pay attention to things like what kind of material is being used for the casket, the benefits of cremation over burial, and avoiding potentially harmful activities like embalming. Another popular option is to consider “in lieu of” donations instead of having funeral flowers sent. Because florists typically have to order their blooms from places like South America (especially in the off season), these displays can be a drain on the environment and come from farms where workers receive substandard wages.
At the same time, however, funeral flowers are a custom many of us do not want to do without. The comfort and beauty of a floral display brings peace to those in attendance and also infuses a touch of color and life into the service.
This is where ethically sourced funeral flowers come into play. By purchasing only flowers and bouquets that have passed the required ethical and environmental standards, you can enjoy a funeral in full bloom and feel good about it.
What are Fair Trade Flowers?
Ethically sourced flowers (also known as fair trade flowers) are grown according to international safety standards that put workers and the environment above low prices. Because so many flowers are grown in poorer countries where workplace standards are not monitored the same way they are in the United States, it is not uncommon to purchase bouquets that have been planted, raised, and picked by workers who do not make a living wage—and who are subjected to harmful chemicals used to fertilize the plants.
Although standards for fair trade goods vary, most funeral flowers that meet these specifications are grown in areas where:
- No child labor is used
- Workers receive 21 days of vacation annually
- Damaging agrochemicals are prohibited
- A percentage of profits go directly to a fund used to care for/oversee the workers
- Water treatment and composting protocols are regulated
- Local animal and plant life are not disrupted by the growing process
Because of these better conditions for workers, funeral flowers bought from fair trade providers do cost more than traditional flowers. For many families, however, the cost is well worth the benefit.
Where to Buy Ethically Sourced Funeral Flowers
Although fair trade goods are becoming much more common, it is not always easy to buy ethically sourced funeral flowers. You can shop for online florists who specialize in this type of product, or even look locally. Some of the more popular places to look include your local farmer’s markets or grocers like Trader Joe’s/Whole Foods. You can also visit Fair Trade USA, which lists approved florists who deliver on a national level.
A funeral does not quite seem complete without flowers to beautify the service. If you want to have a green funeral but still enjoy blooms you can be proud of, consider going fair trade and contributing to better conditions for people and plants worldwide.
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By Amy Johnson