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Buds of Change - a Year in Review

It's hard to believe it's now been over a year since we launched Interflora's sustainability programme, Buds of Change.


So much has happened in the past 12 months; we've been working really hard towards the ambitious targets we set ourselves in November 2022. We have worked with our florist partners sharing sustainability tips, completing surveys and meeting with them as part of our florist forum; we couldn't have done it without their help.


We wanted to highlight some of the key achievements from our Buds of Change programme this year.


We were all keen and fresh in the New Year, ready and raring to get going with our 12 Buds of Change projects. The plan for this year was to achieve some smaller wins and to start progressing some bigger ideas that may take months or even years to come to fruition - becoming a more sustainable industry isn't a quick fix!




We attended the Packaging Innovations show in Birmingham to seek out alternatives to single-use plastics and ways of reducing and improving our packaging portfolio. We met many new suppliers and we're continuing to converse with them to progress some of the concepts and products we saw.




We took part in the first UK Sustainable Flower Initiative meeting hosted by IDH and Coventry University. Bringing together floral retailers, wholesalers, growers, and other associated parties in a bid to improve sustainability together as a group, the key focus activities are climate change and carbon footprint, packaging, and labour abuse.




We worked with an organisation called KnowCarbon for the second year running to estimate the carbon footprint of a typical Interflora bouquet. We used data collected from a survey many of our florist partners completed with details about their typical bouquet stem counts and contents, and information about the vehicles used for delivery.



We met some of our Online Marketplace suppliers in the Netherlands to understand their sustainability plans, and how they fit with the work we're doing.



We took part in The Retail Hive's RetailFest which gave us the first real opportunity to speak about the Buds of Change programme externally with other retailers.


June was a busy month as we also launched our first Florist Sustainability Forum with a group of ten florists representing all areas and types of businesses around the UK. We held our first workshop in June, and another in September, focusing on green waste management, diversity and inclusivity, and sustainable supply chains.



A quieter month for the programme... everyone must have been on holiday! We were still busy bees in the background continuing our work on project meetings and progressing the programme behind the scenes.



We shared some of the sustainability principles we've been trying to apply to our own business, as well as some key resources to help our florist partners with their own journey.



We launched the inaugural Most Sustainable Floristry Innovation Award at the Interflora World Cup, showcasing five innovations in sustainability across products, services and charity. Although each finalist was a worthy winner, the top spot went to Phoam Labs' non-toxic, plastic-free alternative to floral foam.



We dropped bouquets around our local community on Global Anti-Slavery Day to raise awareness about Modern Slavery and we're thrilled that some of our florist partners got involved in their own communities too. We also took part in Sleaford's Riverlight Festival, opening Head Office to local residents and recreating what we did at the World Cup.



We aligned our Buds of Change projects with a wider Fleurop / Interflora / FTD global sustainability plan. This group incorporates 24 Interflora units and countries from across the world. Together we can go further, faster!



This month was all about focusing on the upcoming peaks with a sustainable eye on what we're doing across all areas of the business. We've also made sure we're ready to hit the ground sprinting next year. Bring on 2024!




 

Zara Taylor is the Head of Wholesale & Supply at Interflora.

She has worked in flowers since 2010, first at Flamingo Horticulture, then at Interflora. Zara recently completed Cambridge University’s CISL course on Sustainable Business Management, and has a real personal passion for living a positive, minimal impact lifestyle.

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