You’ve got to hand it to OASIS® Floral Products. Not only have they had to deal with a Pandemic that saw them battle production, delivery and supply in the face of unprecedented demand, but they have had to deal with some serious flak as well, particularly on social media.
Because the #nofloralfoam movement has given them a really hard time – not always nicely and not always accurately.
Starting some five years ago, the call to ban foam has seen the company targeted with vitriolic comment and accusations that what they produce is the plague of the earth, they ought to be ashamed – nay be closed down said one particularly angry opponent - and that they are causing more harm than anyone.
What no-one has been willing to acknowledge ... well not as loudly ... is that OASIS® Floral Products have been doing their darndest to find alternatives, have invested heavily in developing other options and actually have a team that cares as, if not more passionately for the planet than most.
Indeed, not only have they developed a whole host of new, greener, products but several of the OASIS® Floral Products team have taken on further studies to make sure they are totally up to speed on all things sustainable and are now well qualified to both implement change and talk knowledgeably.
All of which is more than can be said for some of their critics who seem to take all their information off the internet and don’t seem to be too bothered about fact checking before typing out another rant.
Because truth is OASIS® Floral Products is not a company who has put their head in the sand like some floral foam manufacturers*1.
Instead, they have led the way in finding alternative and safer floral foams long before the #nofloralfoam campaign really took off.
They were the first in the industry to eliminate the use of chlorofluorocarbon from floral foam production in the 1970s and then in the 80’s successfully reduced volatile organic compound emissions (VOCs) by more than 85 percent.
In the 90’s they made their first foray into creating a more sustainable option. It didn’t take off particularly well in the UK but was a clear sign that the company were not only early adopters of sustainable change but on a mission to do so much more.
Hundreds of thousands pounds and 23 years later 2018, saw the launch the world’s first officially biodegradable floral foam; OASIS® Bio Floral Foam Maxlife, which achieved third party certification and is 91% biodegradable in 3 years in anaerobic conditions.
Fast forward to June 2022 and not only has the company updated their Big Green Plan but there are now several new types of design media you can buy that are either biodegradable, recyclable or home compostable.
You can see the whole listing below in their handy 'at a glance' chart but whilst the more sustainable options may cost a little bit more at the moment - prices will fall as sales increase - as a way of addressing the issues, florists now have a real choice and can take steps to do their bit for the planet where and when they can.*2
Not that it ends with foam alone. As The Big Green Plan points out they’ve converted their NAYLORBASE® Floral Bases to a new 100% recycled and recyclable plastic, in a stylish matt black colour which means around 65% less virgin plastic was used by volume in 2021 compared to the previous year, with the aim of making ALL plastic components for manufactured products recyclable by 2025.
They are funding the cost for 20 (internal and external) people to be trained in all things sustainable to make sure they can help effect change both within the business and in the broader floral industry – the first external trainee is Julie Collins, Director at the British Academy of Floral Art.
They are also planning to review their operating systems at the UK sites so that they use less water and they’re developing a water-saving protocol that aims to help at least 500 florists implement it in their own businesses.
Oh yes and not only have they reached the point where almost all waste from the factories is either recycled or is sent to energy recovery – they are now pretty close to zero waste to landfill - they’re changing their packaging from shrink wrap to cardboard and where shrink wrap has to happen, it’s recyclable.
In fact, looking at The Big Green Plan – a weighty document but well worth a read as it could prompt your own ideas - you can download here - it’s hard to find an area OASIS® Floral Products haven’t tried to find a better solution for.
You can see everything they are doing on their website and as part of a 5 year plan it hasn’t and won’t happen overnight but it’s a darned good start and the company should be applauded for doing things that a lot of other suppliers have seemingly ignored.
Because the reality is that trying to ban floral foam is neither sensible, in some places impossible *2 nor actually very kind. In the same way the insistence on only using locally grown flowers creates limitations and costs far more, so would the complete absence of foam. As the Editor says, take it to its ultimate conclusion and flower buying could revert to the preserve of the rich alone and that wouldn’t be good either.
OASIS® Floral Products at a glance
Design choices that work for you, your customers and the planet.
** 1 There are several other floral foams available - they just tend to fall below the radar in term of criticism, not helped by the fact ‘Oasis’ has become the generic term for floral foam in the same way Hoover is applied to all devices used to lift dust!! Technically to refer to floral foam as ‘Oasis’ is wrong unless you are specifically referring to a trademarked product they make.
**2 Many venues, particularly historical buildings, will not allow water-only installations in case they leak and damage hugely valuable artifacts and building structure etc. In addition, the lasting power of a design that is wholly reliant on a small and limited source of water, can often result in premature wilting or require expensive maintenance which makes it unviable for both florist and customer.