martes, 9 de diciembre de 2014

Friend of the Month - January

Have your say in January... Christine Boldt from the USA!

"We embrace the notion of an increasingly interconnected world and believe it is the ideal moment to introduce the concept of working together"

We spoke with Christine Boldt, B.S. in Accounting from Florida State University. She has been exposed to the flower industry for more than 30 years, as her mother was one of the first woman to own a flower importing company in Miami. Also she has worked with the Association of Floral Importers of Florida - AFIF on their trade shows from 1999 through 2001 and joined full time from 2004 as Executive Vice President. From supply chain, sustainable flowers and customer trends she highlights the importance that sustainable certification labels have among these. Let's see what she got to tell to the Tingua!

Florverde® Sustainable Flowers: How have you seen any change in the supply chain at the flower industry in terms of sustainability?  What is your opinion about Florverde® Sustainable Flowers?

Christine Boldt: The flower growers in Colombia started being conscience about environmental and sustainably grown flowers before the industry or anyone started talking about it, so the growers did it because it was the right thing to do.  Because the majority of the imported flowers come from Colombia this was important for the flower importers and the products they sell.  Florverde has been the leader in the US for the industry and ultimately consumers to know about sustainably grown flowers.

FSF®: What is the position of Importers regarding Sustainability issues?

CB: Importers want to supply flowers that are grown in a sustainable way.  Most importers try to display their labels so that the purchaser can be aware of their flowers being grown in a sustainable way.  When possible the importers provide information about Florverde and other sustainable labels. 

FSF®: What is the role of the consumer in this situation?

CB: Most consumers do not know how flowers are grown, where they are grown or what it means to grow a sustainable product.  It is important for the consumer to be educated about what buying sustainable flowers means. 

FSF®: Please tell us more about the Globally Grown campaign that you are leading/managing?

CB: Globally Grown is a unique international initiative that connects countries, growers, importers, wholesalers, retailers and consumers, has officially launched as an accessible platform with one goal in mind to work together and sell more products. Globally Grown will be available to everyone and will serve industries and countries to promote their products, share campaign ideas, and to tell their company and industry stories. Globally Grown will also serve as an educational platform for those who are interested in learning about specific products, the people behind the products, their origin, and availability. 

At Globally Grown, we embrace the notion of an increasingly interconnected world and believe it is the ideal moment to introduce the concept of working together through this modern platform; we believe that the Globally Grown platform is a necessity for our future. Our logo, the Globally Grown passport stamp, will tie everything together. Participating partners will place this stamp on product packaging and signage, which will distinguish Globally Grown products from the rest, giving them a collective name and face.

To create awareness and a global following, Globally Grown planned and will be executing the following strategies:

  • Partner with countries and corresponding trade agencies in order to reach as many people as possible and create a well-rounded network of products.
  • Use the website and social media platforms to educate people on different industry tips, product origins and stories about the people and places related to the products.
  • Emphasize and demonstrate the effectiveness of globally sourced products and its defining role in getting the consumers the products they want on a year round basis.

About Globally Grown:  Globally Grown was established in early 2014. Its purpose is to bring global industries together through its online presence, social media and platform in order to educate and ultimately sell more products. As of October 2014, Globally Grown has partnered with the Colombian Flower Industry and the Association of Floral Importers of Florida with plans of increasing partnerships in 2015.

As a consumer, do you care about the products you buy? are you aware of the sustainable label on them? we'd love to read your experiences and share some thoughts about what's behind a sustainable certification label ;)

jueves, 23 de octubre de 2014

Making the difference in Social Media!

Mary Westbrook highlights environmental holiday celebration online by Florverde® 

Society of American Florists featured on its website our social media campaign to celebrate the World Environment Day last June. We spread the word online and followers supported the activities.

"Using #EnvironmentDay, Florverde asked its followers to tweet, post and share thoughts on the environment, sustainability and the workers and working conditions behind the flowers consumers enjoy said, Ximena Franco, Florverde's Sustainable Flowers Director

Special thanks to SAF staff and Mary for such words!  

Read the full article here.

Wanna share your thoughts about nature and environment care? please tell us what you think! don´t forget to check for our discussions on Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest, or visit our website!

jueves, 2 de octubre de 2014

Friend of the month - August

In Have your say on August... Jeroen Oudheusden from the Netherlands!

"The [flower] sector as a whole has to take responsibility and work together in solving issues and in projects aiming for higher levels of sustainability"

We shared some words with Jeroen Oudheusden from the Netherlands, Executive Officer to Floriculture Sustainability Initiative (FSI) and our friend of the month of August. He knows where exactly flower industry meets sustainability and why. Let's see!

FSF: Why is sustainability important for the flower industry?

Jeroen: The pressure to meet demand of the growing global cut flower industry has created sustainability challenges for the entire supply chain from producer to retailer. There is a clear need of a sector-wide vision on sustainability because fragmentation of sustainability projects and standards has led to inefficiencies in market uptake. Therefore the sector has joined forces in the form of the Floriculture Sustainability Initiative to make sustainable market transformation a reality by aligning ambitions, investments and actions.

FSF: What are the current sustainable trends for the flower industry?

Jeroen: Considering People, Planet and Profit the sector already addresses various issues like water use, pesticide use and working conditions. The market requirements for sustainable flowers and plants define the various topics and they also can be region specific. Water projects in The Netherlands can be just as relevant as similar projects in Africa and results should be translated into best practices and shared to become good agricultural practice for other producers to implement.

FSF: Could you describe the consumer to whom sustainability is important?

Jeroen: Buying sustainably produced flowers is not (and should not be) limited to a specific consumer type, it concerns us all. The initiatives taken by consumers and retailers, often also supported or strengthened by civil society organizations, are leading to more market demand for sustainably produced flowers and plants. The sector as a whole has to take responsibility and work together in solving issues and in projects aiming for higher levels of sustainability.

FSF: What will happen with those companies, which don’t implement sustainability in their business?

Jeroen: Companies which do not incorporate sustainable and responsible practices will not survive in the long run. The pressure from the people and the impact of mass communication will become even more powerful in the coming years. The flower sector in the main production countries already takes its responsibility by developing certification schemes to incorporate and communicate responsible business practices.

FSF: Is it too late to include sustainability at the company’s business plans?

Jeroen: No, it is never too late to start with responsible business behavior. As an example, the members of FSI have their own responsibility as a company and on top of that joined forces to work on the various issues together, in a pre-competitive way and aiming at 90% sustainably produced flowers and plants by 2020.

FSF: What is your opinion regarding collaborative work between competitive countries?

Jeroen: Improving sustainable practices should be a target for all parties involved and not be treated as competitive instruments. The FSI projects now underway are a good example since they aim to solve some of the highlighted issues, leading to a higher level of sustainability per topic/region and at the same time share the outcomes for the benefit of other supply chain actors.

FSF: What is the reason to build initiatives such as FSI?

Jeroen: The Floriculture Sustainability Initiative is initiated in 2013 by a number of the sector frontrunners and civil society organizations. FSI has the following strategy:            

  • Increase the demand for sustainable flowers and lower costs by providing transparency and comparability of the sustainability standards in floriculture and to have an opinion about the level of sustainability of these standards using the FSI Equivalency Tool as an instrument.
  • Prepare for the future by addressing sustainability issues in a pre-competitive way through the development of tools and best practices regarding topics like human rights, water use reduction, government engagement, waste reduction, use of pesticides and energy reduction. Specific topics can be addressed, and best practices for these topics will eventually raise the sustainability level in the sector.
  • Create change on the ground by taking joint action on the implementation of impact projects, through coordination of the actions, and the fundraising.
  • Improve the reputation of the sector by enabling joint communications about sustainability initiatives from the sector as a whole. This information spreading will lead to more awareness in the sector and can enhance cooperation for sustainability in the flower sector.

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I Do you believe in collaborative work between competitive countries? does sustainability has an important role in it? Please tell us what you think about Jeroen's words, sustainability and the flower industry. We'd love to hear from you!

martes, 2 de septiembre de 2014

RedES-CAR Memories

RedES-CAR spotlights!

This is Luis Fernando Nieto from AgroIndustrial Don Eusebio flower company. He once thought it was a good idea to think sustainable and check out what has been producing losings to his company and how they can solve that: figuring out what's wrong among the supply chain and how they can make the difference to their annual savings achieving a Cleaner Production Program. Wanna see what they will achieve? have a watch!

Interested on how certified flower farms can make the difference? check for us on Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest 
and visit our website.

martes, 26 de agosto de 2014

Friend of month - July

In Have your say on July... Stan Pohmer from USA!

"I would encourage the supply chain to be conscious of sustainability in their purchasing and operations for a few reasons. First, it’s the right thing to do. Secondly, by considering sustainability in your decision-making, you can make better decisions. "

As featured friend of july, we spoke with Stan Pohmer, CEO of Pohmer Consulting Group, Mentor and Advisor to the perishable and seasonal industries. We discuss about sustainability and its role in the flower industry and customer's behavior, which could be guided to help them take the right choice and know why. 

Florverde® Sustainable Flowers: What does a sustainable label mean to you and to consumers?

Stanley Pohmer: There’s a definite difference in how I perceive the meaning of a sustainability label and how a consumer does.

Being actively involved with sustainability initiatives in the perishable industries (including floral), I am familiar with the pillars of people, plants, planet, and profit…and the attributes of each individual label and the stories behind them. However, the average consumer is relatively uneducated about these various labels and what they stand for; most fail to understand ‘what’s behind the curtain’ of a sustainability label. In many cases, sustainability to the consumer is simply a logo.

With the exception of ‘Fairtrade’ and ‘Rainforest Alliance’… two labels that have invested a lot of resources (time, money and effort) in marketing and educating the retailers and consumers who shop their retailers…most consumers wouldn’t be able to explain what a specific label stands for. And what consumers don’t understand, they ignore or misconstrue.

That said, consumers do relate to concepts that they believe benefit them personally, themes such as ‘local’ and ‘organic’ and ‘pesticide free’.  To make an impact on the consumer and their purchase decisions, sustainability initiatives must figure out how to effectively connect with the consumer in terms that they can relate to.
FSF: Is it important to customers choosing products that have grown in a sustainable way?

SP: Consumers care about things that they can understand, connect with, and that benefit themselves and their psyches. As mentioned earlier, most consumers don’t relate to the term ‘sustainable’ because they don’t understand it, it’s too ethereal. However, they do understand and relate to some of the elements of sustainability, such as the environmental and ecological conditions their products are grown in (i.e. organic, pesticide-free), and the way employees who grow or produce their products are treated.

Consumers have difficulty connecting to abstract theories of what sustainability is, but do connect with concrete stories and examples that illustrate sustainable practices and activities, and these are becoming more important in helping the consumer make conscious decisions on why the purchase one product versus another, or why they shop one retailer instead of another competitor.

One subject that rarely gets considered is the reality that people really don’t shop sustainability labels; rather they choose retailers that complement and support the same values, morals, and ethics that they themselves share. A sustainability label(s) will help the retailer position their image, add gravitas to their consumer perception and help them tell their story about who they are and what they stand for.

FSF: Is sustainability important for supply chain members? If so, why?

SP: I believe in the end goals and benefits of sustainability efforts and initiatives. As a result, I would encourage the supply chain to be conscious of sustainability in their purchasing and operations for a few reasons. First, it’s the right thing to do. Secondly, by considering sustainability in your decision-making, you can make better decisions. For example, if you focus on reducing your carbon footprint, you will make smarter decisions and become more efficient. Last, sustainability can be a component of your value message that you deliver to your customers and end-consumers; all other things being equal, sustainability could be your ‘tipping point’.

FSF: Is there any relationship between competitiveness and sustainability?

SP: In the food category, it’s been proven that consumers will pay somewhat more for products that they believe provide more benefits to them (i.e. wellness, more nutritious, ‘local’, ‘organic’) versus conventionally grown products.

However, it’s been harder to prove that consumers will pay more for non-food products that are marketed as being sustainable. That said, including sustainability as part of your marketing story to the retailer and his/her consumer can be a significant differentiator, especially to those consumers who are already predisposed to prefer more sustainable foodstuffs.

FSF: What will be your predictions for the coming 5 years regarding sustainability at the flower industry?

SP: As the marketplace consolidates, both at the producer and retailer levels, sustainability will become more accepted, expected, and more mainstream. Consumers will become more knowledgeable about what constitutes sustainability and retailers will provide the consumers with point of purchase tools that will easily compare the relative levels of sustainability of one product on the shelf to the one right next to it, helping the consumer to make more considered purchase decisions.

The U.S. marketplace has lagged its European cousins in the sustainability arena; there’s no doubt that in the next 5 years, the U.S. will make major inroads to catch up.

That's all for now with Stan. We would like to thank him for sharing his inputs with us.

What does a sustainable label means to you? we'd love to hear it! please let us know us your insights about this topic to know from your experience and how you make the difference!

viernes, 25 de julio de 2014

RedES-CAR Program

A new competitive commitment from Florverde®

The Sustainable Business Network seeks to improve the competitiveness and environmental performance of companies.

Under the Sustainable Business Network Program, RedEs CAR Florverde® Sustainable Flowers presented the first results from 14 flower companies that participated together with important companies from other sectors last May, 2014 at Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá, Colombia.

Through a public-private partnership, the RedES-CAR Program seeks to foster productive links between large companies and its suppliers, or between a union and its affiliates, to improve competitiveness and environmental performance through the implementation of cleaner production tools.

In this phase of the Program companies, that produce and export flowers to four main destinations (the United States, Russia, Europe and Asia) participated.

RedES-CAR is sponsored by the regional government environmental agency and led by the most important university in Colombia, Universidad de Los Andes.

With this infographic you can see how these flower farms will make the difference:

By choosing sustainable practices you can improve your products, boost your sales and generate savings among supply chains! Have you reached important goals through sustainable practices? we'd love to hear from your experience! please leave a comment below and tell us how you make the difference.

lunes, 2 de junio de 2014

Friend of the month - May

In Have your say... Cynthia Hanauer from USA!

"We must plan strategically as the climate continues to change and more energy and natural resources will be needed to supply food and housing for a growing global population"

As featured friend of the mother's month of may, we spoke with Cynthia Hanauerfounder of Grand Central Flower and 4th generation florist with family lineage beginning in 1875. She has 40+ successful years in the floral business including retail and supply chain operations. 

Florverde® Sustainable Flowers: We've heard a lot about you. What can you tell us about how your family began in the flower business in the late 19th century?

Cynthia: My maternal ancestors came over from Germany in 1875, which ultimately became the largest group of immigrants in the history of the United States; 8 Million Germans arrived into the United States in the 19th century.   In those times, the trip from Germany to the United States took 6 months, so the commitment was great; one in five babies died in transit due to malnutrition and disease.

The favored German settlement area in the 19th century was the Midwestern United States, and by 1900, 40% of the largest US Midwestern cities were German.  Likewise, my ancestors settled in the Midwest.  Most of the German immigrants at that time were established farmers and craftsman, where half settled in the cities and half settled on farms.  With them, they brought many new skills to the United States: agriculture, shoe-making, tailoring, glass-making, mechanical engineering, and of course, our first beer empires in the United States: Pabst, Schlitz, Miller and Blatz! 

My ancestors were combined farmers and craftsmen, and began growing flowers and crafting them into sellable products.   During the Spring/Summer they grew flowers outside, and during the Fall/Winter they grew flowers in a coal-heated barn which had its roof removed and replaced with old glass windows.   From the flowers they grew, they would create small bundles, called nosegays in those times, and take them to market on horse and buggy into nearby towns.  This was the very beginning of my ancestry in the flower business, and one which I honor every day.   

FSF®: How different is the growing process now? Do you consider it safer for the environment?

Cynthia: Today, 140 years later, the growing process is done on a much larger and global scale, with many more advanced technologies.  I’ve seen the generations of my ancestors in the flower business evolve in the same way that many other industries evolved with new methods and technologies. My Grandparents rejoiced with the purchase of their first crank adding machine, which was cutting edge at that time.  But they still used whitewashed glass greenhouses to grow, and coal to heat their greenhouse and retail storefront.    At that time, in the 1930’s, there were no chemicals used in the greenhouse; my Grandparents were growing solely for their own retail florist businesses. Today, flowers are grown from international farms for mass retail selling and I have great confidence in the protocols and standards that have been put in place by many growers and many dedicated organizations such as Florverde.  

FSF®: With more than 40 successful years in the flower business, we all know things are going faster than ever nowadays.  How do you see the flower industry in the next 5 years?

Cynthia: I have first-hand experience in seeing how an industry can grow, from both the supply chain and retail environment. History in our business has been built brick by brick, where success comes by carrying the canoe rather than riding in a jet as a first-class passenger. The most successful people in our business have done the mentally and physically hard work to get there. In the next five years, we should expect new and greater retail and supply chain technologies, and at the same time, we must plan strategically as the climate continues to change and more energy and natural resources will be needed to supply food and housing for a growing global population.          

FSF®: According to your family traditions, what were your first steps into the floral business? 

Cynthia: The legacy I ‘ve inherited is obvious a deep knowledge of the floral industry from its birth in the United States; however, I believe the most important lessons came from a deeply-seeded German work ethic, leadership and personal discipline. These traits are woven within every generation of my family, and are also highly-visible within everyone who has been successful in the floral industry. My grandparents opened their first florist and greenhouse business in 1934, during the depths of the Great Depression when ½ of the nation’s banks had failed and 25% of the population was unemployed.  From personal experience, I watched and learned as they carved out a very successful floral and greenhouse business over the next 45 years that began from the deepest and longest-lasting economic downturn in the history of the Western industrialized world.

I started spending time in my Grandparent’s flower shop/greenhouse as a child in the 1960’s, working along-side both of them. My Grandfather managed the greenhouse, while my Grandmother managed the retail florist shop. I can remember the beautiful smell of the greenhouse, watering and potting plants in the greenhouse, standing up on a step-stool to make arrangements on the work-counter, sweeping floors, cleaning shelves and the excitement and satisfaction I felt each time a customer transaction took place. 

In 1974, at my father’s encouragement, I took an evening job at Kroger as a cashier at $3.05 per hour. This was before flower shops, pharmacies, delis, bakeries, seafood and other specialty departments were found in a supermarket.  I continued my work in my Grandparent’s florist business at every opportunity, attended school and as the mass market flower business was initiated in the supermarket channel a few years later, I experienced the introduction and growth of this channel hands-on over the next 40 years.  My final role at Kroger was managing the floral and plant procurement for all 2400 stores, at the time.  Thereafter, I took on strategic roles to broaden my experience in retail operations, transportation, logistics, technology and ecommerce, which were state-of-the-art developments at that time.  

Today, I still find my greatest passion is in the new growth areas of the floral business and developing technologies and protocols to create greater efficiencies in the process from seed to consumer.  I am raising investment capital for a new platform in this area, which will launch in early Fall, 2014.  I also enjoy serving on important industry trade organizations and conducting training and educational seminars.  My next seminar is scheduled for June 10th at the International Floriculture Expo and is titled, “The Communication Conundrum”, where we’ll explore new concepts and communication methods to educate and improve our connection with the end floral consumer.   

FSF®: What does Mother's Day mean to you and yours? how do you celebrated it?

Cynthia: As everyone else does in the plant/flower business, our families have always celebrated our own holidays well after the actual date. This is normal for us, and historically it’s always been that way. From a business standpoint, we need to make sure that our suppliers and customers all over the globe are sufficiently supported to maximize the holiday, even if that means that our personal family holidays are celebrated afterwards. 

From a personal standpoint, Mother’s Day is a time to celebrate my own Mother, who gave me riches that money can’t buy, music that forever fills my voice, and a solace which no words can describe... where life began and love never ends.