Promoting ethical flowers for improved working con...
CLOSE

Campus Map

Working with Coventry University

Working at Coventry University

Coventry University is a diverse and exciting place to work and we share the enthusiasm of our staff and students to be the best at whatever they choose to do. As one of the City’s biggest employers, we offer some impressive benefits for our staff and are committed to delivering the very best opportunities. We have a comprehensive training, personal and professional development programme that provides our employees with the skills to enhance their performance in the workplace and grow in their careers. There are pension schemes, a generous holiday allowance and flexible working opportunities as well as lifestyle benefits including childcare vouchers, discounted membership to the £4 million sports and recreation centre and schemes such as Cycle to Work and the CU Car Share initiative.

View current job vacancies.

LOG IN TO THE COVENTRY UNIVERSITY SITE

Staff portal

Access the central point of information for all staff across the University.

LOG IN TO THE STAFF PORTAL

Student Portal

Check your assessments, access Solar and get course information.

LOG IN TO THE STUDENT PORTAL

Promoting ethical flowers for improved working conditions in supply chains: The disconnect between increased certification and poor purchaser knowledge


Funder

British Academy/Leverhulme Trust

Value

£9940

Project Team

Dr Jill Timms, (CBiS Associate) Principal Investigator

Project Objectives

This project examines how the promotion of ethical flowers can contribute to improved working conditions in supply chains. It investigates a puzzling disconnect between the trend of flower farms investing in social certification, and poor purchaser knowledge of standards. The research is significant as it advances understanding of certification as an expression of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and has embedded practical impacts, as demand for ethical flowers will benefit businesses and promote sustainable improvements. The objective is to develop a model for ensuring the value of certification is benefited from throughout the supply chain, from workers through to consumers.

Sunflowers for auction in the Netherlands

Impact Statement

The flower industry has grown significant over the last two decades, and is a £1.8 billion business in the UK. However, cut-flower work can be precarious and associated with environmental concerns. Technological developments have promoted intensive farming and facilitated international supply chains involving some of the poorest countries, whilst rising supermarket power has intensified competition and price sensitivity. It is characterised by dramatic changes in demand (such as around Valentines and Mother’s Day), and the workforce is often made up of temporary, unorganised, low paid women. Cost pressures and the nature of the product also bring environmental and health concerns, including the use of toxic chemicals to increase crops and prolong life in transit to distant shops.

In this context, an ethical or responsible flower has been defined as a certified one, with farms investing in private regulation to demonstrate their employment and/or environmental practices have attained certain standards. However, we find the myriad certification schemes are complex, with not only consumers, but often florists and even wholesalers misunderstanding or being unaware of them. Therefore it is difficult for purchase decisions to be made based on ethical considerations.

By investigating the uneven promotion of ethical flowers, this project is identifying opportunities for the value of certification to be benefitted from throughout the supply chain. The study is impactful, as interest in ethical flowers will spotlight poor conditions and increase demand for rigour in certification, positively affecting businesses and work conditions in newly developing countries, potentially influencing other industries exploring certification.