Fresh cut flowers are a wonderful way to show the special people in our life we love them. But did you know that beautiful bouquet you bought might have been picked by exploited workers?
The cut flowers that large florists like ProFlowers sell often come from countries in Central and South America and Africa -- where workers' rights aren't always respected.
In Colombia and Ecuador, which are the main countries that supply the U.S. flower market, over half of female workers have been sexually harassed or assaulted on the job, and the International Labor Organization (ILO) estimates that 20% of the 60,000 Ecuadorian flower workers are children.
ProFlowers, a subsidiary of Provide Commerce, received an D- rating on Free2Work, a consumer research tool which grades companies on a scale of “A” to “F” based on supply chain transparency, enforcement of international recognized labor standards, and response to child and forced labor. ProFlowers offers no publicly available information on its monitoring benchmarks and its Code of Conduct does not include freedom of association or collective bargaining rights.
As one of the largest flower companies in the world, ProFlowers has tremendous power to reduce exploitation in the cut flower industry.
As a leading U.S. flower company, ProFlowers has a unique opportunity to join in the fight against child labor and worker exploitation in the cut flower industry. Currently workers in regions of Central and South America, as well as parts of Africa, are exploited and even sometimes abused while picking and processing the flowers you sell. The atrocities must stop, and you are in a position to help stop them.
As a ProFlowers customer, it is very important to me that you publicly disclose the measures you are taking to ensure your cut flowers are not grown and processed with the use of exploited labor or children. I appreciate your recent decision to publish a web page with information about where ProFlowers sources its product and creating a Code of Conduct for suppliers. However, I was disappointed to learn ProFlowers’ Code of Conduct does not include crucial worker rights such as freedom of association and collective bargaining since flowers are often sourced from countries known for violent union suppression.
As a conscious consumer looking to buy flowers I want to know your Code of Conduct and its implementation address these important issues. I ask ProFlowers to follow the growing industry standards in ensuring flower arrangements are ethically sourced by improving supply chain transparency and implementing third party independent monitoring of labor standards on their suppliers’ farms.
I call on you to:
- provide transparency to consumers regarding producers in the supply chain;
- ensure suppliers respect and promote core international labor standards identified by the International Labor Organization; and
- implement a transparent third party independent monitoring program that includes input from workers and labor allied NGOs that can work with ProFlowers to improve labor standards.
I appreciate your attention in this matter and look forward to your company’s plans to take further steps to ensure all internationally recognized labor standards are implemented on all farms and throughout the supply chain of ProFlowers.