There is no place where the circle of life is more visible than in nature. The radical acceptance of the inevitable, death, becomes obvious when working with anything that lives, the accompanying emotions included. Flowers can show you some valuable life lessons. The circle of life The cycle of (re)birth and death can be uncomfortable […]
At AFS it is our mission to empower people to be professional artists, visionary thinkers and environmentally conscious global citizens. When we zoom in on the last part of our vision statement: ”environmentally conscious global citizens” we feel the urge to set an example and we know that there is a lot of work to do in our industry.
The environmental impact of flowers
The global flower industry produces a lot of plastic waste and our team is surprised to see that even high-end flower shops still use a lot of plastic to wrap their flowers. However, we do realise that the biggest problem is not the plastic usage of flower shops. Large retailer chains of flowers and plants around the world do very little about sustainability. They certainly didn’t get the memo on the 3 p’s: people, planet profit. It’s all about profit and that really is a shame. That’s why, we’re happy to see that the Plastic Soup Foundation is seriously tackling this topic with their new report.
Plastic is not the only problem of our industry though. We’ve got bigger problems to tackle. Two main challenges to be more specific: 1) the CO2 emission for shipping flowers from the Netherlands to other countries and 2) our greenhouse gas emissions. To give you an impression of what we are talking about: did you know that growing one rose in the Netherlands in one of our greenhouses has such a negative impact on our earth that it’s better for mother earth to grow a rose in South Africa and fly it to the Netherland and then fly it to Asia to a client? Wait a minute….What? Shipping a rose across the world by two airplanes produces less CO2 emission than growing a rose in a Dutch greenhouse and selling it to locals? Wow, housten we’ve got a problem!
Acting as one
Yes, unfortunately we have. But there’s good news too (thank god). We are not the only one that sees this problem and wants to do something about it. Since we started AFS, we met so many great companies, stylist, institutions and research firms that are focussing on making this flower world a better place. That’s why we decided to work together with people who want to shake things up and take action! Like the Powerpuff Girls, we believe that team works makes the dream work and that’s exactly why we started 6amflowers.
We created #6amflowers together with our dear friend and talented floral stylist Jeniffer Laarman. Under this brand name we will work on different sustainability projects together with amazing brands who want to make a different. Our first project and launch was pretty exciting. We decided to focus on plastic first and asked our fellow stylist to collect all the plastic waste that comes with floral design. In addition we asked them to collect flowers that otherwise would have been thrown away after huge events. Before we knew it our minivan was filled with plastic and beautiful flowers.
A colourful wake up call
Early in the morning we decided to stop in Amsterdam North to create our very first statement bin bouquet. From 5 am to 6 am we worked on a large bouquet and we mixed the bouquet with plastic trash to show the world two things: 1) don’t throw away flowers after your event. You can still use them and enjoy them while they last and 2) can we please do something about the plastic packaging in our industry? We designers don’t like to work with this much plastic. Let’s find solutions together. Dear retailers, what is your next step? We’re happy to talk with you about solutions but this has to stop. We are all earthlings. Let’s take care of mother earth please. Dear flower lovers, tell your florist to keep their plastic wrapping. Let’s all be environmental conscious global citizens.
#6amflowers is here to stay. It feels like a calling from the industry. A need to change. We can’t wait to work with more partners and brands in the future to create more colourful wake up calls. Stay tuned and follow our journey here: