1-800-Flowers to Offer Fair Trade Certified Bouquets by Mother's Day

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An online campaign asking 1-800-Flowers to offer Fair Trade certified arrangements not picked by abused workers succeeded this week, after collecting over 50,000 signatures. The company will offer Fair Trade certified bouquets by Mother's Day.

"1-800-Flower's decision to agree to all three requests made in the Change.org campaign... speaks to... the power of the collective voice of the tens of thousands of customers who asked them to make this change." - Ben Rattray, Change.org Founder & CEO

An online campaign started by a Change.org member asking 1-800-Flowers to offer Fair Trade certified arrangements not picked by abused workers succeeded this week, after collecting over 50,000 signatures.

In light of reports of serious human rights violations in the cut flower industry, thousands of supporters demanded more transparency in flower sourcing from 1-800-Flowers via a petition on Change.org, a social action platform with 2.5 million monthly readers.

The company responded within 72 hours, agreeing to offer a Fair Trade certified line of flowers by Mother's Day, develop a code of conduct for suppliers, and regularly update customers on where they source cut flowers. Spokespersons for 1-800-Flowers thanked Change.org members for pointing out the company had not posted current sourcing information on their website.

1-800-Flowers's decisions will help prevent serious abuses at flower farms in Ecuador and Colombia that supply U.S. florists, where two-thirds of the workers are women. These women are routinely subjected to harassment, discrimination, forced pregnancy tests, and even rape from their male supervisors. They're also denied basic rights. For example, in the weeks leading up to major flower holidays, many workers are forced to pick pesticide-laden flowers for 80 hours a week with no overtime pay.

“In Ecuador, for example, women make up about 60 percent of the flower workforce,” said Dr. Laura Raynolds, Co-Director of the Center for Fair and Alternative Trade, an internationally recognized research facility dedicated to market-based social change and environmental protection. “Flower workers often suffer from low wages, unsafe working conditions – including exposure to pesticides – and may be forced to work extensive overtime hours in peak seasons.”

1-800-Flowers has committed to fighting these abuses, and in doing so, become an industry leader. Other major national and global florists, however, fail to offer Fair Trade certified options and are not transparent about sourcing, thereby propping up these injustices.

“1-800-Flower's decision to agree to all three requests made in the Change.org campaign not only speaks to their corporate commitment to this issue,” said Ben Rattray, Founder and CEO of Change.org, “but to the power of the collective voice of the tens of thousands of customers who asked them to make those changes.”

In the wake of 1-800-Flowers's commitments, Change.org will continue to help connect them with the resources to keep their commitments and support consumers who want to see other major flower companies stand against abuse and exploitation of cut flower workers.

For interviews and exclusive quotes:

Ben Rattray, Founder and CEO, Change.org
(721) 813-6592 (mobile)
http://www.change.org

Change.org is the world’s fastest growing platform for social change, with some 2.5 million readers a month. Change.org provides daily news and information about important social issues and empowering people to take action.

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Amanda Kloer
Change.org
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