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Valentine’s Day Flowers are Harming the Environment

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It is Rose Day today, the first day of the so-called Valentine’s Week! Valentine’s Day sees a sharp rise in the purchase of fresh flowers. The global flower production industry is worth an estimated 64.5 billion euros, Valentine’s Day flowers being the number one purchase.
While this industry does provide jobs for thousands of people, there is also a significant cost to the environment caused by floriculture. The majority of premium Valentine’s Day flowers you’ll be buying this week are imported from other countries which means large amounts of COare emitted during their transportation. The biggest producers of cut-flowers are the Netherlands, Kenya, Colombia and Israel growing flowers which are common Saint Valentine’s gifts such as roses, orchids and carnations.

Carbon emissions associated with cut-flower production

Beyond the carbon cost of transportation and the refrigeration of flowers until sold, there is also a significant environmental impact associated with the intensive farming of fresh flowers. In some areas, large inputs of energy are required to grow the flowers on the scale required by consumer demand.
An increased distance of travel does not necessarily correlate with increased emissions. A study from Cranfield University (United Kingdom) using life cycle analysis showed that roses sold in UK and grown in the Netherlands emit 6 times more CO2 than roses grown, for example, in Kenya. This equals roughly 3 kg of CO2 per flower!

Why not trees instead of Valentine’s Day flowers?

Showing love does not have to be incompatible with caring for the environment. More long lasting and eco-friendly alternatives include tree planting as part of reforestation projects, a much more symbolic expression of love for your beloved and also for the planet.
Thanks to reforestation platforms such as Tree-Nation, which has already planted more than 130,000 trees since 1st January 2020, individuals can easily plant trees all over the world. While each cut-flower can emit up to 3 kg of CO2, a single tree is capable of cleaning up to 250 kg of CO2 during its lifespan. Also while cut-flowers usually just last for a couple of weeks, a tree will last as long as any relationship. Maybe more!