20 for 2020: where are we now in meeting our sustainability goals?

20 for 2020: where are we now in meeting our sustainability goals?

What has blossomed over the past year

bloomon wants to make the flower world greener. We’ve been writing about the developments, our findings and challenges for over a year now. We’d like to show you where we are now with meeting our sustainability goals. This article is in line with one of our goals: 100% transparency. We can already tell you a lot more about all that has blossomed so far. Of course, there’s plenty of room to grow. Are you going to read along?

Happy flowers

1. Launching the Bio-bouquet

A colourful highlight that still gives us rosy cheeks. Every week from June to September, the Bio-bouquet was sold out in no-time. The bio-bouquet consists of 100% organic flowers from Skal-certified organic growers. Skal is an independent organisation that oversees the organic chain in the Netherlands. Because Skal has strict regulations to which growers have to uphold at least twice a year, there are not many accredited growers. We had to create the Bio-bouquet according to what was available to us instead of creating a design first, like we normally do. This year, we hope to harvest an even more significant success: we’ll offer the Bio-bouquet in larger quantities from June, in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany.

2. Testing four flowers every two weeks

We’ve been checking four random flowers on forbidden pesticides every other week. We do this by doing a leaf residue test in a laboratory. We also call this a ‘pulp-test’ because we mash the flowers into a pulp. Next, we appraise the flowers according to the MPS-standards and our own, even stricter, list. The laboratory is very accurate; they can trace all used substances dating back to the last ten years. This allows us to see if the flowers adhere to legislation.

3. Banning prohibited pesticides

Flowers that didn’t pass the test? Then we take these flowers out of our collection. We’ll then look for last-minute suitable and quality-proof alternatives. This is a challenge on most occasions. That’s why we rather prevent growers from using pesticides that are prohibited by the MPS. We are in constant communication with our growers, also for this coming year.

4. Testing flowers beforehand

This past December, we offered nine Christmas bouquets for the first time. The year prior, we had six. After delivery of the bouquets, we send them as a whole to the laboratory. Unfortunately, we found the forbidden pesticide Methamidofos* in two bouquets. We also found Acefate and Thiabendasole. Again, substances we rather not have in our bouquets. Still, fewer substances than in previous years while we offer more bouquets. Nonetheless, research shows that we’re not nearly where we want to be. It stimulates us to continue doing random checks to monitor the flowers, keep direct lines with the growers, and preventively test our bouquets more often. For Valentine 2021, we already tested more flowers beforehand. We’ll continue to do so.

5. Cleaning vases without adding waste to the planet

In the past, we’ve advised you to clean your vase with a drop of bleach. Because bleach is challenging to be processed, it costs a lot of energy to produce and is terrible for our health, and we’ve been looking for an alternative that makes people and the planet happy. Just like our flowers. And we found two great options after rigorous testing that are both sustainable and get a vase squeaky-clean.

6. Nourishing flowers with bio-nutrients

To enjoy your Bio-bouquet as long as possible, we supply these with bio-based nutrients. A big step, but our plans are even bigger. This year, we want to provide all bouquets with bio-based nutrients from Chrysal. Packaged in a sachet made from recycled plastics.

Happy planet

7. Making the world of flowers greener

We are continuously talking to our growers and are continually researching how we can be more sustainable. The goal? Making the entire sector more sustainable, flower by flowers. 

8. Use every flower

Thanks to our short supply chain, we purchase your order directly from the grower. We don’t throw away flowers. And because we use every flower, we don’t waste energy and reduce our CO2 emissions. Want to know what else we are doing to reduce our carbon footprint?

9. Reduce and compensate

A reason for flowers: we are CO2-neutral since last year. With a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), we assessed what steps are taken with each bouquet: from field to vase. The impact differs per kind, season and country of origin. Now that we know about the emission per flowers, it enables us to create more balanced, well-thought-out bouquets. Still, ever flower does have an impact. We compensate for that impact by investing in the reforestation-project Bukaleba in Uganda via the Climate Neutral Group (CNG). By reducing and compensating, we are allowed to call ourselves Climate Neutral Certified.

10. Mapping out flowers

To measure the emissions of our flowers, we need data. A lot of data. Collecting this data is one of the requirements for a CO2-neutral company. It is a challenge but worth it: the more insights you gain, the better choices you can make.

11. Making the office shine

Our office in Amstelveen shines like never before with solar panels on our roof. Sunny initiatives have also reached our office in Amsterdam: both offices now collect coffee remains. Each week, an external party collects this pulp to create a soap with a coffee scrub. Everything for a cleaner planet! 

12. Conscious delivery

We take a critical look at the impact of our logistics. In the coming year, we’ll optimise our routes to decrease the number of unnecessary miles. We also want to start delivery by electric bikes in the inner cities. 

13. Reducing plastics

All secret pleasure aside: this year, we won’t be wrapping our vases with bubble-plastic wrap. We will choose cardboard from now on. Even so, we are reducing - where possible - our use of plastics. At the office too. Paper ones replace all plastic cups.

14. Being 100% transparent

As a consumer, you often have no clue where your flowers come from—making it difficult to make a conscious decision. bloomon wants to know from all flowers where they’re from and which quality labels and certificates accompany them. We also share our developments, findings and challenges. You can read in our previous article how we’ve changed the design of the Mono ‘Rose’ three times because we were adamant that we want people and the planet to be happy with our flowers. We hope to inspire the floral sector and you as a consumer. Because by being open and working together, we can make big steps.

15. Collaborate with certified growers

bloomon is a member of the Floriculture Sustainability Initiative (FSI). This organization brings members of the international floriculture chain together. In order to become a member as a company or grower, you must be transparent about your working method, actively commit to people and the environment, and have a proven responsible entrepreneurship. For example, the working environment for employees must be safe, crop protection products and the impact of external factors must be registered and targets are set and checked to reduce these points. bloomon likes to work with other members of FSI. 67% of our flowers now come from certified growers. We aim for 100% certified growers by 2022.

Happy workers

16. In the driver's seat

Our team comes to work by bicycle or public transport as much as possible. For some time, we’ve also been making use of car-sharing. In 2020, we switched to Mywheels, so we have access to 100% electric cars. 

17. Caring for our employees

Sustainability is not just about the environment but also about a sustainable way of co-existing. That’s why we take care of everyone who works together on our bouquet: from office to greenery. In 2020, the focus was on safety. We’ve taken more precautions because of the coronavirus. For example, working in shifts and health checks, but also by wearing face masks and gloves. We are happy and grateful that our employees can still deliver flowers. Maybe we need them more now than ever before.

18. Striving for fair wages for everyone

In addition, we strive for a living wage for all employees. At the moment, certified flowers are not yet completely certain of a living wage, but we are working hard on that. If a grower does not yet meet these conditions, we will talk to the grower. In the coming period, for example, we will focus on fair wages for growers in Kenya, so that all employees will receive a living wage in the future.

Happy people

19. Conscious contribution

Flowers make people happy. That’s why bloomon wants to make as many people as possible happy. Leftover bouquets are sent to the Ronald McDonald House. Also, care workers deserve a treat. During the corona crisis, we gave flowers to various care facilities. On Valentine’s Day, we’ve shown our love by giving the remaining bouquets to hospital personnel. And during Christmas, 300 bouquets were handed out to the lonely elderly. In the future, we want to continue to make people happy. It’d be great to do this in person. Hopefully, we can send them ourselves again. And stick around for a cup of tea, too. 

20. Taking you along our sustainability journey

Do you know our floral stories yet? Since last year, we regularly write about sustainability. We tell you all you want to know about organic flowers and share tips and tricks. Like a sustainable way to clean your vase. We also keep you in the loop of all findings. We are looking forward to making you happy with more stories in the coming year. Stories about happy flowers, happy planet, happy workers & happy people.