Flowers are a huge industry in Japan and also an important part of culture. That provides a great opportunity for social change through flowers.

Ikebana is of course a popular art and pastime, and flowers are popular gifts for a whole array of occasions: store openings, awards, graduations, birthdays… the list goes on. Flower shops seem to be nearly as abundant as convenience stores in Japan—some convenience stores even sell flowers!

If more of these flowers were Fair Trade certified (and none are at present), then the impact to workers in third-world countries would be significant. In Kenya, for example, Fair Trade flowers have supported reforestation programs, child-care centers for workers and even orphanages for children who have lost parents because of AIDS. In other flower-producing countries, revenues from Fair Trade support education and health. When you give Fair Trade flowers, you are making more than the recipient happy!

Fair Trade has grown quickly in Japan these last few years thanks to devoted retailers who carry Fair Trade products and growing awareness among consumers. Your florist probably doesn’t have Fair Trade, but by asking them if they can obtain Fair Trade flowers, you may just be the start of something good. Really good.





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