How Green is Your Red Rose?

The influx of overpriced flowers, tacky-shaped heart chocolates and the distant sound of a stampede to the nearest card shop can only mean one thing. Valentine’s Day is around the corner.

But before you make your romance bloom, have you ever wondered where it’s all come from? Just how green is the red rose?

Flowers are imported to Australia from countries like Kenya, Vietnam and Ecuador. Employees in the flower industry in those countries are often exploited, live in poverty and/or work in inadequate working conditions. Some earn as little as $1 a day for a regular shift, which could be up to 12 hours a day. Many are exposed to dangerous chemicals without protection or compensation.

Despite growing demand for sweet treats, many small producers struggle to earn a sustainable income. Disease and age are damaging cocoa trees, and rising production costs mean farmers and their families remain in poverty. Child labour, a significant issue in the cocoa industry, is perpetuated by poverty and unfair terms of trade.

So how can you do your bit? What changes can you make to promote fair trade and ensure a slave-free Valentine’s Day? Thread Harvest has a few ideas.

You could shop for ethical gifts which send a meaning to your loved ones, like the Giving Keys, where each key is unique and meaningful in design, and supports job creation for people transitioning out of homelessness.

We know they say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach but we think his feet are where it’s at. Instead of chocolates or beer this Valentine’s Day, why not give him a pair of socks that provides 18 months of clean drinking water, or plants trees to fight deforestation, or ends poverty? A longer lasting gift says so much more!