Social and environmental responsibility of the floriculture industry in South Africa
Floriculture is a small, but important component of the agri-business in South Africa, as it is labour intensive and provides much needed job opportunities. Critical and often limited resources such as water and land are required in the cultivation of flowers, therefore it is necessary to ensure that the cultivation and distribution impact of ornamental products on the environment is acceptable and sustainable. The floricultural industry itself is responsible to ensure that all flowers and potted plants meet acceptable levels as set by social and environmental criteria. Several legislatorial requirements are in place to protect the labour force and the environment in South Africa. As yet, no national auditing bodies exist to ascertain that production practices of flower farms operate inside the legal framework. However, some South African flower growers and exporters are members of the SIZA (Sustainability Initiative of South Africa) programme, whilst a significant percentage of indigenous wild flower harvesters are affiliated with the SHP (Sustainable Harvesting Programme). All suppliers to Woolworths, a leading South African retailer in cut flowers and indoor plants, are required to pass an ethical audit. All major suppliers participate in Farming for the Future (FFF) audits that focus on a holistic and environmental approach to farming. Woolworths collaborates closely with Stellenbosch University and other research institutions to promote the best production and postharvest principles and practices. This approach supports and drives a culture of social and environmental responsibility within the Southern African floriculture industry.
Coetzee, J.H. and Hoffman, E.W. (2018). Social and environmental responsibility of the floriculture industry in South Africa. Acta Hortic. 1201, 479-484
cut flower industry, ethical compliance, farming for the future, retailer responsibility, sustainable floriculture