Don’t we all love to receive flowers? For most people, flowers symbolize a gift from a friend, an expression of love, an offer of sympathy, or a simple reminder that someone, somewhere is thinking about you. Unfortunately, this iconic, beloved gift is produced by an industry marked by tremendous human rights violations since most flowers are cut abroad by enslaved or exploited workers. As the leading florist in the United States, 1-800-Flowers was a company once at fault for selling flowers produced by these exploited workers; however, 1-800-Flowers became proactive and is now one of the most responsible companies in the industry.
After consumers became aware of the human rights violations associated with the flower industry, many consumers took to social media, most notably change.org, to discuss the issue and sign online petitions holding 1-800-Flowers accountable. Less than a week after the issue gained momentum online, 1-800-Flowers agreed to reforming several of its business practices.
1-800-Flowers now has a code of conduct for its suppliers, which is published on its website, that prohibits forced labor and child labor. The company also publishes information on its flower sourcing as well as an outline of its social and environmental practices, and the company’s social responsibility doesn’t stop there.
In addition to creating a transparent company dedicated to ethical supply practices, 1-800-Flowers now offers a selection of entirely Fair Trade flowers, as well as a selection of Planet Friendly arrangements and flowers grown exclusively in America.
Beyond offering an ethically produced product, 1-800-Flowers has also committed itself to increasing workplace diversity and working with agencies to follow certain socially and environmentally certified practices. The company also has a variety of programs to enhance community outreach and help support education and military personnel.
What do we love about 1-800-Flowers responsibility efforts?
- 1-800-Flowers has not only committed itself to a variety of workplace ethical standards, but it has been incredibly open with consumers about their business practices. Anyone can go on the company’s website and see where all of their flowers are sourced from, what code of conduct the company has established, and what agencies’ standards the company follows.
- 1-800-Flowers understands that as a large national company it has an opportunity to help communities in a variety of ways. 1-800-Flowers goes beyond giving aid to certain charities and organizations by partnering with several charitable efforts in addition to founding its own programs for giving back.
- 1-800-Flowers wants its customers to be educated about the importance of social responsibility. The company’s website offers videos and brief written explanations on their flower sourcing and the importance of being a “green,” worker-friendly corporation.
1-800-Flowers evolution into a socially responsible company shows us what can be done if we are willing to organize and use our voice to hold corporations accountable. Though 1-800-Flowers responded quickly and generously to consumer demands for ethical reform, not all corporations will react in such a positive way toward corporate action campaigns, but as we continue to learn new methods of pushing for corporate action and as more major companies like 1-800-Flowers agree to change, we can have a great impact on a growing number of corporations across the country.