New florist launches sustainable local service to challenge global carbon footfall of flower industry

Dr Stefania Pasare (Branches And All)

A NEW florist is setting out to challenge the high carbon footprint of the floristry sector by only using locally sourced garden material and the best locally grown seasonal flowers.

Branches & All is targeting climate-conscious businesses and will support local growers and artisan makers within 30 miles of their workshop near Fowlis, Dundee.

The supplier wants to make it easy for organisations to choose natural, bespoke floral arrangements that are good for both people and for the planet. They believe there is a growing demand from both corporate and private customers for an alternative to flowers being flown from all over the world to supply florist shops and service events.

Following circular economy principles, the owners, Dr Stefania Pasare and her husband Ionut believe in repurposing excess garden plants and reusing containers for their floral arrangements. Their aim is to transform the industry from one reliant on unsustainable practices with a significant carbon footprint to one that will help Scottish-based organisations achieve Net Zero by 2045.

Stefania said: “We believe there is real urgency in bringing sustainability to the floristry sector. We have a genuine passion for horticulture and design expressed via our contemporary floral arrangements.

“Our strong commitment to sustainability and to supporting the local community of growers and artisans is the ethos of our enterprise. The organisations that use our services can count on a bespoke service that highlights their brand values and follows the circular economy framework, from sourcing of plant materials, containers, and sundries to delivery of our products, and aftercare.

“We are convinced of the future of sustainable, seasonal floral design in Scotland and beyond.”

Stefania and Ionut have run a successful gardening business in Tayside since 2011. They recently saw an opportunity to enter the floristry sector with the purpose of bringing sustainable and seasonal floral designs to organisations in Scotland.

Branches & All reuses excess garden material from their gardening company, Flora Gardening Ltd, meaning they will not have to import fresh flowers or greenery for their designs.

The couple are collaborating with two local flower farms in Forfar and Bankfoot, near Perth, as well as using local artisans and antiques and second-hand stores for containers and display material.

The business employs an in-house designer to create bespoke arrangements for the corporate and public sectors, and an assistant dedicated to growing plant materials in their nursery outside Fowlis, Dundee.

After testing the process at several recent local events, they are now launching the business fully and hope to attract work from hotels, restaurants and businesses who are keen to work with more sustainable, local suppliers.

Exclusively catering to organisations, Branches & All provide three main services: bespoke flower designs for events, designs by subscription and workshops on sustainability and seasonality in floristry.

The drive for greener, more sustainable business operations conflicts with the traditional floristry industry. Flower growing has expanded hugely with plant centres established in countries with warmer climates, mainly in Africa and South America.

This intensive expansion has resulted in unsustainable farming methods including wide use of pesticides and monoculture planting. As the customers are generally in Europe or North America, suppliers must use “cold chain” transport systems to keep the flowers fresh over such long distances.

The designs themselves often use vast amounts of non-recyclable waste including floral plastic foam and single trims, all contributing to the high carbon footprint which marks modern fresh floral designs.

This has led to hoteliers and restauranteurs opting for plastic flowers as an alternative to fresh flowers. All this plastic, often non-recyclable waste usually goes to waste-to energy generation or landfill.

There are clear benefits for businesses to invest in climate-friendly products. In the context of sustainable competitive advantage, peer reviewed research states ‘Companies are under increasing pressure to conduct responsible business strategies in the pursuit of reputational benefit (Tetrault, Sirsly & Lvina 2019, ‘The Journal of Global Responsibility’). In Mintel’s 2022 study, Everyday Sustainability, 74% of all adults agree that minor changes to day-to-day life can make a difference to the environment. This includes reconsidering the brands that they patronise with 62% of all adults agreeing that buying from ethical brands is a good way of helping to improve the world we live in. Floristry needs to take this into account to ensure sustainability of the sector.

Climate change and plastic pollution top consumer environmental concerns.

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