Why Shop at a Local Florist: #8

8.  We care about the environment.

The floral industry is the ultimate green business.  I won’t bore you with the facts and figures that demonstrate what a large percentage of your customers care about this issue.  It’s obvious to everybody that 2007 has been the Year of Green.   The truth is that some of the supermarkets may be ahead of you on this one.  Even Wal-Mart is asking its vendors what they are doing about sustainability and environmental issues.

Rather than give you some examples of quotes that you can use, I’m going to list all the different ways that you can go green.  Then it’s up to you to issue press releases, put it in your newsletter or on your website, or print it up on a little card that goes out with your flowers.  Just get the message across!

Appoint a sustainability czar who is in charge of keeping your "green strategy" on track.   This is a great job to give to one of those pesky Gen-X or Gen-Yers who you can’t figure out how to motivate.

Find the organization in your community that is dedicated to helping businesses go green.   There may be grants or technical assistance available. Ask around at the Chamber of Commerce or other local business organizations, or try the local recycling center or power company. And of course, contact local environmental advocacy groups and find out how you can work together.

Buy sustainable, certified, organic, or locally grown flowers, and let people know that those flowers are available.  Ask your wholesaler to supply you with flowers certified through one of these programs, or try Organic Bouquet‘s wholesale division.  Be prepared to answer questions from your customers about exactly what these certifications mean.  Your most dedicated customers may also be your most educated and enlightened customers.

(Oh, and by the way, the answer to the question "Why do people care about organic flowers?  They’re not going to eat them" is:  People care about the safety of the workers–and that includes your health– and they care about the environment where the flowers are grown. )

Switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs.

Ask your local water authority to help you find ways to reduce and reuse water.

Contact your local recycling center about special programs to recycle "green waste," and make sure you’re recycling your cardboards and plastics properly.

Offer a rebate or rewards program to people who bring back vases  to be recycled.

Use low toxic, environmentally friendly cleaning products.  Here’s a product line that is so nice that you might even want to offer it for sale as a gift item.

Look into solar power, hybrid vehicles, and other energy-saving options.  Check back every few years, as the technology gets better and the prices go down.

Look for local suppliers that can help reduce the environmental impacts of shipping.

Consider ways to reduce and reuse packaging.

Share party fixtures, decorations, and similar items with other florists or event planners so you’re not all buying and storing the same stuff.