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Our Sustainability Statement

Our Mission

Featherstone's mission is to provide sustainably grown, seasonal flowers to both retail and wholesale customers. We pledge to treat everyone with respect, share our passion for seasonal, local flowers, and empower our communities to thrive. We acknowledge and incorporate the three pillars of sustainability—social, economic, and environmental—in all our business decisions.

Featherstone's is committed to a robust sustainability strategy, reflecting our core values of balancing people, profit, and planet. Our business model revolves around replacing imported flower stems, eliminating single-use plastic, increasing biodiversity, and educating our local and professional communities on sustainable practices.

Our business was founded on the principle of sustainability, driven by a passion for horticulture, the environment and a desire to enhance the supply of locally grown cut stems to both retail and wholesale markets. We firmly believe that a luxury like flowers should not harm the planet, aligning our mission with the shared values of our community.

Our core values revolve around localism and seasonality. We aim to connect people with the natural world and the changing seasons, thereby reducing the overall ecological impact of events such as weddings and funerals. Our commitment to transparency is reflected in open, honest, and truthful communications.

Central to our strategy is a focus on creating a financially sustainable business that cares for its staff, the land we occupy, and enables our customers to reduce their carbon footprint. We maintain an open and supportive workplace.

We strive to provide a high-quality service to customers, encouraging the use of locally grown stems while setting an example for quality and reliability in the flower farming community. Opening our doors to the public, we provide opportunities for them to witness our sustainable practices, fostering education in sustainable floristry. Additionally, we offer free demonstrations several times a year for sustainable church flowers.

 

Our networks foster positive relationships between farmers and florists, promoting collaboration in a supportive and non-judgmental manner.

I​n terms of scope, sustainability permeates every aspect of our operations:

  • We grow our flowers according to the principles of regenerative agriculture. These practices protect the soil and allow the life in it to recover. This reduces the reliance on fertilisers, prevents run-off and reduces water usage. We only use organic approved fertilisers and plant invigorators.

  • We are constantly looking to be improving the land which we manage to boost biodiversity and have already seen a huge increase in insect numbers and variety of species on the land.

  • We never use imported flowers means that bouquets and arrangements from Featherstone’s have a carbon footprint 95% less than those of an average bouquet of imported blooms.

  • We consistently assess and minimize emissions and waste. Our waste reduction efforts have led to 100% waste-free weddings, where all plant material is composted, and mechanics are reused.

  • In our floristry we strive to only use compostable or re-usable mechanics and are looking at ways to reduce or swap packaging for that which is less environmentally damaging.  

Collaboration is key, and we openly support and collaborate with other businesses in their sustainable missions.

We are members of Flowers From the Farm, the Sustainable Wedding AllianceAssociation of Green Funeral Directors and Ambassadors for Sustainable Church Flowers

Sustainability Strategy 1.1

December 2023

J Roberts

Featherstone’s is unwavering in its commitment to sustainability, with a focus on refining current processes and integrating new strategies to balance people, planet, and profit. 

On the farm:

  1. Increased flower production: a commitment to increasing flower production efficiently through;

    1. improved data collection and analysis utilising the app which we have been developing.

    2. Taking on more land to grow flowers on.

  2. Increase the perennial plants used for flower production.

  3. Biodiversity focus

    1. Plant a large shelterbelt with an emphasis on native species, and nectar, fruit, nut and pollen sources.

    2. Conduct a biodiversity study to get a baseline for current levels on the farm and, with advice, create an action plan on how this can be further increased.

    3. Create a wildlife pond on the farm.

  4. Investigate using biodiesel for the tractor.

 

Business and Relationships:

  1. Collaboration: forging partnerships with like-minded businesses to amplify the impact of our sustainable practices and contribute to a wider industry movement.

  2. Technology integration: embracing data analytics for improving efficiency on the farm and adopting eco-friendly technologies to enhance overall sustainability efforts such as timed irrigation to minimize water usage.

    1. Timed irrigation in place by June 2024

    2. All staff trained on app for data collection by end of April 2024

    3. Regularly analyse the data to evaluate crop production.

  3. Regular assessment: periodic evaluation of sustainability practices, remaining open to adaptation based on industry standards, technological advancements, and community feedback.

    1. Committing to an annual review of all areas of the business and ensuring they are as sustainable as possible and looking at ways in which they can be further improved. Annual review conducted in February – next one February 2024.

    2. Every time a decision is made the environmental impact will be considered and the decision recorded.

  4. Create a database of current suppliers and record if they have sustainability policies in place and if they meet our standards as they are. Done by end March 2024

  5. Waste reduction: continually seeking opportunities to minimize waste across all aspects of the business. Working with our suppliers to return packaging for reusing.

  6. Market expansion: exploring new avenues for sustainably grown flowers through additional channels, collaborations, and events.

  7. Conduct a CO2e study to get a baseline to see where we are able to reduce emissions. By year end 2024

  8. Make all clients and suppliers aware of our sustainability policy and encourage them to adopt more sustainable practices.

  9. Ensure that all staff are aware of our sustainability policy and encourage them to be advocates of it.

  10. Use electric vehicles for delivery where possible. It is recognised though that this is not a viable option for all our activities.

  11. To only purchase refurbished electrical equipment rather than new. Implemented immediately.

 

Customer Facing , Products and Community Engagement:

  1. Transparently communicating the environmental benefits of choosing locally grown, seasonal flowers through education:

    1. strengthening workshops and informational sessions for local communities and industry professionals to deepen understanding of sustainable floristry practices.

    2. Run a free demonstration session for church flower arrangers. By end of 2024

    3. Have a section in all the handouts at our workshops regarding sustainability. From April 2024

    4. Develop a set of resources for both wholesale and retail customers easily available online. By March 2024 with continuing updates.

    5. Send four newsletters a year to our church flower arrangers’ subscribers and increase the information on our website for how to source British grown flowers throughout the year. By end of 2024

  2. Packaging innovation: actively seeking and implementing eco-friendly packaging alternatives to align with our environmental commitment.

    1. Create an option for purchasers at the point of ordering for them to choose whether they have their flowers wrapped or have a ‘naked’ bouquet with additional stems or a price reduction.  From April 2024

    2. Ensure that all wrapping of gift bouquets is either recycled or recyclable. By March 2024

  3. Make zero-waste weddings standard and communicate effectively with our couples as to how to recycle or compost anything that they take home.

By pursuing these strategies, Featherstone’s English Flower Co. will strengthen its position as a leader in ethical floristry within a more sustainable and environmentally conscious flower industry.

We have already implemented many sustainable practices into our work

How we conduct business:

  • Furniture is second-hand wherever possible

  • Electronics second-hand (fridge, freezer, dishwasher, microwave)

  • Coffee from Winchester Roasters – a local company who are transparent about sourcing fairtrade and sustainable coffee beans.

  • Tea – plastic free bags from companies with strong ethics and fairtrade purchasing

  • Office is a recycled shed.

  • Use second-hand furniture.

  • Committed to only purchasing re-conditioned or second-hand electronics.

  • Partnerships with many small artisan businesses

  • Artisan market which carefully selects local craftspeople with sustainability practices that align with ours

  • Pay staff above living wage and run an inclusive, positive and supportive atmosphere.

  • Unable to control our own energy supplier – but asking what can be done to source greener energy.

  • Recycling old ink cartridges

 

 

Flower sourcing:

  • Grow as many of our own flowers as possible meaning zero travel miles to reach us and we are sure of the way they are grown.

  • Only buy in British (English) grown flowers. We know that they are grown buy companies who employ staff responsibly and grow using green energy (or are moving towards using more green energy). These flowers are also not transported by air.

  • Embrace seasonality as much as possible – we like to use flowers in their natural seasons when buying in. For example we use lots of narcissi at the beginning of the year as they will take the least energy to produce. (They also help us to feel seasons and appreciate the change in flowers throughout the seasons)

  • Keep in touch with our suppliers to find out what they are doing to keep improving on their sustainability.

  • Avoid regularly purchasing certain flowers we know have a higher carbon footprint in their production (such as lillies) than others

  • Communicate with our suppliers to ensure they are moving to be as sustainable as possible.

 

Floristry:

  • Only use packaging which is either re-used, recyclable and/or home -compostable. Vases are all made of recycled glass where possible but are also higher quality and can be re-used indefinitely.

  • Delivery partners who use electric vehicles (https://www.local-zero.co.uk/)

  • Never use floral foam or any of its ‘eco’ alternatives.

  • Deliver 100% waste-free weddings

  • Deliver 100% biodegradable/compostable funeral flowers

  • Use re-useable mechanics in all our floristry such as chicken wire and willow structures.

  • Source British made as much as possible

  • Choose high-quality long-lasting equipment avoiding single use items.

  • Always look for the sustainable options – envelopes for our gift cards are made from recycled sugar-beet

  • Enable others to purchase zero waste stems by offering buckets of blooms. Stems are transferred into customers buckets meaning no wrapping at all.

  • We do not promise specific flowers to our customers – unless we are 100% sure we can supply. For example, weddings are conducted based on colour themes and the style rather than specific blooms which leaves us flexibility in which flowers we use. This means we never have to resort to using imported stems.

  • Buy quality tools which will last (Niwaki)

 

 

How we encourage others:

  • Sustainable church flower demonstrations given free which teach about sourcing British flowers and sustainable mechanics

  • Workshops which teach flower arranging using locally grown flowers and foliage throughout the year and sustainable mechanics

  • Supply sustainable floristry materials such as chicken wire in small quantities and sustainably sourced moss

  • Have a good selection of items available to hire, which come with sustainable mechanics and prevent people buying their own, using once and throwing away.

  • Open days which promote British flowers and sustainable mechanics

  • Contribute to the improvement of mixed flower farms wholesale supply.

  • Work with florists to supply our own grown flower stems in large quantities.

 

Farming and land

  • Choose to restrict the number of single use bulbs – we do not grow hyacinths and are reducing the number of tulips that we grow and reducing our reliance on them.

  • Increasing the proportion of perennial crops which we grow. These require less water & food, are more tolerant of drought and floods and are excellent for the soil as their roots prevent the breakdown of the soil and create a healthy environment for the soil flora and fauna.

  • Working at ways to reduce our reliance on plastic ground-cover materials which slowly breakdown over time, increase ground temperature and create an excellent habitat for pests.

  • Use woodchip where possible as ground cover which is excellent for

    • regulating soil temperature and moisture

    • breakdown slowly improving the organic matter in the soil creating much healthier soil.

  • Avoid digging the soil over which releases carbon into the atmosphere and destroys soil life

  • By protecting and enhancing the soil and building soil life we reduce reliance on fertilisers and water.

  • Do not grow with additional heat – most of our plants are grown outside.

  • Grow a wide range of flowers which means that if one does not suit the weather and quality is not high enough¸ we always have another option without having to resort to buying in flowers.

  • Log piles for insects

  • Only use organic approved fertilisers

  • Use composted local green waste to mulch beds

  • Wrap flowers in used newspapers for wholesale sales.

  • Hort supplies from Fargro who support their customers in their sustainable endeavours in horticulture production, waste reduction and sustainable sourcing. Helping growers move to peat free: https://fargro.co.uk/solutions/sustainability/peat-free/helping-growers-make-the-switch-to-peat-free

  • Repurpose old yoghurt tubs by cutting up and using for plant labels

  • Buy secondhand extra rigid propagation trays which have already been around many years and will do us decades to come

  • Use organic peat free compost – looking into UK made as currently ours is coir based.

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