My product of choice for the dimensions of globalization project was flowers. Before I did this project, I had no idea how dangerous the production of flowers actually is. I was surprised to learn how polluting these seemingly “natural” products actually are. Though fair trade has improved the working conditions of many third world workers, there are still so many problems in the flower industry, though you would not expect it. Workers that are under a fair trade agreement are assured safety and favorable working conditions for the employees. The flowers are not treated with any harsh, dangerous chemicals either. In 2o15, over 8 million dollars were paid to fair trade flower workers.
However, not every flower production company is as kind, and lots of them don’t consider fair trade. Those workers and subjected to harsh working conditions, constantly exposed to very harmful, sometimes even deadly chemicals. Did you know that one fifth of the chemicals that they use for the flowers are actually banned in the United States? There are more pesticides permitted to be used on flowers than are allowed in food. When the flowers are sprayed with the chemicals, and we come in contact with the flowers, those chemicals enter our system. For every 12,000 flowers, over 13,000 lbs of co2 is created. Another danger of non-fair trade flowers is a chemical called methyl bromide. This chemical is used in flowers, and is very dangerous. In fact, brief exposure to these chemicals can cause death. Not only that, but the production of flowers wastes so much water. In Kenya, one of the countries who produces the most flowers, 45% of their water supply is used for flowers, resulting in costs of around 141 million dollars.
In order to avoid encouraging all of dangerous factors, you can buy fair trade flowers instead.