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Sustainability Aims

At Scarlet & Violet we draw constant inspiration from nature, the seasons, and the flowers we are lucky to work with. We must find a way to work closely with the natural world without causing unnecessary harm to it. We have made some exciting progress; however, many aspects of our business have negative environmental implications. Therefore, in January 2024, we embarked on a twelve-month sustainability project. 
This is led by Emma and Rosie. Emma, our accountant, has recently completed the Business and Climate Change course at the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership, using Scarlet & Violet as a case study. Rosie, our full-time Sustainability Officer, worked here as a florist before doing a master’s in Agriculture, Ecology and Environment, researching how wildflowers can replace pesticides in orchards.  
Vic, the director of the business, and Rosie have both completed the Foundation in Sustainable Floristry, a course run by the Sustainable Floristry Network. With the help of this course, we aim to understand the current environmental impact of our business and find ways to reduce it in a well-informed, realistic, and honest way.  
Our Flowers 
We have begun calculating our carbon footprint in-house to help benchmark our progress. So far, we have found that the biggest contributor to our carbon footprint is the flowers themselves. To ensure year-round supply we import many of our flowers. The carbon footprint of transporting these is high. Consequently, we aim to buy from British growers where possible.  
From September 2023 to June 2024, on average 18% of our flowers and foliage were British grown. This figure reaches 37% in June 2024. We hope to see this percentage increase as the British growing season progresses. Once we have a full year’s data, we will use this as a baseline to build from.  
When we do import flowers, we try to choose the most socially and environmentally conscious ones. We buy from New Covent Garden Market and a Dutch wholesaler. We intend to work with our suppliers to try and improve the transparency of our supply chain. In the meantime, we are looking at international certification bodies to guarantee that flower farmers meet certain welfare and environmental standards. We have created a list of farms we regularly buy from and their certifications. These include Rainforest Alliance, Fairtrade, MPS ABC, MPS Gap, MPS SQ, Global Gap, Kenyan Flower Council and Flor Verde. We use the list to inform our buying decisions, so that where possible we are choosing the farms with the best practices. This list is continually updated. If you would like to use this resource, we are happy to share it. Please email rosie@scarletandviolet.co.uk 
From what we have learnt, choosing flowers based on their level of certification is more appropriate to achieve our aims than choosing flowers based on how they have travelled. This is due to the improved farming practices on certified farms, and the growing conditions in the Global South requiring less energy than in the Global North.  
We are therefore aiming to avoid flowers that are flown in from uncertified farms and prioritise flower buying in the following order: 
1. Flowers grown in the UK. 
2. Flowers grown on certified farms in the Netherlands. 
3. Flowers grown on certified farms in all other countries. 
4. Flowers grown on uncertified farms in the Netherlands. 
5. Flowers grown on uncertified farms in all other countries. 
The line graph shows the gradual change in our buying patterns since we made this decision in February 2024. We will update this graph as time progresses.  
Packaging and Waste 
We try to limit the amount of waste we generate and employ First Mile, a BCorp-certified waste removal company. Thanks to First Mile, nothing that has gone in any of the bins at Scarlet & Violet has gone to landfill since May 2023. 
To avoid unnecessary packaging, we encourage our customers to bring in their own vases or jars. We are currently working on a returnable vase scheme and local customers are offered a wrap free option. When the flowers need to travel with water, we use glass vases, jam jars, and tins. These are reusable and recyclable. Our tins are made using solar power in London by P. Wilkinson Containers Ltd. Our postcards are carbon-positive, recycled, and chemical-free. They are printed using non-soy vegetable inks by Anglia Print.  
Although we try to avoid it, we do still wrap our flowers in cellophane, which is not recyclable in domestic recycling bins. We are working hard to find a better replacement. In the meantime, we encourage customers to bring the cellophane back to the shop, where we can recycle it with First Mile. Our bags are fully recyclable. We do not use floral foam, ribbon or preserved, painted, or sprayed flowers. If you would like to discuss alternatives to these, please give us a call or pop into the shop.  
Energy 
In the shop, we use LED lightbulbs, motion sensors, and a 100% renewable energy tariff with Octopus. We plan to look at our water use in the near future.  
Our team 
Scarlet & Violet are accredited by the Living Wage Foundation. Our employees have access to HR support. 
Our sustainability project is a work in progress, and we plan to update this as it develops. Please don’t hesitate to contact Rosie (rosie@scarletandviolet.co.uk) with any feedback, questions, and ideas.  
Thank you,  
Vic, Emma, Rosie, and the team at Scarlet & Violet