The flower trade is a global industry generating billions in turnover. The EU, the US and Japan are among the main import markets. Few consumers are aware that the blooms they're buying in have often been shipped halfway round the world. Colombia, for example, is the world's second-largest exporter.
Recently, it introduced its own fairtrade label that supposedly guarantees the flowers haven't been treated with pesticides and that the farms they're grown in adhere to fairtrade principles. But the certificate is issued by the Colombian flower growers' association Asolcolflores rather than an independent supervisory body. Allegedly, conditions for workers on the flower farms are in fact anything but fair.