Florverde® - helping our workers have better lives
Florverde is much more than just a mark. Over the last 11 years the programme has developed and expanded to give our workers even greater benefits and why the Florverde® label is widely recognized throughout the United States and Europe as an assurance that our flowers have been grown in a way that helps both the environment and the people.
When it comes to worker benefits, the Florverde programme is second to none with Florverde®-certified farms providing the following:
• Continuous education and training programs that enable workers to experience professional development as well as personal growth. Courses are available for employees at management, technical, supervisor and operator levels, allowing personnel opportunity for advancement.
• On-site medical assistance and clean drinking water, dining rooms, hot meals, restrooms and changing rooms.
• Chemical risk prevention programs and ergonomic equipment designed to protect workers.
Florverde® certification not only sets occupational and workplace standards, it creates opportunities for companies to continue to improve employees’ standard of living. For example:
• Florverde® farms provide their workers with health insurance, disability and retirement benefits.
• The average work week in member companies is 46.5 hours vs. the legal working week of 48 hours. The average wage of workers in member companies is 20% over the minimum legal wage.
• Workers on Florverde®-certified farms are required to be over 18 years old.
• Half of all Florverde® companies have a Cooperative Worker Association, similar to credit unions, which allow workers to save a portion of their salary each month and receive mortgage credits.
In addition, many Florverde®-certified companies provide employees time for sports and recreational activities and offer housing assistance, education, family counselling and childcare facilities.
Commitment to Social Development
Information collected through Florverde® helps in determining needs and planning social programs designed to improve the quality of life of flower workers and their families. Current programs in place on many Florverde® farms include:
• Continued Education Program.
Aimed at eradicating illiteracy among flower workers, more than 1,700 workers participated in literacy, elementary and secondary education programs in 2004.
• Flowers are Home program.
Conducted in cooperation with subsidized housing programs and public-private partners to help workers purchase homes. This program has benefited more than 6,000 Colombian workers during the last 5 years.
• Childcare Program.
High-quality childcare centres located on, or near, farms provide day care services for children while their parents work. More than 18,000 children benefited from this program in 2004, which is run jointly with the Colombian Institute for Family Welfare (ICBF).
• Oral Health Program.
Approximately 35,000 children between the ages of four and twelve have participated in this program and received instruction on proper dental hygiene.
• School of Floriculture for Displaced and Vulnerable Colombians.
Sponsored by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the School enables families displaced by violence in the countryside to find jobs, generate income and recover their dignity. Those who join begin as apprentices and earn a salary, while learning flower-growing skills and techniques. After one year of training, apprentices can become permanent workers. More than 1,600 Colombian displaces families has been beneficiaries of this initiative.
• Cultivating Peace in the Family.
Also sponsored by USAID, Cultivating Peace, developed by an Australian nurse married to a Colombian grower, is contributing to building peace and tackling violence in Colombia. The program teaches workers to manage conflict in peaceful ways in the family, work and community. Since 2000, approximately 25,000 workers and their families have received training in workshops.
15 Fast Facts
1. 60% of the workers are women who, as single head of household, are the main bread winner.
2. An Australian nurse, married to a Colombian grower, was responsible for launching the Florverde Peace in the Family programme.
3. Tropical flowers are grown in the lush region of Pereira
4. A Colombian grower, Colibri, won the 2006 World Grower of the Year title.
5. Literacy levels amongst children of flower workers are higher than the national average thanks to the schooling programme run under the Florverde programme.
6. Flower workers earn around 20% more than the average Colombian worker.
7. Almost 6,000 hectares (14,826 acres) of land are dedicated to flower growing.
8. Colombia is the second largest flower producing country in the world.
9. The majority of Roses and Carnations are grown in Bogotá and Medellin.
10. The first Colombian Carnations were brought into the UK nearly 30 years ago. Some of the men who pioneered that opening of trade are still friends today.
11. The UK is now Colombia’s second biggest customer taking 20% of its production.
12. 77% of all flowers imported into the US are from Colombia.
13. The Colombian flower industry creates nearly 112,000 direct and 94,000 indirect jobs.
14. In 2004 alone more than 1,700 workers took part in the Continued Education Program
15. The Sabana de Bogotá is considered to have the best natural growing conditions in the world.