Jun 13, 2023
AFE discusses sustainability trends

Sustainability isn’t just water conservation or recycling; it can be so much more, such as sustainable investing or creating culture first leadership, Melinda Knuth, assistant professor of horticulture at North Carolina State University, said. She will be speaking at the 2023 Floriexpo convention in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Knuth is co-leading the American Floral Endowment’s floriculture sustainability project with NC State’s Brian Jackson.

Read more about the project here.

“Some of these practices may be familiar or have existed for some time but have new products that are reinvigorating the category. Some practices are completely new ideas that have come about in the last year.” Knuth said.

During an education session at the business-to-business floral show, Knuth shared some of the latest sustainability trends in floriculture, including:

  • New materials for floral sleeves, such as plastic alternatives and biodegradable options;
  • Biodegradable hydration packs, which keep cut flowers fresh while minimizing waste;
  • Ozone sanitation as a way to manage disease without chemical application;
  • Alternative fuel sources, such as biogas, which utilizes farm waste to produce an energy source;
  • Water conservation by planning water flows throughout a property with permeable surfaces and recycling;
  • Carbon accounting to track greenhouse gas emissions and potentially earn carbon credits; and
  • ESG investing as a way to attract investors who prioritize sustainable business practices.

Knuth’s goal was to give businesses one new piece of sustainability information that they can incorporate into their business. Small incremental changes can be long-lasting and impactful.

Help us identify key sustainability practices and opportunities in floriculture. The American Floral Endowment’s Sustainability Project aims to provide education and resources to the floral industry and make sustainability an accessible initiative for all segments of the industry. To complement our current efforts, we are looking for sustainability officers and related staff working in floriculture who are willing to share information about their company’s ongoing programs.

This could include efforts in composting, pot recycling, alternative substrates and recycling, carbon footprinting, nutrient use, lighting sources, integrated pest management, water conservation, and other areas. If you’d like to share your company’s successes in sustainability or future goals, please take our 5-minute survey here.