Lilac and Lace Floral Design Sustainability Policy
Statement of purpose and values
Lilac and Lace Floral Design (LLFD) has sustainability is at its very heart. Rebecca has a long-standing background in meteorology and climatology, and wants to use that knowledge to create a greener, more sustainable business. Rebecca believes it is her responsibility to create a business that balances people, profit and planet, and she wants to work with other like-minded people to make strides in improving the wedding industries poor track record with sustainability.
Rebecca promises to be as clear, truthful and honest in the words she uses, the images displayed and details of the day to day running of LLFD. She will continue to educate herself, question, read and learn, and collaborate will people that can help to reach her sustainability objectives.
LLFD is importing fewer and fewer flowers from around the world. The long-term objective is to transition all late-Spring and Summer weddings (May to September) to local/British grown flowers by the end of 2024. Weddings outside of this timeframe will be minimised, but where this is not possible, Rebecca will ensure that any flowers and foliage sourced are from growers who met rigorous sustainability standards and hold a MPS A+ rating.
LLFD will continue to use and improve its sustainable practices and techniques in creating floral arrangements. Rebecca moved away from floral foam 5 years ago and continually educates herself on the best sustainable way to construct design work. She has reduced her use of single use plastic, recycles and reuses wherever possible and has a hire scheme in place for couples to prevent the need for additional purchases that may end up in landfill.
LLFD business operations are run in the most conscious way possible, at this time. The LLFD Studio is run using eco-energy with LED lighting, and all cleaning and toilet products are sourced from reputable eco-suppliers, like Who gives a Crap? and Method. Rebecca harvests the rainwater from her Studio to fill her floral buckets and water her plants. She also has a hot bin composter to turn her green waste into compost for the next season’s flowers.
LLFD aims to minimise its CO2 footprint with a longer term ambition of bigger reductions. At present, Rebecca offsets her travel emissions using Ecologi.
Rebecca is aware of issues within her supply chain at present that creates difficulty in her sustainability journey. The importing of flowers not only has a very large carbon footprint, but so many of these flowers arrive wrapped in single-use plastics. Transitioning to British/locally grown flowers will help reduce and in time eliminate this completely.
In line with our purpose and values, and to ensure the best possible chance of achieving our objective of being fully committed to sustainable development, across all aspects of the business, we will
1. Use sustainable practices
Rebecca stopped using Floral Foam back in 2018 due to its proven devastating environmental impacts on marine invertebrates and their ecosystems. It has no place at LLFD and Rebecca will continue to research ways in which her designs can be created without causing further harm to our planet. Rebecca has been using moss as a substitute, but unfortunately has learnt that the methods of its sourcing often damage the peat bogs in which it grows. Therefore, Rebecca is working to step away from this type of moss, instead looking to create designs in containers that only require water. These containers are multi-use and although require chicken wire for stability, the chicken wire is also reused over and over again.
2. Compost all green waste
The LLFD Studio has a hot bin composter to enable the green waste produced to be composted and turned back into a usable product. Rebecca uses the compost on her plants to create the best possible crop and yield for the following year. LLFD also has a newly created growing plot, which will also have its own composting facilities in the next year, which will be used by Rebecca and the other users at Little Warden.
3. Not use dyed, bleached or painted materials
Rebecca has spent a lot of time educating herself in the abhorrent practices of dying, bleaching and painting foliage and flowers. Not only can these products not be composted due to their chemical contaminants, but in many cases the chemicals used are thought to be a potential mutagen and carcinogen for animals and humans alike. A lot of these chemicals were once used in the food industry before being banned, but unfortunately are still widely being used in the floral industry. These products have no place at LLFD.
4. Reduce use of single-use plastics
LLFD has worked really hard over the last two years to reduce the amount of single-use plastic the business sends to landfill. Rebecca has taken the elements she can control and changed them to ensure that she is reducing her footprint as much as possible. For example, Rebecca has switched her top table arrangement designs from plastic trays to reusable ceramics. This ensures her clients have to return the item as part of her hire scheme, instead of risking the plastic tray going to landfill once out of sight. Unfortunately, there are a high proportion of single-use plastics that enter LLFD which are currently outside of Rebecca’s control. Imported flowers arrive in boxes that have a plastic tie and many of the flowers inside are wrapped in single-use plastic. Rebecca’s aim to move to locally/British grown flowers by the end of 2024 will help to reduce this to zero. In the mean time, Rebecca will speak to her supply chain and see if anything can be done to reduce this plastic use.
5. Use plastic free packaging and labelling
LLFD sources locally made eco-conscious labelling that is plastic free, biodegradable, recyclable and compostable. Packaging is created using recycled brown paper and clearly labelled for the client to know it can be recycled in their household paper recycling. Rebecca also sources glassine confetti bags which are manufactured in the UK from PEFC certified pure pine cellulose, making them biodegradable, compostable and recyclable. LLFD also uses biodegradable twine or British made naturally plant and hand-dyed silk ribbons from The Botanical Dyer to adorn her bouquets.
6. Question where any Imported flowers come from, check their credibility and ensure they are sustainability cut
Rebecca has spent the last year researching and questioning the impacts of imported flowers. She has surrounded herself with like-minded people, such as Cel Robertson (Forever Green Flower Company) and Linz Kitchen (White Horse Flower Company) to learn as much as possible. There are huge complexities at play here, from the lighting and heating systems in glasshouses to the use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides, and that’s without considering the human aspect and how the workforce is treated. Rebecca Swinn completed a study in 20172 comparing the carbon footprint of British, Dutch and Kenyan grown flowers. Her paper showed that Dutch grown is more damaging to the environment, due to the high energy input required to grow flowers year round in heated greenhouses. Surprising, as many would expect the further travelled would be higher, but both are equally poor when compared to a locally UK grown bouquet. A mixed bouquet of Dutch blooms measured 32.252kg C02, whereas an equivalent Kenyan grown bouquet measured 31.132kg C02, but the lowest footprint by far is the UK grown equivalent, with a footprint of 3.287kg C02. Whilst LLFD transitions from imported to UK grown flowers, Rebecca will use her knowledge of growers and their MPS Certifications to make good, sustainable choices to ensure her flowers are as sustainably cut as possible and the companies used operate in a fair trade manner.
7. Use locally grown or British grown flowers as much as possible
Rebecca has been using more and more locally grown flowers in her 2023 weddings, with 8 of her 18 weddings being solely British or locally grown. A further 7 had British or locally grown flowers alongside imported ones, and only 3 had completely imported flowers. These did fall outside of the British growing season. The aim is for all weddings between March/April and September/October to be totally UK sourced by the end of 2024. Rebecca will continue to build relationships with local growers and make sure the supply cannot outstrip demand. She will also grow her own flowers for use in her design work.
8. Develop a cutting plot
LLFD is changing from florist to florist-grower throughout 2023 and 2024. Rebecca has a growing space at Little Warden in Brasted, where she will grow flowers and foliage to use in her weddings. Rebecca will use sustainable practices including the no dig method, rain water harvesting, peat free compost and plant based plant food. The aim is to have the plot commercially viable and providing enough yield by end of the 2024 growing season.
9. Restore wildlife habitats and increase biodiversity both at home and around the world
LLFD currently buys flowers locally from growers and globally through FlorismartDirect, and therefore Rebecca aims to make a positive impact both here at home and on a more global scale. Rebecca works with Ecologi to restore wildlife habitats in areas damaged by human consumption. Over the last few years, Rebecca has planted just over 2600 trees in countries like Mozambique, Madagascar and Tanzania, and invested in 41 different projects, such as rainforest protection in Central Brazil and wind power in Thailand. LLFD has offset 77.42 tonnes of C02e and will continue to work with Ecologi to make more impact over the years to come.
Rebecca is also working with Little Warden to increase their biodiversity. Rebecca has an advisory role in planting native trees, growing crops for the animals and providing flowering pollinators for the bees that will arrive by 2025. Little Warden is a not for profit organisation that works incredibly hard to give back to local wildlife charities and Rebecca will contribute to this work through her plot, flower growth and foliage use. This regeneration work will give Rebecca more reliability and control over the flowers and foliage used within her business.
10. Continue to educate and invest in LLFDs sustainability journey
Rebecca has been continually learning and developing her skills through the use of books on growing sustainably. She will undertake Cel Robertson’s Intensive Flower Farming course in November 2022, with the aim of having a better understanding of growing practices, maintaining biodiversity and increasing yields. Cel has an incomparable knowledge in sustainable growing and this course will help Rebecca develop her plot to give her the production value needed to sustain her business model.
Rebecca has also invested in a willow weaving course undertaken by Mary Butcher. Rebecca learnt how to use willow as a base for her designs with the aim of eliminating the need for single use plastics or other framework. LLFDs Christmas wreaths will continue to be willow based, allowing the whole wreath to be composted after the decorations are removed. Rebecca runs a recycling scheme for her wreaths to ensure as little as possible goes to landfill. Little Warden and Rebecca have planted the first batch to willow at Little Warden, to not only be another income source for Little Warden, but to enable Rebecca to source her willow more locally. The hope is the willow will be in viable to use by 2025.
11. Offset business travel
LLFD calculates and offsets its business travel through Ecologi. The 20 weddings undertaken by LLFD in 2022 created 1562 miles of travel, which equates to 0.986 tonnes of CO2 emitted. In 2023, LLFD had 18 weddings creating 873 miles, which equates to 0.552 tonnes of CO2 emitted. As stated above, LLFD currently offsets 59.42 tonnes of C02e a year, which far exceeds the amount created through business travel. Rebecca will continue to partner with Ecologi to offset her business emissions and hopes to reduce her emissions further. LLFDs travel footprint will be measured and reviewed annually.
12. Free Hire Scheme for couples
Rebecca runs a free Hire Scheme for her couples to borrow props from vases to candles, arches to crates, and so much more. Rebecca asks for a Breakages Deposit to cover the risk of damage or loss, but this money goes straight back into the couples account on return of the items. LLFD wants to make sustainable choices as easy as possible for couples, and this schemes helps prevent unnecessary purchases that may then become unwanted after an event.
LLFDs Sustainability Policy will be audited and reviewed annually by Rebecca Yussuf (Owner) and the Sustainable Wedding Alliance, as part of the continuous improvement cycle.
Rebecca will also make clients and suppliers aware of their Sustainability Policy, and encourage them to adopt sustainable practices.
Rebecca Yussuf of Lilac and Lace Floral Design
Updated November 2023
Review date: January 2024