Bringing Nature Into the Office in a More Sustainable Way

Flowers and plants are often used at businesses for events & conferences and in building entrances and reception areas. But how can we bring nature into the office in a more sustainable way?  Great Forest recently met with Irene Woodard of True Blooms to find out more.

GF: Why are flower arrangements important for businesses concerned about sustainability?

IW: Often flowers are a first greeting in a business, even before a receptionist. Flowers arranged simply and artfully make a statement that promotes care and attention to the earth. There is so much beauty in our backyard.

GF:  What are some of the biggest mistakes businesses make in using live flowers and plants?
IW: One of the biggest mistakes is not thinking about where the plants and flowers are sourced from and then how they are disposed of. Many people are beginning to think locally about the food they eat, and it is a small step to think the same way about the plants and flowers they see. The other question people should always ask is what is in season? I love hydrangeas, but locally they are only available in summer and fall, so that is when I use them.

GF: Are there regulations that affect how you can use real plants and flowers in commercial buildings?
IW: Yes, there is building and commercial legislation about live plants and flowers. One has to get familiar with your local laws. In New York, live plants may be used for parties, unless the venue has a rule about plants. For the winter holidays, we have to follow the fire laws. For instance, holiday lights have to be on artificial wreaths and trees. However, a live wreath without lights has always been okay.

GF: Is there a big opportunity to green up the floral industry?

IW: I believe there is a huge opportunity here to evaluate how the industry can and should listen to the green consumer. Just like the food industry is responding to consumers wanting locally grown foods, the floral industry will begin to make shifts. By using local products instead of bringing plants in from far away, we reduce costs and energy consumption. So if businesses demand greener products, the floral industry will follow. And the choices for more sustainable greenery will widen, which is a good thing for everyone.

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