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Quebec Gleanings by Rita Truba: May 2006
Ecuador is now the second largest exporter of cut flowers to the United States, after Columbia. Critics have vociferously complained that this country employs child labour and its workers punished for trying to form unions, while many suffer from pesticide poisoning. The European market for ‘green’ and ‘organic’ flowers has been putting such pressure on Ecuadorian rose growers that three-quarters are now responding by applying for certification to show they meet basic environmental and labour standards. Though the market for ‘green/organic’ is still small in the U.S., perhaps our own Canadian florists and fresh flower importers, who deal with U.S. suppliers, could make a difference by insisting on ‘green/organic’ labels. This would help push the North American market for even greater global social changes.