Knowledge for better food systems

Comparative Study of Cut Roses

This report is a life cycle comparison of the comparative GHG impacts of flowers imported to the UK from Kenya and from the Netherlands.
This report is a life cycle comparison of the comparative GHG impacts of flowers imported to the UK from Kenya and from the Netherlands. This study found it to be roughly six times less greenhouse gas intensive to import roses to the UK from Kenya than from the Netherlands, even though the former are air freighted, the reasons being:
  • The yield of roses in Kenya is approximately double that in Holland
  • The main Kenyan energy source is geothermal, whereas the Dutch is mainly fossil fuel
  • Roses grown in Kenya have the advantage of natural heat and light when compared to Holland where heating and lighting is needed
  • Roses are packed and transported in specially designed boxes which are very efficient to air freight and are densely packed
The study takes a year-round average perspective. Note that the relative GHG balance between Dutch and Kenyan roses will be different during the European summer months when little or no heating and lighting will be needed. An earlier published Dutch study: Vringer, K., and Blok, K. (2000). The energy requirement of cut flowers and consumer options to reduce it. Resources, Conservation and Recycling 28 pp 3-28 comes to similar conclusions for out-of-season flowers.
 

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