All Our Blooming RESPONSIBILITY
At Jacqui O, our purpose is to create the world’s most breathtaking wedding and event florals, bringing natural beauty to our clients. We aim to connect people and the environment through planet-friendly designs and build relationships by delighting our clients, suppliers and freelancers through our authentic, knowledgeable, truthful and caring approach. Our aim is to balance people, profit and planet, as sustainability is at the heart of our business.
Nature has always been close to our hearts at Jacqui O. From spending hours sitting under a tree on the family farm observing and sketching flowers as a child, to founding a rooted, sustainable business that brings clients’ dreams and celebrations to life by creating unique and mesmerising floral arrangements for their weddings, our work ultimately involves bringing nature to our clients by creating sensuous arrangements, for memories to cherish forever.
What we are doing now…
It is part of our mission at Jacqui O to drive sales through beautiful, planet-friendly products, at the same time as contributing to a greener world as it’s our responsibility to be the keeper of beauty as we depend on the earth for our profession.
Here are some of the things we are currently doing to be an authentic, caring business:
Bee friendly, Bee Kind
In 2017 we launched our ‘Bee friendly flowers’, forging strong working relationships with other businesses we trust in Cheshire and sometimes in Lincolnshire and Cornwall. As well as eliminating air miles, buying locally reduces our waste as the flowers do not come wrapped in plastic, with elastic bands. Our ‘bee friendly’ blooms have also provided food and a habitat to a vast variety of wildlife in rural Cheshire before we use them in our luxurious arrangements. We actively encourage our clients to choose this range as the Cheshire blooms are picked fewer than 10 miles away.
‘Best of both’, sourcing the very best flowers grown near and far
In 2019 we introduced ‘Best of Both’, where 90% of our flowers are locally sourced, depending on availability, and the remaining 10% come from abroad from suppliers who care and demonstrate good working, growing and environmental practices. Our specialist growers produce the very best blooms, with the sweetest fragrances and tantalising textures you just can't help but touch! We also nurture a few of our favourite flowers and foliages in our very own secret garden. We have fragrant herbs such as rosemary and mint, ‘bunny tail’ meadow grasses and romantic peonies, to name a few, adding a personal touch and a little magic to our artistic creations. These are limited and exclusive to our luxury weddings as this is also my sanctuary of tranquillity and relaxation, watching the butterflies, counting the bees and listening to the song of the blackbirds and robins who are welcomed visitors in my little oasis.
‘All around the world’, importing flowers from sustainable growers who care
Where we import flowers from ‘all around the world' to meet the needs of clients, we only source from countries which have rigorous sustainability standards and hold a MPS A+ leader qualification for the best environmental performance. Otherwise, we make it our priority to import from countries with good growing conditions that don’t use artificial light, heating or chemicals and demonstrate social responsibility to their local community. For example, some of our growers reuse rainwater to hydrate their flowers, and solar panels to heat their greenhouses, while buying selected roses from Colombia supports a programme to help workers, many of whom are single mothers, to buy their own homes.
‘FRESH & FAUX’ fusing silk and fresh fragrant florals to reduce waste
We’ll be honest – sourcing is complex. As eco-conscious consumers, we would love to always buy local. But different flowers need different environments to flourish so this year we have introduced silk flowers into our designs, which can be used when some items aren’t in their natural growing season, they can also be reused at multiple events to save money for the client and also reduce our stem wastage.
Potted Plants that can be reused, shared and love
From time to time, we use plants in our floral installations and tablescapes so they can be nurtured, reclaimed and reused for future events. They can easily double up as living keepsakes for you and your guests after the big day too.
CREATIVITY AND DESIGN
Using and exploring sustainable techniques and compostable design
We rely on our expert knowledge to employ sustainable practices and techniques in our designs, using our creativity to find alternative methods and more natural materials to form a base, such as chicken wire, moss or twig structures. We aim to make our designs completely compostable if possible and often reclaim and recycle components.
Enjoying, Sharing or Donating wedding flowers after the event
We believe the ceremony flowers should be repurposed so their natural beauty can be enjoyed for a little longer, while reducing the environmental impact on the world. We actively encourage our clients to take their flowers home to enjoy, are the love with their guests or we can donate your blooms to a local hospice, care home or our client’s chosen charity. Once our beautiful blooms have reached the end of their life, we encourage clients to dry and press a few selected stems as a keepsake.
Avoiding waste when planning floral masterpieces
We always consider and plan the quantity of flowers and foliage we expect to use in our designs very carefully. This helps to cut down on any green waste for composting or recycling, as we hate waste. Jacqui grew up with her grandad always saying “waste not want not”. Our floristry vessels and props continue to be reinvented for our clients’ weddings and events and every dent and mark has its own story. Our design ethos is to look to refuse what we don’t need, reduce what we don’t need, reuse what we have, recycle what we can’t refuse and compost the rest.
WASTE & RECYCLING
Embracing recycling: every beautiful thing has a story
All our green waste is separated from any cardboard and recycled or composted and returned back into nature. Any large boxes from flower deliveries are returned to the wholesalers for re-use. Any flowers delivered in water vessels are saved and reused in our installations and floral creations over and over again. We look to everyday objects for inspiration in 2021 at RHS Tatton flower show Jacqui used recycled plastic milk bottles as her vessel and the honeycomb shelving was made from recycled garden decking as she looked to grow more bee-friendly flowers in her garden. Last year's exhibition was about clearing the fallen branches in the local communal green and using them as a chicken wire armature alternative.
Saving every drop of water we can
We conserve water wherever possible, by using any excess to water our own gardens. Jacqui harvests rainwater from her home studio to fill her floral buckets and water her plants as every little helps.
Reducing emissions when delivering
Our delivery routes are carefully planned to ensure the most direct route is used and reduce fuel emissions. A few of our ‘illustrious’ bouquets and donated wedding flowers were emission-free delivery in 2022 as they were delivered on foot.
Cutting out paper from our daily life
We have streamlined our floral journey we only send electronic copies of documents to clients, and enquiries and orders are entered into our order system to eliminate paper waste and help us to be more efficient.
Holding meetings online, reducing car emissions one meeting at a time
Our client's floral journey and experience are important to us our consultations and review meetings are held online to avoid unnecessary car travel and give the gift of time back to our clients.
PEOPLE & COMMUNITY
Tree-planting restoring the wild
In 2022, we planted over 20 trees for every wedding with our UK partner, www.thefutureforestcompany.com, to restore native woodlands and wildlife habitats in areas destroyed by humans. Each couple received a personalised e-certificates of their tree and the public has the right to roam. This gives our clients and the public time for forest bathing, it’s the simple method of being calm and quiet amongst the trees, observing nature around you whilst breathing deeply can help both adults and children de-stress and boost health and well-being in a natural way.
Investing in our floral community
As a growing business, we don’t just have a responsibility to look after our planet. It’s on us to give back to those around us too. That's why we support the floral designers of tomorrow for the last three years we have provided work experience to the students studying in the local horticultural college as they start their journey in the flower industry. We are committed to creating an inclusive workplace where we exploit people’s talents to allow them to thrive and develop their floristry skills.
Coaching and mentoring freelancers supporting them to be the best
We are committed to creating an inclusive workplace where we exploit people’s talents to allow them to thrive and develop their skills. In 2022 our stylists were encouraged to try their hand at floristry, it was lovely to see them develop their skills. We believe our freelancers deserve a wage which meets everyday needs that’s why we pay above the recommended living wage.
Giving a little love to causes close to our hearts
Every year, we select a charity and donate either time and/or raffle prizes. In 2022 we gifted an ‘illustrious’ bouquet RRP of £288 to raise funds for Nantwich Town Disability Football, which provide football sessions for all ages and all disabilities.
What will we be doing next?
At Jacqui O, it’s our responsibility to be the keepers of natural beauty, as we are dependent on the earth for our profession. We aim to be a leader in inspiring clients with breath-taking, sensuous florals and a first-class wedding journey, so we are constantly investing in our sustainability journey, seeking ways in which we can build on our knowledge and create designs without causing further harm to our planet.
Here are some of the things we are committed to working towards:
Moving to recyclable packaging one wrap at a time
As our stock of existing cellophane wrapping depletes, we will move to wrapping our ‘illustrious’ gift bouquets in recyclable paper. We will also introduce a ‘bring your own’ or ‘rent-a-vase’ scheme to reduce and eliminate packaging.
Using sustainable & compostable materials in our approach
We plan to move all our Christmas wreaths to compostable willow frames and decorate them in a more sustainable manner, for example, using fewer accessories and making those that we do use more natural, such as replacing wire binding with string. We will also promote a recycling scheme for wreaths to ensure as little as possible goes to landfill, and we will replace the environmentally harmful floral foam used in our funeral tributes with fully compostable materials.
WASTE & RECYCLING
Naturally dried flower petals, leaves and stems perfect for confetti throwing
We will turn unwanted petals and leaves into confetti and build on drying flowers our leftover flowers for use in the winter to add longevity to the season and reduce our waste and giving our clients unique sustainable choices.
Reducing the use of man-made plastics
We will keep plastic use to a minimum and only use it where alternatives are not feasible. While we are unable to recycle single-use plastic wraps at this stage, we will look to use our knowledge and experience, and influence the wedding and floral industry in finding alternative materials and choose those where possible who supply their flowers without wraps use eco-friendly alternatives.
OUR BUSINESS PRACTICES
Investing in sustainability for a sustainable future
Investing in personal and professional development is one of our missions, and we are looking to invest in sustainable courses to help find alternative design methods. We also hope to gain our Sustainability accreditation from the Wedding sustainability alliance in 2023.
Hiring props online giving clients an ethical choice
By winter 2023 we will introduce an online prop hiring shop to prevent the need for clients to purchase additional items they will be able to readily see our products and hire those suitable for their special occasions.
Calculating our carbon footprint giving us great transparency
We will investigate our carbon emissions by calculating our footprint emissions, through the collective climate action platform, Ecologi. We will also look for continuous improvements by making a conscious effort to make reductions and offset where needed.
Keeping clients informed on our sustainable practices
We will continue to inform clients about sustainability and tell positive stories about their flowers, so they trust us to be a caring business that has sustainability at its heart.
We aim to declutter business electronics of old documents and emails, recycle/refurbish old devices, and consistently review emails sent and those received from suppliers to ensure we do not contribute to the 3% of global greenhouse emissions that the digital world currently accounts for.
We plan to purchase an electric vehicle by 2030.
PEOPLE & COMMUNITY
Supporting and connecting with the community
We will strive to make meaningful connections for our communities to thrive - as every flower has a story, so does every human. We will look to support local causes close to our hearts in our hometown, such as ‘Nantwich in bloom’. We will look to support their tree planting, sowing wildflowers and creating wildlife habitats initiatives whilst they work alongside schools, the community and in elderly peoples’ homes. We will also be attending the local Cheshire East ‘Achieving Net Zero’ conference in 2023 to make meaningful connections with those who care.
Sharing is caring and supporting the well-being of others
Our charity for 2023 is ‘Cheshire Roses’, a Nantwich charity which looks to support every woman with cancer. We plan to host complimentary ‘flowers & me’ workshops for the group to bring a little joy as studies have revealed flowers have a positive effect on mental health helping the healing process.
OUR COMMITMENT TO OUR SUSTAINABILITY PROMISES IS ONGOING AND THIS POLICY WILL BE REVIEWED ANNUALLY.
Author: J. Zerdin & J. Owen
Date: 25 Jan 2023