Adding a lively splash of colour and natural beauty to Little Stanley St for over 10 years is Flowers of the World boutique florist, café and gift shop. Inspired by nature, owner Anja and her 10 staff operate a thriving business built on a commitment to sustainability.
There are 4 key drivers across the business:
- To improve their brand and café experience;
- To achieve energy and dollar savings;
- To become the leading florist known for sourcing local flowers and café produce; and
- To encourage repeat business due to the integrity and trust customers have in the staff and store.
Business values drive better business practices
Moving towards sustainability in the business was not an overnight decision made in isolation for Flowers of the World. Their move into sustainable practices was more organic. Reading, research and talking to their customers provided information and insight, and the more information they gathered the more the enthusiasm for sustainability grew.
When it came to energy efficiency Anja looked at it in the following way: “Discipline is freedom….No Discipline is chaos….we need to be more disciplined in our electricity usage”.
Case Study Snapshot - Measures implemented
After a full assessment of the ways her business used energy, Anja identified that energy usage within the business was highest in two key areas which would be their focus for identifying and implementing efficiency opportunities, these being refrigeration and lighting.
Of course, in a florist, the cold room is one of the major contributors to their energy bill. You have to keep flowers cool, so the business took the approach to do what they had to do, but do it smarter. So having a high humidity (cool) room in a florist is unavoidable but what is avoidable is wasted energy.
The industry norm is to run a flower cold room at 4 degrees however Flowers of the World are living proof that flowers will thrive at a temperature of 8.5 degrees. The colder you set your fridge to run, the more energy it takes to cool to that temperature.
Flowers of the world made changes in their lighting also. They replaced existing lights with LED lights, but more importantly they recognised the value of the natural light that comes in through their floor-to-ceiling glass walls on each street frontage.
We often forget that natural light is sufficient for some businesses who operate during the day so the lights can be turned off to take advantage of the free light from the sun.
Simple changes to just two of the most significant contributors to the energy bill has resulted in a cost reduction of more than 33%.
Staff engagement, industry recognition
The staff of Flowers of the World live and breathe the sustainability message and Anja attributes the staff engagement to a simple approach: light their flame and bring out their passion. Staff are continuously looking for ways to make the way they do things better for the business and the community.
Flowers of the World also take their sustainability message to the community, hosting sustainability networking over drinks once a month, serving local organic wines and beers and gluten free meals and snacks from their café.
In a period of economic downturn which has seen a number of small businesses close down, Flowers of the World have recorded a 20% increase in revenue which owner Anja attributes to the shop’s sustainability approach.
- Along with the economic advantages that sustainability and, most notably, energy efficiency has brought to Flowers of the World, it has also seen an increase in the commitment to social responsibility from all members of staff.
- A staff member once said “we can’t be sustainable, we are a consumer business”. The response to her from Anja was definitive: “if we can encourage or inspire others to make sustainable choices then this will assist us to reduce our carbon footprint”.
- Changing the approach of businesses in their supply chain is an example of how this can be done - Flowers of the World elects not to source flowers from farms that use lighting to stimulate the growth of their flowers and only to use those that stimulate growth naturally.
Flowers of the World are aware that they will need to invest both time and money if they are to achieve even greater energy savings. They have identified a number of other lights in the showroom that need to be replaced and have a plan in place to ensure this happens in the near future.