Our Sustainable Development Commitments

Flamingo Horticulture is headquartered in the UK and is a vertically integrated horticultural business that grows, processes, packages, markets, and distributes cut flowers and premium, freshly prepared vegetables. Over 12,000 people owe their livelihoods to Flamingo and it is the largest vertically integrated, value-added producer and exporter of fresh produce and flowers to the EU. Customers include blue-chip UK retailers such as Tesco, Marks and Spencer, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose, as well as other international customers in South Africa, Europe and the Middle East.

Since the company was founded in 1982, farming sustainably and responsibly has been a core commitment throughout our operations, and has been further developed as the business has expanded to work with other producers around the world. As an agricultural business we are intimately linked to the natural environment and we understand the volatility, uncertainty, complex and ambiguous factors (VUCA) affecting our and our partners operations.

Flamingo recognises the challenges described in the Foresight report (2011) on the Future of Food and Farming and the drivers of change affecting farming, the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as well as the UN Sustainable Development goals to promote sustainable agriculture. In 1982, when the company was founded, the world population was 4.6 billion people and today standards at 7.4 billion people with the trend projected to continue to 9.6 billion people by 2050. Competition for key resources such as water, natural resource depletion, changes in the size and nature of per capita demand and climate change are other factors causing concern currently. Clearly, sustainable practices which safeguard our environment are essential to protect the future of generations to come. Flamingo has made sure that this responsibility to future generations is reflected and understood throughout the company, and covers all areas of the business, at all levels. This commitment to a sustainable future is consistent and develops and influences the decisions we take. We seek to develop our understanding of the political, social and environmental issues that affect us to better inform our decision making. The Flamingo sustainability strategy outlines our commitments and values for a sustainable future and the steps necessary to implement it. In 2008, we conducted an exhaustive review across the business, with the purpose of formulating a working and realistic strategy. Our vision is of a business and communities where we operate thriving in a future that is sustainable. The sustainability commitments outlined in the review guide our actions and our top-line commitments of Freedom, Integrity, Responsibility, Mutuality, Innovation and Quality guide our actions:

Freedom – entrepreneurialism and empowerment.

  • We aim to make Flamingo an employer of choice and make it an enjoyable and rewarding place to work, that nurtures and develops our people for the benefit of the individual, the company, and the community
  • Proactive in supporting an equitable and ethical trading environment for our products
  • Reward our employees for achieving the company’s business objectives

Integrity – strong ethical principles to both protect and enhance our brand.

  • Behave with honesty and integrity. “Do the right thing”
  • Treat our employees fairly, with dignity and respect
  • Develop our employees life and business skills
  • Empower all our employees to make their voices heard through democratic worker representative bodies.
  • Communicate openly with our supply chain, the local community, pressure groups and the wider public about the case for sustainable development
  • Demonstrate leadership in equal opportunity employment, thriving as an ethnically and culturally diverse company
  • Encourage and facilitate female representation and their contribution to the business
  • Educate our employees on the values and principles of sustainable development
  • Take a collaborative approach to addressing sustainability challenges and policy, engaging with growers, suppliers, customers, government, NGOs, union and industry bodies

Responsibility – creating a sustainable organisation for the future.

  • Regularly review our businesses performance taking action to increase the long term sustainability of our business portfolio over time.
  • Make the true cost of production (economic, environmental and social) clear and ensure, over time, that it is reflected in the price of the product.
  • Understand the likely impact of climate change and develop appropriate adaptation measures for our operations and the communities in which we operate.
  • Undertake to be carbon restorative and minimise use of other greenhouse gases
  • Continuously improve our resource management and reduce our waste generation
  • Practice excellence in our management of water resources; Undertake leadership in community watershed management
  • Reduce and eliminate the use and release of pollutants wherever possible
  • Protect and enhance biodiversity in the countries in which we operate
  • Maintain soil health through sustainable agricultural practices and avoid soil degradation by taking measures to prevent contamination and erosion
  • Demonstrate and promote sustainable pest and disease management, eliminating any negative impact on the environment.

Mutuality – mutual trust and shared benefit for all of our stakeholders.

  • Protect the health of our workforce and promote healthier lifestyles
  • Flamingo will take an active leadership role in dealing with sustainability issues and share our knowledge for the benefit of our suppliers, communities and society in General

Innovation‎ – leading the way, outstanding thinking and creativity in all areas.

  • Explore and exploit new business opportunities presented by our skills and knowledge which are in keeping with our sustainability goals
  • Maintain sufficient diversity in both our markets and products to ensure resilience
  • Provide research and development capability exploring innovative, sustainable processes and products
  • Deploy sustainable processing technologies to increase product efficiency and competitiveness

Quality – getting it right first time, the highest standards in everything we do.

  • We will develop and provide sustainable products and services that contribute positively to the health and well-being of society
  • Quality is the uncompromising standard for our actions, and it flows from our passion and our pride in being part the Flamingo Team

Challenges and Targets

Each Flamingo Horticulture business has developed a local sustainability plan to enable short, medium and long-term improvements to the Flamingo top-line sustainability commitments and to measure waste, energy, carbon and water based upon total usage and per unit of production. These plans are backed-up with local initiatives to improve performance across all areas. We regularly detail our sustainability activities on our website.