With Mother’s Day just one month away, Christopher McCann, president of 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, INC., is set to appear on the season finale of the CBS hit reality series, Undercover Boss. For those who may have not tuned in, Undercover Boss follows high-level chief executives as they go incognito to work alongside the employees working at the frontlines of their companies. While we here at the International Labor Rights Forum appreciate that Mr. McCann takes the time to interact one-on-one with his employees, we also feel it necessary that the same focus be put towards the workers who grow, harvest and package the flowers that have kept his business thriving for more than 30 years. These are of course the workers in the flower industries of countries like Colombia and Ecuador.
Since 2003, ILRF has promoted the labor rights of workers in the cut flower industry through our Fairness in Flowers Campaign. Knowing of the grave violations that these workers are forced to endure, we thought it only fair that Mr. McCann take a trip to the fields and farms of Colombia and Ecuador so as to truly be on the most frontline position in the flower industry. So what did we do? We wrote and sent him a letter!
Furthermore, we hope that gaining a new perspective on such conditions will push the entire company to expand on their corporate social responsibility of providing the public with a code of conduct that applies to all levels of the supply chain. Although I was able to find the corporation’s Code of Business Conduct and Ethics for the Board of Directors, Officers and Employees, the document failed to include any information on the working conditions of the workers at the root of the flower industry. The same can be said for all of the company’s Corporate Governance section of their Investor Relations website page http://investor.1800flowers.com/governance.cfm. If you’re looking to invest in 1-800-FLOWERS.COM then by all means, read away! However, for us less stock market savvy people, the page definitely needs a boost in laying out the facts and figures of their supply chain. Furthermore, it is really important for this company to be more transparent about how it enforces any policies that they may have that impacts farmworkers.
At the end of the day, we know that ultimately we have no control over someone else’s actions. We can however take things into our own hands and start making a difference today. Click here to learn how you can support flower workers worldwide and begin impacting the lives of those who provide us the bouquets that brighten up our kitchens and cubicles.