Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Green Flowers Bloom at Marriott Hotels

Just in time for Valentine's Day, Marriott becomes the first hotel company to offer green flowers at events and meetings.

But, you say -- the photo is a bouquet of red roses, not green roses.
Green flowers as in organic flowers, grown without chemical pesticides.

U.S. consumers spend more than $200 billion annually -- yes, that's billion with a "B" -- on socially and environmentally responsible products. Environmentally grown flowers is a growing (sorry, I couldn't resist that pun) part of that market.

Many flowers, including the perfect red roses so popular on Valentine's Day, are imported from South America, where they are grown often with pesticides that are banned in the United States. These chemicals are causing health problems for many flower workers, killing birds, and polluting the water -- the same reasons the pesticides were banned in the USA.

Marriott becomes the first hotel company to offer organic and sustainably-grown flowers for weddings, meetings and other events. The organic flowers will be available at some -- not all -- Marriott hotels in North America, as well as at the company's Rennaissance Hotels, and at prices comparable to similar non-organic flowers.

The organic flowers are from Organic Bouquet, widely recognized as the pioneer of the eco-flower market in the U. S. Organic flowers are grown with organic and ecological practices that minimize damage to ecosystems, conserve biodiversity, and enhance environmental quality for future generations. Oh, yes -- avoiding pesticides also helps improve the health of farm workers.

If you are buying flowers for Valentine's Day, look for arrangements of organic and certified sustainably-grown flowers. And if you are buying flowers for a event at a hotel or restaurant, ask the catering manager to do the same.

Marriott's commitment to the environment spans more than 20 years, before Green Travels and sustainable tourism became buzzwords, and has been recognized repeatedly by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and leads the industry with more than 250 ENERGY STAR hotels.

The company is on track to reduce its carbon footprint by one million tons over 10 years from 2000 to 2010.