Sustainable business blog

Flamingo Group: a global ethical, sustainable and scalable winning business

biz4Biz returned with another packed ConneXions lunch event at the Novotel Stevenage on Thursday 23 June 2022. Our guest speaker was Ian Michell, Group Technical and Procurement Director at Stevenage-based Flamingo Group International (FGI), one of the largest specialist agribusinesses in Europe. Ian will talk about how Flamingo became an ethical, sustainable and scalable winning business.

FGI is a market-leading business in the UK and European horticulture market that delivers quality flowers, produce and plants to UK major retailers and online home delivery retailers from their farms in Kenya and Ethiopia and a trusted network of global partner suppliers.

FGI currently employs just over 24,000 staff globally, and the business was recently awarded the Gold Standard from One Carbon World for achieving carbon neutrality on their vertically integrated farming, supply, and distribution.

FGI has been selling Fairtrade flowers and produce since 2007 and has contributed over $10m to community projects and support in Kenya and Ethiopia for the education, health and welfare of the communities surrounding their farms.

From first producing beans and strawberries in 1982 to becoming the world’s largest grower of fresh cut roses, FGI has a history of pioneering people and new ideas. The company has a turnover of £701m and employs more than 20,000 people across numerous locations around the globe.

The group is a core supplier of cut flowers and fresh produce to most of the leading UK multiple retailers, including Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Marks and Spencer, Waitrose and Morrisons, as well as internationally to customers in Europe, South Africa, the Middle East, Japan and Australia.

FGI is an ESG leader in the horticulture industry, and is focused on being a force for good in the world.

Strong impact in communities:

  • Free healthcare via its own hospital
  • Education through two owned schools and school donations
  • High-quality jobs and sustainable salaries
  • Feeding programmes for children including 5,000 free meals a day to schools in Naivasha, Kenya
  • Provides clean drinking water to hundreds of families

Carbon footprint – FGI has achieved:

  • 100% Carbon Neutrality on all own-grown production (35% of sales value)
  • Working closely with its partner growers to also be carbon neutral by 2025
  • CO2 emissions are six times lower by producing in east Africa versus Europe

Environmental impact – best-farming practices include:

  • The use of Integrated Pest Management
  • Closed water systems and rainwater capture
  • Multi-crop ecosystems
  • Growing all year round in east Africa

FGI owned farms are 100 per cent Fairtrade certified, regardless of retailers’ requirements.

Ian Mitchell Flamingo Group

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