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Be a conscientious consumer this Valentine’s

Did you set a 2018 resolution to be a more conscientious consumer? If so, Valentine’s Day is the first big consumer holiday to put those conscientious consumer skills to the test.

Valentine’s Day is a holiday full of greeting cards, bouquets of flowers and heart-shaped boxes of chocolate. In fact, the National Retail Federation estimates that the average American spends $136.57 on Valentine’s Day. The American population exchanges about 90 million greeting cards during the holiday, spending roughly $1 billion dollars (Greeting Card Association). There are over 250 million roses produced for the holiday (Society of American Florists), and $1.7 billion is spent on candy alone (National Retail Federation).

That’s a lot of love spread and shared to Valentines across the U.S., but unfortunately this consumerism doesn’t always show love to our planet. In this edition of our Conservation Blog, we’ll talk about some easy steps to show love to your Valentine and to our planet by being a conscientious consumer.

Choosing an environmentally-friendly greeting card is a very easy first step toward a green Valentine’s Day. Simply look for the Forestry Stewardship Council logo on the back of greeting cards when you’re picking out your card at the store. Why is it important to buy a card that’s FSC-certified? When you purchase products that are FSC-certified, you are supporting a company that’s following a set of 10 principles and 57 criteria to assure that the timber/trees for those products were cultivated in a sustainable way that preserves the habitat, biological diversity, water resources, soils, landscaping and unique and fragile ecosystems. In other words, that company sources their products from farms that are maintaining the ecological functions and integrity of the forest and wildlife that live there. Think about the magnitude of trees and animals’ homes that could be saved if even half of those 90 million greeting cards sent this upcoming Valentine’s Day were Forestry Stewardship Council Certified.

The next top item exchanged on Valentine’s Day: flowers. Shopping local is always a great way to be a conscientious consumer, as this eliminates the need to fly, drive, refrigerate, and/or preserve the flowers as they make their way to your supermarket, thus lowering carbon dioxide emissions. You can find local flowers at farmers’ markets and even at some supermarkets.

If you’re not able to shop locally, simply look for the Rainforest Alliance logo on the bouquet’s packaging. Did you know that 70 percent of the cut flowers sold in the U.S. are imported from Latin America? These warmer climates are not only hospitable climates for growing flowers but are also valuable homes to numerous animal species. Purchasing flowers that are Rainforest Alliance-certified helps show love to your Valentine as well as to our environment and the animals that call it home. Much like the Forestry Stewardship Council certification, this stamp of approval means that the company is sourcing their flowers from a farm that follows standards to ensure social, economic and environmental sustainability. These farms are audited regularly to ensure they are committed to biodiversity conservation, natural resource conservation, protecting endangered species, setting aside land as forest reserves, respecting the rights of local communities and improving livelihoods.

This logo will also help you being a conscientious consumer when selecting your Valentine’s Day chocolate treats. If your Valentine is not a chocolate fan, please remember to choose candy with sustainable palm oil.

Thank you for taking simple steps to being a more conscientious consumer in 2018!

Connect With Your Wild Side #onlyzooatl