WWF Canada says it with flowers: plastic is killing the environment

Who: Taxi Montreal and WWF Canada, with Wavemaker for media, Please Don’t Tell for production and Cineland for the experiential component. Directed/photographed by Jean Malek.

What: “Deadly Flora,” a new campaign urging Canadians to “choose nature” instead of plastics when it comes to selecting flowers.

When & Where: The campaign launched today (Nov. 25) and runs for the next month in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. Its centrepiece is an experiential display at a Montreal greenhouse, complemented by out-of-home and digital components.

Why: Because plastic—even in a seemingly innocuous form like flowers—is slowly killing our planet. World plastic production totalled 396 million tons in 2016, roughly half of which was intended to make life more convenient, such as bottles, bags and straws.

Much of this plastic eventually ends up in landfills, says the WWF. In less than 60 years, it has become the material most often found in the environment, with humans consuming more micro-plastics in food and water every year.

“Plastic is ubiquitous in our lives, and it’s easy to be seduced by the aesthetics and practicality of artificial flowers,” said George Giampuranis, executive creative director, Taxi Montreal. “Unfortunately, the growing popularity of plastic plants is proof of this. Eventually, this plastic will end up in the environment.” 

Plastic flowers represent just a small segment of our increased plastic consumption, but are growing in popularity. According to a report from IndustryResearch earlier this year, the global artificial flower market—which in addition to plastic also includes silk, clay, paper and porcelain—was valued at US$1.6 billion in 2018, reaching $2.5 billion by the end of 2025.

How: The campaign is constructed around the exhibit in a Montreal greenhouse featuring attractive plastic plants bearing names that reflect their artificial nature, such as Pseudotigea and Antropa polyethylene.

Each plant is accompanied by a short blurb outlining its destructive power, such as the fact that it can take up to 1,000 years to decompose, or they are responsible for the 52,000 microplastic particles that could be consumed by the average human each year.

“We chose plastic plants as an ironic symbol of our alienation from nature,” says Rafi Belmesk, vice-president, head of strategy at Taxi. “They reproduce what gives our planet life with the material that strangles it.”

Taxi also created a dedicated website (DeadlyFlora.com) and a poster campaign highlighting the fictitious fauna.

And we quote: “The well-being of citizens and our urban resiliency depend on nature, which offers a range of benefits called ecosystem services. The protection, restoration and enhancement of nature and biodiversity are essential not only for humans but also for wildlife.” —Sophie Paradis, director for Quebec, WWF-Canada.



Chris Powell