Sustainability Rant #2 – July 31, 2017

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What does “sustainability” mean?

For the past 20 or so years international companies have been talking about their “Sustainability Programs”.

We supply a couple of the international cosmetic companies. Recently one of them did a Sustainability Survey and our “sustainability” was evaluated and rated in the 70th percentile. This by a company that uses 4 layers of packaging when they sell you a single one ounce skin cream that invariably includes a significant number of petrochemicals and probably nothing organic.

Oddly, they liked that we replaced our lights with LEDs – they seem to think light conservation is more important than the ingredients they use.

None-the-less, I was irritated by the rating – hence the rant.

So – to be VERY clear (as everyone in DC seems to be saying these days), this is what Oh, Oh considers minimal sustainability practices & procedures for an ingredient business:

First – what is the principle statement of your “Sustainability Plan”? Ours is: We are committed to practices that looks at the long-term environmental impact of actions and decisions by our company, especially with reference to our major business activity. Decisions should be constantly re-evaluated and updated (on-going improvement).

So – what are some Sustainable Activities?

  • We sell ingredients as our major business so all of our products should be renewable:
    • Oh, Oh sells ONLY Certified Organic Agriculturally derived ingredients
    • We re-cycling everything possible. Goal: have less and less in the “garbage” can.
    • How do you use water? Much going down the drain? How can you change that?
    • Constantly assess packaging materials and look for more renewable alternatives.
    • Hire good people who care, train them, and pay them decently – it is your team. You need to depend on them. Let them go if it is not a good fit.
    • Try to provide health care to full time employees. (It took us 10 years but – it feels so good).
    • Think about freight impacts – we focus on the West Coast. We do offer a few things for our East Coast customers from a warehouse in NJ – we hope to open a full warehouse in NJ next year.

Then:

  • Practice what you preach:
    • Eat organic as much as possible.
    • Buy a hybrid or an electric car or a bike. Take public transit.
    • If you can’t do the above due to money – family – whatever – make a plan to get there (see “on-going improvement”).
    • You can always try again tomorrow.

And no – we are not certified to multiple various privates Standards. We are too small and too smart to pay 5 different companies to fly people to inspect our legal organic handling operation. We are not going to add to air pollution to have someone tell us that our skylight and roll up doors are a great replacement for electric lights. We are not going to pay for some volunteer ”sustainability” company that doesn’t care or practice what they preach and has no accountability.

We do pay to be certified to a Federal Law (7 CFR part 205) – under the USDA National Organic Program. Sustainable practices are measured in the regulation! We are inspected every year. All of our suppliers are also certified to this program (except the Non-GMO Tocopherol – they are certified to the ISO program that is law in the EU).

I want grandchildren and I want them to be able to enjoy this planet. Let’s get on it folks!

 

 

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