This is the second in a series of three blog posts about our company values.
If you missed the first post, check it out here and learn more about how we are on a first name basis with our farmers – something we are very proud of!
Next up …Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability!
Being diligent when it comes to our impact on the Earth has always been a priority for us, even before we founded our company 19 years ago. When we decided to go into business, especially a business that imports products from other parts of the world, we took our responsibility to the planet seriously.
Right from the get-go, we made business decisions that were out of step with common business practices, but in line with our own values and our desire to care for the Earth.
Simply put, we make decisions that are better for the planet even when they cost us more.
Here’s a list of all the ways we put the environment before profit:
- From the first tonne of tea we shipped from South Africa back in 2003, we have very intentionally chosen to ship our products by sea freight rather than air. Even though air freight is faster and much more convenient, this is a decision we’re proud of, especially in light of our current climate emergency. We wish more companies would follow our lead.
- Our farmers put stewardship of the earth first and foremost as well, using sustainable farming practices. Frans, our South African Rooibos farmer has a PhD in Botany and goes to great lengths to preserve and protect the delicate semi-arid ecosystem where he farms. In India, our farmers plant food forests, where multiple crops grow harmoniously and life thrives, rather than mono-cropping, which negatively impacts the soil and the ecosystem. They also turn cow dung into fuel using biogas digesters (read more about this cutting edge technology in our last post!).
- In our packaging facility, we take recycling seriously, reusing cardboard boxes over and over, until finally, at the end of the box’s life, it becomes mulch for our garden! We also recycle all of our plastic, both soft and crinkly, plus all glass, metal, hard plastics, and paper.
- We compost all food scraps, all product waste and never put an expired or damaged product in the landfill. And due to stringent health guidelines, we go through a lot of paper towels in our facility, but not a single one of them ends up in the landfill! They are the secret sauce for making compost at our little farm on Cortes Island, adding a much needed ‘carbon’ brown layer to our compost heaps. Also, our vermi- composting (worms) system loves them!
- Outside our office, you’ll always see a few bikes! That’s because we happily offer a financial incentive in the form of C02 stars to our staff for commuting to work by bike or on foot.
- We take our team out in good weather to pick up garbage and care for a local park and trail network near our facility. It’s good for us and good for the environment!
- We use local BC companies to supply our packaging and labels and include recycling directions/instructions on all of our packaging. A shout-out to the team at River Ink, who prints all our tea and grinder labels right here in Campbell River!
- We use alternatives to plastic wherever possible and are part of a Sustainable Packaging Task Force. Together with other small and medium enterprises, we work to find long term solutions to keeping plastic out of landfills and oceans.
In a time where “greenwashing” is common, we pride ourselves on actually putting our money where our mouth is. We like to think this is one of the things that makes our company unique – we don’t put our own bottom line first. We have a sneaking suspicion that you might care about this too!
Thanks for reading and stay tuned for our third and last post in this ‘values’ series – all about community building!