We define sustainably sourced botanicals as those that are certified organic, Fair Trade certified, or sourced from our own Well Earth partners. We are committed to increasing the amount of certified organic, Well Earth, and Fair Trade crops we purchase every year. Agriculture has significant impact on the quality and availability of water, climate change, biodiversity and soil quality. There are also unfair farm labor practices and small farmers' rights problems around the world. We believe that organic and sustainable crop production are imperatives for creating a healthy, just, and balanced world.
|Sustainably Sourced||2007||2008||2009||2010||2011||2012 Goal|
|% of Total Pounds Purchased||30%||39%||53%||53%||57%||60%|
Pounds of sustainably sourced botanicals have continued to increase steadily the last three years. The total is driven by our increasing purchases of certified organic botanicals, since most of our Fair Trade and Well Earth products are also certified organic. Our goal is 60% for 2012, which we hope to reach by adding more organic products in our bottled lines, dropping some non-organic products in bulk where we offer a comparable organic alternative, adding more Well Earth products, and growing organic faster than non-organic products.
Our goals for this program are to:
• Get close to the source and learn from the farmers who grow the crops
• Cut out non-value-adding intermediaries and use the resulting savings to pay higher prices to the farmers while reducing our costs
• Improve the quality of our products
• Increase our in-stock rates
• Support small farmers around the world who are committed to sustainability
• Support the expansion of organic production
• Create long-term, mutually beneficial partnerships with suppliers, based on trust and respect
In 2011, we added one new partner, a vanilla producer from Madagascar. Vanilla is our most important product, so it was a high priority to establish another Well Earth source to complement our Well Earth vanilla partner in India. Having both of our major vanilla-growing regions represented by Well Earth partners helps to guarantee a sustainable supply of excellent quality vanilla for years to come. Since Madagascar is one of the poorest countries in the world, partnering with this co-op of 38 villages allows our purchases to improve the lives of the farmers and their families. Read about a recent visit we made to talk with the farmers and help dig one of the 49 wells funded by the Simply Organic 1% fund. To see all the grants we made to Well Earth partners in 2011, visit the Community section of this report. And learn more about all of our partners here.
|Pounds Purchased (000's)||66||462||486||970||1,442|
|% of Total Purchases||1.5%||8.7%||9.1%||15%||20%|
|Number of Well Earth Partners||2||7||8||15||16|
In 2012, our goals are to reach 25% of all botanicals and botanical products (essential oils, for example) coming from Well Earth partners and to add four new Well Earth partners. While only one new partner was added last year, the groundwork was done for additional partners who will be ready to come on board in 2012.
We are in our sixth year of the program, and the benefits we and our Well Earth partners have enjoyed are many.
We gave $222,000 in grants to Well Earth partners to support learning new skills, further their knowledge of organic production, and improve their operations. And we gave $65,000 in grants in support of Well Earth farmer community development.
Because our Well Earth partners are committed to quality as well as sustainable production, finding and working with them has enabled us to improve the quality of botanicals like gotu kola, lemongrass, and nutmeg.
We have eliminated non-valued added intermediaries in the supply chain, thus reaping cost savings for Frontier and more money for the farmers.
Farmers have benefited from having a reliable partner in Frontier. Besides receiving better prices for their crops, our long-term commitment, reliability, and integrity make it easier for them to confidently plan their production. And they know we are there to aid them with any problems.
By working directing with our Well Earth partners, we can better adjust our purchases to their crop cycles and react faster to crop shortages or problems.
Finally, there is immense satisfaction resulting from the strong, enduring relationships we have built with small farmers. After initial visits begun with hopeful smiles and tentative handshakes, we return on later visits to meet with old friends, sharing a home-cooked meal, experiencing farm and village life, and seeing the ways our partnerships have exceeded all our expectations.
Of the 71 Fair Trade certified products we offer, all but 12 are also certified organic. Fair Trade purchases grew 14.5% in 2011 and nearly 212% over the last five years.
|% of Total Purchases||3.1%||4.0%||7.8%||7.2%||6.2%|
Our Fair Trade Commitment. We remain as committed as ever to the principles of Fair Trade and to supporting Fair Trade certified products. As of this writing, though, the future structure of Fair Trade certified products in the United States is uncertain. Fair Trade USA has broken away from the worldwide certification group for Fair Trade and is intending to set up a separate program which will allow certification large farms and plantations. We are very concerned about this and what it will mean in terms of the cost, availability, and integrity of Fair Trade ingredients. Our course of action is uncertain at this time, but we will study the situation as it develops and make the overall best decision for Frontier, our members, and our producers of Fair Trade botanicals.
Certified organic products are the heart of our sustainable sourcing efforts — as they have been since the 1980s. We have used third-party certification for many years, and any of our products — Aura Cacia, Frontier or Simply Organic — that are sold as organic are third-party certified organic in compliance with the National Organic Standard (NOP). All new products added in our food and flavoring business must be certified organic, and certified organic ingredients are used whenever possible in new Aura Cacia products. Both our products and manufacturing facilities are certified organic by Quality Assurance International (QAI).
|Organic Pounds Purchased (000's)||1,879||1,949||2,986||3,665||4,035|
|Organic Pounds as % of Total Pounds||30%||39%||56%||55%||56%|
|# of Certified Organic Products||NA||NA||1,117||1,230||1,295|
|WEIGH IN: Should Fair Trade certification be reserved for small farmers only or include large farms and plantations that adopt fair labor standards for their workers?|
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