ORIGINE internal sustainability certification
Nature - Future - Culture
Being at origin means we are on the frontlines of sustainability. From the beginning, sustainability has been deeply ingrained in our company. Only recently are consumers and buyers becoming of aware of the tremendous value of sustainability policies and how these standards impact the quality of goods, communities, and the environment. We decided to take what we have already been doing since day one and develop our own internal fair trade standard, Nature- Future- Culture (NFC).
Why did we develop NFC?
Lack of sustainability in agriculture can have devastating effects on food safety, communities, the environment, and commodity pricing. At some point, the products every person on the planet consumes is dependent on clean water and the growth of healthy fruits, vegetables, and spices. If we don’t preserve them, the future of flavor, botanical medicine, and agricultural heritage is at risk. NFC is a certification and framework that allows for complete transparency and adaptability with a focus on evaluating and improving communication with farmers who are the cornerstone of agriculture.
Price and stability
The impact of sustainability on pricing is most evident in the vanilla bean crisis in which the cost per kilo has fluctuated from below 100USD to 660USD in the past four years alone. In 2017 the value of vanilla even began to surpass silver. Environmental disasters like Hurricane Enawo negatively impact production but the primary cause of volatile vanilla pricing is unsustainable agricultural practices amplified by speculation and monopolization. It ultimately leads to massive price drops that discourage the planting of new materials. Spice producers are not committing to farmers with long term relationships that will ensure consistent production.
Preservation and committing to the farmers
Many small farmers are solely dependent on their agricultural crops. Farmers avoid risk that could lead to loss. This means that when prices on crops drop, some farmers simply stop planting them and replace them with faster yielding crops. Especially in the case of cinnamon, which takes up to 20 years to reach maturity for harvest, this can be devastating. This is why it is so important to establish lasting relationships with farmers that reflect our commitments to them. Our business, the livelihood of the farmers, and the ability to secure top quality product for our customers is dependent on this showing farmers that we are committed to paying a fair price despite market fluctuations. We also address short term yields, a very important consideration for farmers that has immediate impact on their lives. This is why NFC encourages intercropping, which not only helps wildlife and the environment but provides farmers an economic cushion enabling them to invest in improving agricultural methods.
We can’t discuss the benefits of sustainable agriculture policies without mentioning the greater issue of climate change. It is estimated that while around 1.9 million species have been described by scientists, that there are 10-50 million in existence with more and more becoming extinct every year. Indonesia particularly is one of the most biodiverse nations in the world, spanning over 17k islands with unique ecosystems. We want to reduce our impact.
Each plant has a unique impact on its environment and the community it grows in. We recognized the need for specificity when developing NFC. We look at each crop within its community to design standards that consider the ecosystem and planet as a whole.
NFC- Bringing our sustainable agriculture goals to life
We respect the environment and aim to preserve biodiversity.
Farmers make a commitment not to harvest protected animal or plant species. Our suppliers must prove the legality of their water resources, demonstrate reasonable water usage, and account for the quality of runoff water. We promote energy efficiency and encourage farmers to minimize their carbon footprint. We urge the use renewable energy sources where possible. Waste management criteria is applicable to all actors along supply chain. Actors must ensure organic and synthetic waste is collected properly. NFC also promotes composting and recycling.
In order to better answer the needs of tomorrow, it is necessary to create strong and lasting relationships that allow for open communication between all actors.
We develop case by case long-standing agreements with our farmers to plan and implement our mutual investment decisions. A premium per kilo price of raw material is necessary for fair compensation to implement NFC. Working environments must respect human rights and be optimal for all employees. All contracts and agreements are recorded and respect International Labour Organization (ILO) requirements.
We use unique criteria for each crop because they require different growing methods, but all involve a culture of sustainability.
Documentation and traceability are essential in ensuring the proper application of NFC. Traceability starts even before sourcing. Land management practices must be documented from the date good are planted until harvest. Not just the product must be traceable, but all agreements, contracts, and financial records must be documented. NFC lots must be separated from any other production or NFC certification is not be considered.
Any tools or dangerous mechanisms involved in production process must be stored safely. NFC also specifies raw material control, transport, and criteria for selection of new plots that farmers wish to certify. NFC members receive an internal audit from an established Internal Control System (ICS) team as well as external audit led by an ORIGINE team member. Each product has a handbook detailing criteria of NFC standards for a more sustainable future.
We invite stakeholders to conduct external audits led by our one of sustainability team members so that they can see NFC in action but also have a greater understanding for why specific criteria were chosen.
Our primary areas of focus are:
What does it mean when I buy ORIGINE NFC?
When you support companies that use sustainable agricultural practices like NFC, demand increases for crops to be grown in a way that does not put soil, waterways, and wildlife at risk.
Not only do you ensure the availability and affordability of crops like vanilla and cinnamon, but you preserve cultural traditions and strengthen our increasingly fragile relationship with nature.
Look out for the NFC seal on our products. Our goal is for all of our supply chains to be NFC-certified by 2020!