ORGANIC FARMING AND SOCIAL IMPACT
From day one, we chose organic ingredients as a non-negotiable aspect of our products.
Organic certification is the only way to verify that specific practices are being implemented. These foods are never irradiated and are produced without the use of genetically modified organisms (GMO’s), relatively recent technologies without sufficient research proving their safety. The certification also confirms food is produced without the use of persistent pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, or sewage sludge. Not only do these substances use energy and resources in their production, they also contribute to soil degradation and ocean dead zones. Without organic certification, there is no way to prove that organic practices are used.
There are no guidelines regarding the word (or any variant of the word) “sustainable.” Without any certification program, there is no proof needed to make the claim that a company or product is sustainable. When we speak about our sustainability, we are speaking of our ecosystem-based business model.
Because we don’t thermal-pasteurize or sterilize our products, they’re only as good as the ingredients that go inside. Forming partnerships with communities that value quality and organic farming practices is rooted in our attention to long-term growth. These partnerships offer a stable option for employment and income where there once was none.
Happily, our promise of a long-term presence is acting as an incentive to others. We are in a position to help certify farmers who convert to organic farming methods and are approved through audit. This creates healthier environments with less chemical fertilizers and pesticides, and communities with long-term steady incomes.
After four years of planning and work, Harmless Harvest succeeded in obtaining our Fair for Life - Social & Fair Trade Certification in 2014.
Our partnership with Fair for Life means making the deliberate choice to increase the level of difficulty and complexity in almost all facets of business. The certification means that Harmless Harvest is committed to paying fair prices for goods like our coconut water. The price takes into account what ingredients cost, factoring in living wages for all those involved in its growth, harvest, and production. We will not do business with an entity that has cut corners at the expense of its workers or the environment. Additionally, Fair for Life mandates a premium to fund improvement projects that are determined by the people who are intended to benefit from them, rather than an outside agency.
With this partnership we are establishing our commitment to long-term relationships with like-minded businesses, even when that commitment could negatively impact our bottom line. In a world where small entities are regularly decimated when their large accounts abandon them in favor of short-term cheaper options, we are building and sustaining partnerships that understand the inevitable highs and lows of business, particularly in the farming sector.
Extensive audits are performed yearly, with the results posted on Fair for Life’s website. Here are our results so far:
Harmless Harvest has been meticulous about setting up their business to benefit fair trade, the environment, and health. The company has set up a subsidiary in Thailand to ensure excellent working conditions at the factory, and has gotten the subsidiary certified Fair for Life. The US company has grown exponentially since its inception, and the company has maintained great benefits and salaries during this growth. This coming year will be the first that the company will generate a fair trade premium, and it is looking forward to creating funds for health- and education-related improvements in Thailand.
Rather than simply sticking a label on our packaging for a marketing boost, we chose an expert, long-term partner to help us continuously improve our social practices from plant to shelf. This is an achievement that we share with the retailers and customers that believed in us early on. It is only through their support, and the resources that came with it, that we have been able to reinvest in our local communities in Thailand and the United States.