We don’t just talk the talk – we want to walk the sustainable walk. To be a truly responsible business, we manage and measure our environmental impact and strive to minimize our footprint. The old adage “You can’t manage what you don’t measure” is really true in our experience.
Since our beginnings, we’ve been striving to minimize waste, prevent pollution and conserve resources. Working sustainably involves everyone at Traditional Medicinals®, from our sales representatives (many of whom drive hybrid electric vehicles or alternative fuel vehicles) to the operations and quality control folks (who produce our teas at a solar-powered manufacturing plant in Sebastopol, CA).
In policy and practice we have implemented energy conservation and efficiency practices like installing energy-efficient lighting fixtures, occupancy sensors, programmable thermostats, and using only Energy Star® rated appliances and equipment. We also generate the majority of our energy requirement from our own solar panels and offset through the purchase of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs).
We track and measure the energy consumption generated by our solar panels, as well as purchased electricity.
In 2008, we installed 1,450 solar panels at our herbal tea manufacturing plant in Sebastopol, California. During the sunny months, the solar panels may actually produce 100% of our electricity, and we even send some back into the power grid. On average, our solar panels have generated about 437,730 kwh of electricity annually, providing over half of our total requirements.
When the sun can’t provide all the energy we need, we offset energy use that is not generated from our own solar panels through an annual purchase of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) which support renewable energy from wind projects.
Our REC provider is the Bonneville Environmental Foundation (BEF), a 501(c)(3) non-profit foundation. The Green-e Energy Certified RECs we purchase from BEF directly support the development of renewable energy projects designed to reduce carbon emissions from fossil fuel-based electricity.
To see a detailed summary of our annual energy usage, click here.
We use well water at our main location in Sebastopol but municipal water at our Marketing and Sales Services Offices in Petaluma. Our main location is also a dry process facility in both production and cleaning procedures. Motion sensor faucets and low flow toilets are in place. The water usage is tracked on a daily usage basis, with a target of 7 gallons per employee per work day. Our septic system is designed to keep within the water usage goal.
To see a detailed summary of our well water consumption, click here.
At Traditional Medicinals we strive towards Zero Waste by composting all food and plant discards, and by having eliminated the use of disposable products in our kitchen (like paper or plastic dishes, utensils, and single serve water bottles), by recycling all recyclable resources such as paper, plastics, cardboard, glass, and aluminum, and by reusing equipment or giving still usable items to our employees or to local non-profits.
Our sources of waste in production include dry herbal materials, damaged or defective packaged tea bags, folding cartons and corrugated boxes. Waste herbs, herb dust and blends are used in our compost system. All recyclable materials, mainly cartons and corrugated boxes are recycled through a local company. Defective or rejected tea bags are run through a shredder, with the reclaimed herbal materials sent to compost and the remainder of the material to the landfill. We track waste throughout the entire production process.
To see a detailed summary of our total waste output, click here.
California Certified Green Business
The California Green Business Program is a government program working with local agencies to recognize and assist businesses that operate in an environmentally friendly manner.
Traditional Medicinals® became California Green Business Certified in 2013. To become certified, a business must focus on environmental efforts such as waste reduction, water conservation, energy conservation, and pollution prevention. We showed that we had taken actions to conserve resources and prevent pollution in both our facility (green building and renewable energy) and our operations (environmentally-preferable purchasing and other practices). Credit worthy action items were verified through onsite assessments by an auditor from the local agency, the Sonoma County Green Business Program.
Carbon footprint calculations can be hard to wrap your mind around. A company’s Carbon Footprint is the amount of greenhouse gases (GHG) and specifically carbon dioxide (CO2) that has been emitted through all activities of the company in the manufacture and transport of their products. By keeping a close eye on our carbon footprint, we can take steps to minimize our impact on climate change.
We work with Soil & More International (SMI) to help us calculate our corporate carbon footprint. Founded in 2007, SMI developed a Carbon Footprint Calculation model that has been certified by TÜV NORD CERT GmbH, an independent third party organization that is accredited for Carbon Footprint Verification according to the ISO 14064 standard (an international environmental management standard against which greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reports are voluntarily verified).
The methodology that SMI used to assess our corporate carbon footprint was developed by the UK’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) as well as the GHG Protocol of the World Resources Institute and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. Both methodologies are based on the ISO standard 14064.
The corporate carbon footprint study carried out by SMI last year showed a result of 517,731.68 kg of carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e) emissions. SMI’s study concluded that due to our significant efforts in green energy and energy efficiency, the share of energy-related emissions is low by comparison to other comparable-sized companies in same industry. We have taken measurable actions to reduce and green our energy related emissions through our installation of solar panels and the purchase of green energy certificates that support wind power. Being an internationally active company, SMI expected that our travel would likely contribute the most to our carbon footprint. That proved to be true with about 65% of our CO2e coming from commuting and business travel of employees.