Sourcing & Certifications
It's hard work, but you're worth it.
We’ve worked for nearly four decades to establish long-term trusting relationships with herb farmers and harvesters around the world.
And we’re committed to continuing our efforts, because it takes time, devotion and sometimes years to qualify a producer organization that can successfully implement certifiable sustainability standards and also delivers the highest quality herbs that make our herbal blends different from the rest.Wherever we can, we use third-party certifying bodies to authenticate our claims of environmental and social sustainability. Below, you will find the major certifications for our herbal teas and a brief description of each.
Non-GMO Project Verification
We have been committed to organic agriculture for nearly four decades. We recognize the importance of organic agriculture and organic wild collection. Our organic products meet the standards as established by the National Organic Program (NOP) under the US Department of Agriculture. We are certified by the California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF), which has been, and continues to be, one of the leading organic certifying agencies.
To offer a kind of Zen koan: organic is as much about what it’s not as what it is. What it’s not: a conventional system that allows for the use of a plethora of pesticide chemicals, GMOs and other stuff we generally disagree with. What it is: a system of ecological management that promotes biodiversity, soil health and minimal use of inputs (like chemical pesticides or synthetic fertilizers). There’s a whole lot of specific details about what is and is not allowed, all of which have become standardized under the USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP). USDA's NOP regulates the standards for any farm, wild crop harvesting, or production operation that sells organically produced products.
If you’re interested in learning more about the ins and outs of organic regulations and issues, check out some of these resources:
The USDA's National Organic Program
California Certified Organic Farmers
The Organic Farming Research Foundation
The Organic Trade Association
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Non-GMO Project Verification
We believe that contamination from GMO crops are a threat to the integrity of sustainable agriculture and although GMOs are an excluded method under the USDA National Organic Program, organic certification does not require GMO testing! To be certain, we believe it is best to choose products that are both Certified Organic and Non-GMO Project Verified. The Non-GMO Project Verification seal on our product label indicates that it has been tested and produced in accordance with the best practices of the Non-GMO Project Standard. All of our teas are Non-GMO Project Verified. Learn more about the Non-GMO Project.
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The Fair Trade Standards are focused, essentially, on ensuring that farmers and farm workers get a fair deal. Our purchase of Fair Trade Certified™ herbs and green teas provides an assurance that the farmers are paid a Fair Trade price that covers the costs of production as well as a Fair Trade premium which can be invested in projects that enhance social, economic and environmental development.
Fair Trade producers are paid a Fair Trade premium, which goes directly back to the farmers themselves. A committee, elected by the workers, decides how these funds will be used to meet the community's most serious needs. Tea workers have used Fair Trade premiums to hire school teachers, build maternal health clinics, guarantee child care, develop pension funds and bring electricity to their villages, among other projects.
We use herbs like chamomile, hibiscus, ginger and spearmint that are certified by FLO-CERT according to the Fair Trade International (FLO) Fair Trade Standard for Herbs and Herbal Teas as well as green teas certified according to the FLO Fair Trade Standard for Tea. For the US market, our Fair Trade products are certified by Fair Trade USA, which recognizes FLO-CERT certification.
As with organic, there are many specifics to the ins and outs of Fair Trade Standards and certification of products containing Fair Trade Certified ingredients. You can learn more about them here:
Fair Trade USA
Fair Trade International (FLO) USA
We currently have 14 teas that carry the Fair Trade Certified™ logo, and we continue to work with eligible sources to expand implementation of the Fairtrade Standards wherever possible. FLO’s Fair Trade Standards are applicable only in developing or least-developed countries, mainly in Africa, South America and parts of Asia. Because so many of the herbs we use are not eligible for FLO-CERT Fair Trade certification due to their wild harvesting in European and North American countries, we’ve taken a step further.
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We feel particularly passionate about the relatively recent FairWild Standard because so many of the herbs we use are collected in the wild. In fact, we were one of the first companies to make an investment in this sustainable resource management and trading system, and we are pleased that other companies are joining with us to strengthen support for the pioneering enterprises who have implemented this rigorous ecological and social sustainability standard specifically designed for wild collection of plants around the world.
The FairWild Standard was established in 2006. Its purpose is to support efforts to ensure that wild-collected botanicals are managed, harvested and traded in a way that maintains populations in the wild and benefits rural producers.
The FairWild Standard is independently certifiable and provides assurance that wild-crops are produced in a socially and ecologically sound way. We use herbs like European elder flower, linden flower, licorice root and stinging nettle leaf that are FairWild Certified through the FairWild Foundation-accredited inspection and certification body known as the Institute for Marketecology (IMO).
According to the FairWild Foundation, “The increasing demand for wild plants – as ingredients for food, cosmetics, well-being and medicinal products – poses major ecological and social challenges. The pressure on potentially vulnerable plant species can endanger local ecosystems and the livelihoods of collectors…. As a response to these concerns, the FairWild Foundation promotes the FairWild Standard and certification system for the sustainable management and collection of wild plants.”
Similar to the Fairtrade system, buyers of FairWild Certified herbs must strive to maintain mutually beneficial long-term trade relations with the wild-collection operation, pay fair prices that ensure financial viability and include the costs of resource management and conservation, as well as a FairWild Premium that is used to support social development of the herb collectors’ communities.
Learn more about FairWild:
We currently have four US products that contain FairWild® Certified botanicals, and continue to work with our trade partners to implement the standard wherever possible.
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Kosher is the Hebrew word for "fit" or "proper." When applied to a food product, it means that that product has been produced in accordance with Jewish dietary laws. Most of our herbal teas are certified kosher by OK Kosher. Certified kosher teas always carry the OK certification symbol. The OK Kosher certification was established in 1935 and is a well-respected leader of Kosher certification around the world. Learn more about Kosher Certification.
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