Rooted in Sustainability
We are not just in the business of tea; we are in the business of change—changing lives, changing standards and changing the quality of herbal remedies. Our community engagement philosophy requires hard work, but by investing in all of our stakeholders, we are proving that we can successfully help conserve the environment, our people, and the future of our planet.
Being accountable for the good work we do necessitates a rigorous, annual reporting system. For a summary of our most interesting highlights click on the graphic below. For a general overview of our performance, please download the FY 2016 Traditional Medicinals Sustainability Report, or you can view our appendix for more detail.
Our pharmacopoeial (medicinal) grade teas are expertly formulated by herbalists, sourced responsibly by sustainability experts, and tested for quality by scientists. As part of our educational mission, we share plant and sourcing stories in our blog, Plant Power Journal, which we diffuse through social media channels to our growing Plant Tribe.
As a B Corp, we subscribe to and are assessed by rigorous standards of social and environmental performance. In 2016, we were honored with a “Best for the World” award, given to the top 10% B Corp scores in each company category.
In some of our supply communities, we’ve launched community engagement projects in tandem with partners like Traditional Medicinals Foundation and WomenServe. In 2016, we teamed up with our tea bag supplier to support and help evaluate their social programs with small family farming cooperatives growing abacá fiber in the Philippines.
In 2016, 98.9% of our herb purchases (by weight) were certified organic, a foundational part of our sustainable sourcing strategy to preserve farm and forest ecosystems. Organic farming practices are better for the soil, workers, ecosystems and you.
In 2016, we were proud to receive Non-GMO Project Verification for our herbs, tea bags and strings, ensuring that our herbal teas are not genetically modified. In addition, we worked closely with suppliers in support of certifications like Forest Stewardship Council and Rainforest Alliance to become the tea industry’s original company to use Non-GMO Project Verified tea bags and strings.
We hold Fairtrade farming and FairWild plant collection as cornerstones of our mission. Adopting these certifications helps to empower our herb source communities through customer-supported premium funds, democratic decision-making and fair labor practices. In FY2016, we bought almost 500,000 pounds of fair-certified and ethically traded herbs.
Over 42 years in the herbal medicine industry, we have found that medicinal plants often have the highest quality when sourced from their native habitats, which is why we source 77% of our herbs from their traditional growing regions.
FY 2016 marked our first full year running on 100% local, renewable power—a combination of energy from our own solar panels and electricity from a local geothermal plant. This achievement earned us a Green Power Leadership Award from the Environmental Protection Agency and the Center for Resource Solutions.
To fulfill our role as a socially responsible business, we balance our social engagement with a positive impact at a manufacturing level as well. In 2016, after updating some of our manufacturing equipment, we were able to replace the staples in one third of our tea bags and tags with knots, eliminating over 200 million staples from production annually.