Mountain Rose Herbs Launches Fair for Life Project

Submitted by Erica Fink on July 6, 2016

Mountain Rose Herbs, Green Business Network Leader, continues to expand their social and environmental impact through the years. Their fierce commitment to organics and Fair Trade shines brightly with their new, revolutionary Fair for Life project. Working directly with organic herb and spice growers in partnership with IMO Fair for Life, MRH is now helping small organic farms in India comply with strict fair trade requirements by acting as mandator of the project and funding the certification process in addition to paying fair trade premiums for the goods. “Becoming a Fair for Life certified farm is an expensive proposition for each farmer,” said Jennifer Gerrity, Executive Director of Operations at Mountain Rose Herbs. “While it’s increasingly critical for us to ensure our products are fair trade, it’s also important to us that we continue to support the small family farmers who have grown quality herbs for us over the years. Rather than abandon our existing farmers and find new ones, we decided to invest in their certification process.” As a result of Mountain Rose Herbs’ efforts, more than 60 farms in India are now Fair for Life certified. This newly ensures that:

  • Women farmers in India who participate in the program receive equal pay to their male counterparts.
  • Healthy and safe working conditions are provided on every farm site including clean drinking water and employee benefits similar to what we experience in the U.S.
  • Herb growers in India are practicing organic and sustainable farming methods.
    • MRH has donated organic plant starts for new test crops, funded necessary farmer trainings, provided compost bins for farmers who had not previously composted, and more.
  • Farming communities in India experience meaningful improvements to their quality of life.
    • With the FFLP premium, MRH has rebuilt multiple workers’ homes, outfitted an orphanage with school uniforms and books, repaired a dangerous footbridge, renovated a school kitchen, and more.

Gerrity recently returned from a visit to India where she hand-delivered jasmine and chrysanthemum saplings to many of our famers. “Thanks to industrialization, many organic herbs are getting tougher to find,” she said.  “These crops can grow well in India, and through our Fair for Life Project, we are providing our farmers with free grafted saplings. This will grant greater financial stability for their region and also guarantee a continued supply of high-quality organic herbs and spices for our customers in North America.” Unlike traditional fair trade programs that merely certify products, the Fair For Life program is more thorough because it audits MRH annually from top to bottom to evaluate the company’s working conditions, labor practices, environmental programs, social benefits, and transparency. The audit includes MRH employee interviews conducted by IMO, a Switzerland-based third-party verifier, and the results are made public. MRH has achieved the highest performance levels possible for the past three years – 2013 through 2015 and has been a certified handler since 2011. Our FFL projects in India are audited every year and as mandator, MRH plays an active role in supporting these audits and ensuring our farmers are in compliance.

About Mountain Rose Herbs            

Since 1987, Mountain Rose Herbs has been known for its uncompromising commitment to organic agriculture, sustainable business practices, and a steadfast focus on the aesthetics and freshness of pure botanical products. The company’s wide range of offerings includes bulk herbs and spices, aromatherapy and essential oils, tea and tea supplies, and natural health and body products. From product quality and sustainable packaging, to fair trade practices and watershed conservation, Mountain Rose Herbs takes pride in doing business right. The company’s core belief that people, plants, and planet are more important than profit guides everything they do. To learn more visit: Photo Credit: Mountain Rose Herbs

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