Sustainable Business Practices

Restore

Blog Post #10

Kelsey Werner

Social side of Distribution- Guayaki

Fair trade, living wages, packaging made from recycled products, subtracting carbon emissions, no harmful synthetic agents, salvaged or recycled waste, bio-diesel, and 100% renewable energy. Sound too good to be true? Well, it isn’t. Welcome to Guayaki.

As stated on their website:

In 2009, Guayakí became the first Fair Trade Certified yerba mate supplier in the world through IMO’s Social & FairTrade Certification Programme – “Fair for Life”.  “Fair for Life” combines strict social and fair trade standards with adaptability to local conditions. The Certification guarantees that human rights are guaranteed at any stage of production, so that workers enjoy good and fair working conditions and that smallholder farmers receive a fair share. Fair trade improves the livelihood of thousands of smallholder farmers and workers by providing the means for social community projects and empowerment of people.

Guayakí is also a member of the Fair Trade Federation and guarantees living wages to the artisans who make our gourd and bombillas. Instead of purchasing gourds and bombilla from commercial factories, we employ Argentine artists who work from their home studios so they can spend more time with their families and create truly one of a kind pieces of art. At Guayaki, it’s not just about making a tasty cup of mate, it’s about meaningful work.

Our packaging material is a minimum of 100% recycled corrugated cardboard with 30% post consumer, although most are 100% post-consumer waste. Our packaging peanuts are made of plant based materials (dissolve in water) or salvaged and cleaned from other companies that we collect from inbound materials. Our plastic pallet wrap is recyclable. Our bottle shipper cases are completely recyclable, non-petroleum based, and made of 100% post consumer recycled corrugated board. This is a first in the industry – we are proud to say we pioneered these new boxes!  The paper used for inserts, invoices, brochures, etc is always made from 100% post-consumer recycled paper.

All invoices, flyers, brochures and other paper materials printed for our customers and vendors are 100% recycled post consumer waste material or the highest post consumer content available. We will never use virgin paper materials in anything we print for our business.  In our offices, we recycle, reuse, and reduce as a daily practice.  We use real dishes and cups (and gourds) and wash them instead of using paper or plastic.

Guayakí third party life cycle analysis shows that after growing the yerba mate, and adding up all of the carbon emissions, guayakí is subtracting carbon from the environment. For example, your purchase of one pound of loose guayakí yerba mate reduces atmospheric co2 by 573g.

Our mate tea box packaging material is recycled paperboard with 35% minimum post consumer, and printed with vegetable inks.  We package our bulk loose mate products and bulk tea bags in cutting-edge biodegradable and compostable bags made from tree pulp cellulose from sustainably maintained forests. They will compost in your home compost or landfill in 180 days. The packaging material is made from renewable, non G.M.O. wood-pulp sourced from plantations employing Sustainable Forestry Management Principles, who conform to the environmental standard I.S.O. 14,000 and have either achieved or are working towards F.S.C.

Guayakí does not use, nor allow within its facility, chemical cleaning agents, bleaches, synthetic and chemical based soaps, ammonia, chlorine, dioxide, commercial pest repellents, fumigants, or other synthetic agents which are harmful to ourselves and the environment. Pest management practices include the use of sticky traps. We do not fumigate nor do we use chemical killing agents. All cleaning products used within our facilities are 100% natural, bio-degradable and are approved for use within certified organic facilities. The primary industrial cleaning agents we use is TKO Orange Oil which is completely biodegradable, approved by the EPA and our organic certifiers.

Virtually all waste generated by Guayakí is either recycled or salvaged. All office paper, scrap paper, cardboard, cans, bottles, plastic, steel, and wood is salvaged and recycled. We also recycle all electronic and computer components which are no longer in working condition by taking them to a local facility for proper salvage, reclamation or disposal, thus preventing several known heavy metal sources from being land-filled. A few times a year, we even reuse our mate after it’s brewed for the bottles to use it as energizing compost for our gardens around our main office.

Our marketing cargo vehicles run on bio-diesel! This further outlines our commitment to environmental sustainability and lessening our impact on global warming.

Guayakí is proud to have converted its entire operation to 100% renewable energy by transferring all of its conventional electrical power usage to renewable solar energy. We offset over 55 tons of our corporate CO2 footprint … locally. In tandem with this commitment, we have purchased enough solar power to offset the carbon 1 energy market in a similar way the purchase of a Guayakí product helps drive more reforestation.

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Guayaki is making outstanding efforts in order to protect the environment and all people who are affected by its product. It is rare to hear of a company doing this much. It gives me a bit of hope that this sort of business model is possible and also successful. I believe in what Guayaki is stands for. They walk their talk and carry out their mission of restoration all along their supply chain.

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