Eat to Support the Earth
Six products that can help you do your part on Earth Day.user rating
Earth Day is April 22 this year, and there are many ways to show you care. Attend a local event, plant a tree, or even support specialty food companies that put the health of the environment before profits. Here are six that are making a substantial, positive impact on our planet.—Denise Shoukas
Endangered Species Chocolate.
Whether it’s implementing Green HVAC Design in its buildings in 2009, which reduced its energy consumption by 40 percent, or powering its office, warehouse and production facility by wind power, Endangered Species approaches every aspect of its business with Mother Earth in mind. All of its chocolates are shade-grown, which supports lush forests and the species that live there. The company sources organic chocolate from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms, and donates 10 percent of net profits to non-profit groups that support species, habitat and humanity, such as Project Ecuador, which helps farmers fund the planting of naturally disease-resistant, high-yield Arriba cacao trees. Even its wrappers and boxes are made from paper and cardboard certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.
This brother-and-sister-owned tea company is committed to reducing its impact on the planet by using organic teas and eco-responsible packaging and partnering with carbonfund.org to offset carbon emissions. Through this partnership, Numi buys carbon offsets, which are used for a variety of projects. To share these efforts with customers, Numi includes an Eco-Audit on each box of tea that reflects the waste reduction. Numi has been recognized for its efforts through various awards, such as the Acterra Award for Business Environmental, 2010; Acterra Award for Sustainability, Small Company; and the Responsible Packaging Award, 2010 from the Food Trade Sustainability Leadership Association. Numi also makes its customers partners in its efforts to support the earth by encouraging consumers of its tea to recycle boxes and compost tea bags.
From the first step, Rogue’s cheesemaking process incorporates green practices; the cow dairies supply milk that is certified sustainable by Food Alliance and its own dairy is certified EU Organic. The company embraces the 3 Rs: reducing waste at facilities, reusing whey and using recycled content in packaging. Last year, Rogue was voted 14th in Oregon Business Magazine’s list of the Best Green Companies in the state, advancing eight spots from the year before. Some of its other green initiatives include the Nellie Green Pedal Power Bike Commuter Program, where Rogue employees commit to commuting by bike one day a week (or four times a month) for their first year in the program. The second year, they are asked to commute two times per week. It’s been such a success that Rogue has inspired other companies—such as Rogue Ales, Vermont Creamery and Cowgirl Creamery—to start their own commuter bike programs. In addition, Rogue Creamery has installed 252 photovoltaic solar panels in 2010, which generates 30 percent of the company’s energy needs. The solar project is one of the largest in southern Oregon.
Products include: Rogue Blue Sampler, its signature box packed with wedges of Oregon Blue Vein Cheese, Oregonzola and Crater Lake Blue; $39
In its quest to leave the lightest footprint possible, Sustainable Sourcing is 100 percent wind- and solar-powered. Even its website is environmentally conscious; it is hosted by pair.com, an eco-company that offsets 100 percent of its footprint. Sustainable Sourcing, the manufacturer of HimalaSalt and Sustainable Sourcing Organics, a line of organic peppercorns, spices and artisan salt blends, works with the Bonneville Environmental Foundation to calculate its annual usage of fossil fuels. The company donates 5 percent of profits to support awareness and solutions to global warming, preserve the oceans and biodiversity, and support sustainable livelihood and education for women and children in regions where the products are sourced. The company has introduced zero-landfill gift sets, made from wood certified by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, and uses tree-free, wind-powered, recycled papers with soy/vegetable inks.
Products include: Sustainable Sourcing Organics Gift Kit Trio, three refillable, recyclable mini grinders, one each of HimalaSalt Coarse Grain, exotic Organic Pink and Organic Green Peppercorns w/HimalaSalt; $28
As an organic and fair trade chocolate factory, Theo Chocolate is committed to sustainable growing practices that benefit both people and the environmental ecosystem. The company uses pure ingredients that are grown sustainably and locally whenever possible; partners with growers by ensuring they earn a living wage and have access to education for their families; employs green energy sources to power its factory; uses sustainable packaging and printing methods; and educates about social and environmental accountability through public tours of its artisan factory. When it comes to the cacao farming, Theo uses integrated pest management, which protects farmers and the environment from damaging pesticides. Its shade-grown cacao allows a much-needed forest habitat for many species such as migratory birds; and its reforestation efforts, helps offset worldwide air pollution and has a positive impact on global warming.
Products include: Fantasy Flavor 6 Bars Gift Set, a set of organic fair trade certified milk and dark chocolate bars that come in innovative flavors such as like Bread & Chocolate and Fig, Fennel & Almond; ($18)
Wild Planet Foods.
This is canned fish you can feel good about. Wild Planet provides the finest-tasting sustainably caught seafood while supporting the conservation of wild marine ecosystems. Its newest sustainable items—Sustainable Seas’ Solid Albacore and Solid Light Tuna—are individually caught using sustainable pole and troll fishing methods, and are packed in BPA-free cans. Wild Planet’s exclusive use of pole and troll fishing techniques prevents the destruction of ocean habitats and eliminates the by-catch of sea turtles, seabirds, sharks and other fish commonly killed or wounded by long-line methods used to supply conventional canned seafood companies. All species canned by Wild Planet are noted as Best Choices for sustainability by Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program.
Products include: Sustainable Seas’ Solid Albacore and Solid Light Tuna; $3.29 and $2.49, respectively.