"Money is what money does," said Gurudhan Khalsa, Peace Cereal and Yogi Tea national sales manager, serving as master of ceremonies for the Socially Responsible Business Awards. The awards, voted on by an independent panel of judges and presented at Natural Products Expo East in Baltimore, were given to natural products companies that look beyond pure profits to how they can have a positive effect on the world.
The three companies honored this year have a triple bottom line, said Khalsa: economic, environmental and social. In a ceremony that featured a keynote address from Michael Funk, chief operating officer of United Natural Foods Inc., and musical entertainment by Spirit Voyage recording artist Snatam Kaur Khalsa, awards were presented to hemp foods and oils company Manitoba Harvest; Sambazon, maker of Brazilian a?ai products; and organic and wildcrafted herbal extract producer Herb Pharm.
Manitoba Harvest, based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, has worked with the University of Manitoba and the province's agriculture minister to raise support for hemp crops, which are naturally pest-resistant and can be made into nutritious, practical products. In addition, Manitoba Harvest contracts hemp seed production from 25 farmers who are also shareholders in the company.
Sambazon, based in San Clemente, Calif., works to provide a sustainable form of income for its growers in the Amazon River Estuary and promotes rain-forest conservation and biodiversity.
On top of its commitments to environmental sustainability, Herb Pharm of Williams, Ore., is active in local community outreach. In a town of about 1,200 people, where the company employs 80, Herb Pharm has donated equipment for the local school and provides a work-study herbaculture program.
Applauding the efforts of the honored businesses, UNFI's Funk said, "If we can't live our business lives the way we do our personal lives, what are we doing this for?"
Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXVII/number 11/p. 14