Numi Organic Teas, Pangea Organics and Nordic Naturals were honored with Socially Responsible Business Awards during the 2008 Natural Products Expo East in Boston. Founded in 1994, the SRBAs recognize companies that integrate social responsibility into their operations in six categories: community involvement, education, health, employee empowerment, environment and sourcing.
Founded by brother-and-sister team Ahmed and Reem Rahim, Oakland, Calif.-based Numi Organic Teas impressed judges with its eco-friendly packaging, including bamboo gift boxes and biodegradable tea bags, as well as its partnerships with tea gardens committed to organics and fair labor practices.
Nordic Naturals, founded by Norwegian Joar Opheim, was honored for its commitment to using only non-endangered fish in its omega-3 fish oils. The Watsonville, Calif.-based company was also recognized for its comprehensive recycling and green-use program that includes recyclable shipping boxes, cornstarch packing peanuts and marketing literature printed on recycled paper, using soy ink.
Joshua Onysko and his Boulder, Colo.-based company, Pangea Organics, wowed judges with plantable, zero-waste product boxes made with 100 percent post-consumer paper and seeds such as sweet basil and amaranth. In addition, a portion of the company’s profits go to its nonprofit Pangea Institute, dedicated to researching and teaching sustainable living and business practices. Judge Eric Schnell, co-founder of Newtown, Pa.-based Steaz Sparkling Green Tea, said, "Pangea is a shining example of how a young [consumer packaged goods] company can lead the way in socially responsible and sustainable business practices in an industry dominated by multibillion-dollar cosmetic brands that have yet to embrace these principles." The hope is that "the natural products industry continues to promote awareness and education on how doing 'right' in business is always the best path to follow when architecting the brands of tomorrow," Schnell added.
Judge Marci Zaroff, founder and president of Under the Canopy, an organic clothing and linen company, said, "From market innovation to community inspiration, this year’s SRBA winners demonstrate tremendous thought, leadership and vision in their respective categories."
Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXIX/number 12/p. 7