Pictured Above: Founder & CEO Nadine Joseph with 4 farmworkers on a multi-crop organic farm in Madhya Pradesh, India.
Each herb and mushroom that we use in our formulations has a rich cultural and ethnobotanical history, and have been used in healing traditions like Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda for centuries. We've made it our mission to formulate with the intersection of scientific research and ethnobotany in mind, and part of showing our respect for these ancient traditions is ensuring equitable and fair sourcing practices.
Defining guidelines for Peak and Valley’s sourcing practices is an effective way in which we can further our vision of creating a sustainable and ethical supply chain while holding ourselves accountable. Within our organization, the below principles are utilized as a reference for any purchasing decision we make and as a way to hold ourselves, and our suppliers to a high standard.
Sourcing practices refer to the way we approach gathering high quality herbal and mushroom ingredients that we use in our products. To create the best product possible, our environment must be preserved to ensure a supply chain that can sustain itself and the communities from whom we source from must be healthy and thriving. Such sourcing practices prioritize the procurement of natural ingredients using efficient and regenerative farming practices that support biodiversity, low carbon emissions, and generate the least amount of waste possible.
These are meant to be overarching principles that help guide us in our sourcing practices, but they do not apply to every situation and sourcing decision. Our ingredients are sourced from many different countries, each with a unique farming and community culture. Rather they will inform our overall approach to sourcing ingredients.
Pictured Above: Reishi Mushrooms growing on Duanwood logs in southern China.
These principles consist of overarching criteria that will be used in the evaluation of our sourcing decisions. Not all are applicable to every scenario, but should always be taken into consideration to ensure mindful sourcing practices.
Peak and Valley will make sure to accurately evaluate the need to purchase new materials or ingredients by accurately estimating the quantity needed of each ingredient. This will minimize waste along the supply chain and will ensure that we are getting the most out of materials already purchased.
Analyze all ingredients and products used in terms of their environmental and social impacts. Assess environmental impacts from the raw material extraction and processing, the manufacturing of the product, its distribution and use, and the final disposal of the materials. The social impacts of our supply chain will be considered at every point along the supply chain as well. All impacts of Peak and Valley products will be viewed through a lifecycle analysis lens.
Research and evaluate suppliers’ commitment to social responsibility within their own supply chain. We will give preference to those suppliers who report their social responsibility practices and can certify these practices in some way. We can evaluate these practices through 3rd party certifications, audits, or collaboration with cooperatives.
Appreciate and respect the cultural and ethnobotanical background of the ingredients used in our blends. Local communities and indigenous people with legal or use rights maintain control to the extent necessary to protect their rights, traditional knowledge or resources. This should be prioritized over collection operations.
Strive to make a positive impact on community development through carrying out responsible operations and empowering communities. We can do this by providing fair wages to our producing partners. We recognize that community resilience leads to a more sustainable supply chain.
Know where our ingredients come from and develop strong relationships with our suppliers and our producers when possible to ensure a consistent supply of high quality ingredients. We can develop these relationships by making site visits when possible and maintaining direct and consistent contact with suppliers.
Try to work directly with producers, but if this is impractical, reduce the number of middlemen to two at the most to ensure transparency and accountability. In these situations, work with cooperatives that can ensure fair treatment of workers and suppliers that are able to verify their claims through audits and third party certifications.
Know where our ingredients come from and where they’re going. It is important to us to learn all of the information we can about our ingredients so we can ensure optimal management and promote sustainable sourcing practices.
Learn about farmers methods of production and prioritize producers that build organic matter in soil and restore degraded soil biodiversity through crop rotation, cover crops, or other methods. Building organic matter allows plants to more effectively remove carbon from the air and capture it in the soil, improving soil health, promoting crop resiliency and protecting the purity of groundwater.
Prioritize purchase of ingredients from suppliers that use renewable energy to power their operations. Continue to transition to renewable energy use throughout the rest of the supply chain.
Support monitoring programs that track energy and water efficiency throughout the supply chain, set goals and reduction targets, and report on progress.
Pictured Above: Founder & CEO Nadine Joseph touring a sustainable 100 acre food forest in Madhya Pradesh. Pictured is an elephant ears plant, though the food forest carried hundreds of species of plants - a true case of biodiversity.
Fair labor is a deep-rooted problem that companies often struggle with due to a lack of transparency and short term relationships along their supply chain. At Peak and Valley, we want to make sure that our procurement and purchasing practices are fair and equitable to every worker involved by emphasizing long-term and fair relationships. It is not always possible for farmers in other regions of the world to achieve a Fair Trade or FairWild certification, but here, we will outline principles that comply with these certifications and will do our best to apply these in every purchasing decision.
Children should not be contracted as collectors nor should collectors contract children as workers to help them in collection or processing. The autonomy of the worker is violated when the worker is under the age of 18. Additionally, there will be no tolerance of forced or free labor.
By paying a fair price for goods, we can cover the cost of production, pay workers fairly, and still leave enough profit to reinvest in communities. Workers should be paid fairly and in a timely manner for their labor recognizing that these principles will allow for a more positive and mutually beneficial relationship between our company and our producers.
To ensure ethical and safe working conditions of those involved, all risks should be assessed beforehand and due diligence should be implemented to minimize such risks. Workers should be properly trained to use any machinery, conditions should be hygienic, and proper equipment and PPE should be provided. Training and education on safe farming practices should also be available.
Reference international and local employee protection laws to ensure ethical and safe labor practices. Raise awareness among workers of their rights by providing resources. Good working conditions include maintaining reasonable work hours and enforcing healthy and safe labor practices.
We will consider the following questions when making procurement decisions to ensure ethical sourcing practices:
Is the producer of the product in compliance with all environmental laws and regulations?
Does the producer have a good history of environmental and social responsibility?
Does the supplier use renewable forms of energy or implement energy-efficient operations?
Are the producers and suppliers respecting and appreciating the cultural and ethnobotanical background of the ingredients?
Are the ingredients certified organic? If not, are they farmed with organic criteria in mind (i.e. no pesticides, reducing loss of topsoil, no synthetic fertilizers, etc.)
How is climate change, loss of biodiversity, and other risks currently impacting our raw material supply and how likely are they going to impact it in the future?
How might we partner with suppliers to help implement the environmental management systems we want to see in our supply chains?
Was this ingredient cultivated with the least environmental impact compared to other brands or equal products?
Is the purchase of these ingredients necessary or can the need be met in another way?
Is the product designed to minimize waste in its use and operation?
Is the quantity ordered necessary or can it be reduced while still meeting demand?
Was energy and water usage tracked, reported and managed in the cultivation of the ingredients?
Does the method of production for this product maximize energy efficiency?
Does the supplier use third-party certification or can they internally verify the sustainable nature of their products and operations?
Where do the ingredients come from and are they properly identified?
Do the buyers from whom you purchase herbs know where the herbs come from? If not, how can we find out?
Are the suppliers compliant with federal and international codes?
Are our practices enhancing the resilience of communities from whom we source from?
This page is continually edited and updated by our team. If there is an aspect of sourcing that you think that we missed in the above principles, please advise us at Hello@peakandvalley.co.