Education Featured

Earth Day with Flora Health

April 21, 2017
Earth

Earth Day means different things to different people, but there are some values that are at the core of this day—sustainability, protection of forests and endangered species, and increasingly, climate literacy.

Whether the focus is on reforestation, or on the importance of science education and taking a stand on climate change, it requires respect for all life and comes down to stewardship of planet earth, principles that we wholeheartedly believe in.

Flora is actively engaging in sustainable and ethical business practices, and committed to science-based products that respect the earth. We are proud to provide products such as those that reduce our reliance on fish and livestock and supply vegan sources of DHA and iron. We are proud to support organic farmers and sustainable, ethical, women-driven enterprises engaging in equitable trade.

Flora is proud to carry on the family legacy of creating supplements using herbs and harnessing the power of plants to heal. We have always placed the priority on the use of glass bottles with metals caps, and believe it is worth the increased weight, shipping costs, and care required. We are proud of the diversity of our employees, including the wide array of scientists and researchers involved in the creation and testing of our products, and we happily support science education in underprivileged areas of the world through our charitable giving.

Here at home, we are exploring ways to reduce the amount of waste that goes into our environment, to help conserve our resources and bring awareness to the staff regarding the importance of sustainability.

We have begun using biodegradable tea bags and packing materials for our shipments. We purchase the most sustainable office supplies that we can find, and those made from recycled materials. We minimize the copying and printing we do internally, and the paper that is used is completely tree forest free! Flora’s Canadian Marketing Department is committed to doing our printing with a local business, Royal Printers, BC’s first Carbon-neutral print shop. To reduce deforestation and water consumption, Royal Printers makes sugar sheet—paper using excess waste from sugar cane and wheat straw rather than using trees.

We are planning the installation of solar panel roofing to move to clean renewable energy, but meanwhile, we seek to reduce our electricity consumption with programmable thermostats in each area of our office buildings set to keep it a little warmer in summer and a bit cooler in winter. We have replaced our incandescent and fluorescent office bulbs with more energy-efficient LED lights, and our Burnaby offices have switched our lighting systems to motion-sensor equipped lighting, in an effort to reduce electricity when not in use. Now those early enough to work get to feel like Darth Vader as the lights come on before them—bonus! In the washrooms, Flora uses motion-sensor activated faucets that are equipped with aerators to reduce water use, and we replaced our hand soaps with non-toxic soaps made with all natural and biodegradable ingredients, free of harmful environmental toxins. We have also replaced the dryers with super energy-efficient, heat-free versions that reduce the need for paper towel.

Flora also recognizes that food made at home, made locally, or with organic ingredients makes less of an impact on the environment than eating out. Therefore they provide a full modern kitchen with plenty of refrigerator space, and equipped with items like Vitamixes and pots, to encourage employees to bring food from home in reusable containers. Flora Burnaby has partnered with another local company, Urban Impact, to address all of Flora’s recycling needs. We have added organic composting to our recycling program, which already included plastics, paper, glass, metal, and more! In our kitchen, the 5 stream recycling bin is made from recycled plastic, lumber, and broken down milk and detergent jugs, allowing this recycling bin to be completely recycled! Flora also supports healthy eating choices by stocking a healthy snack station at the office, and occasionally even providing healthy lunches! And of course we get a credit for Flora products—they don’t get more locally made than that!

While Flora Lynden has an enviable community garden, here at Flora Burnaby we are incredibly lucky to be right on the Fraser River, at the mouth of Byrne Creek. This ‘Foreshore’ area is home to a wide variety of plants, various small snakes and frogs, and a large variety of birds. There are water birds like hooded mergansers, mallards, and herons, as well as kinglets, towhees, and woodpeckers, and hunters like hawks, owls, and bald eagles. There are even large mammals like foxes, coyotes, and many Canadian beavers! Walking along the river at lunchtime connects many of us to our environment on a daily basis, and Flora has sponsored our Product Information Supervisor and Master Herbalist Robert Dadd to take groups of us on several enlightening herb walks in the surrounding trails.

In support of preserving the environment and in our efforts to encourage employee wellness, a new bike rack was installed in the Flora Burnaby Office a couple years back, providing a clean, secure location for bicycles on site. The sheltered rack holds a total of 6 bikes inside a gated area. Additionally, we have a locker for cycling or running gear for those who wish to use it. Flora also offers incentives to employees who regularly cycle, walk, car pool, or use public transportation such as recognition and prizes. We also have a changing station available for those who drive electric vehicles. When feasible, we elect to use local couriers that use hybrid vehicles, to lower greenhouse emissions from these services.

Flora avoids the use of dangerous chemicals, and our production facilities have several precautionary measures to be certain that we can avoid harmful spills, accidents, and contamination from our production into our environmentally sensitive surroundings. Our Health and Safety Committee has implemented several more that go above and beyond the mandated, reducing the potential for problems even further. Additionally, all potentially harmful materials like printer cartridges, batteries, and electronics are properly taken by local hazardous waste recyclers.

We strive to do our best for the earth and to live the principles of earth Day year round. Now we would love to hear from you—what do you do at home to make the world a better place? Leave us a comment below, and Happy Earth Day!

About the author: Dana Remedios
Holistic Nutritionist Dana Green Remedios, RHN, RNCP has a passion for helping others break through their blocks to greater health, wealth, and happiness, working with transformational mind-body tools. The Vancouver-based educator and coach answers your questions in English, French, and Spanish as a Specialist working in the Product Information Department at Flora, and is a regular contributor to the FloraHealthy blog.

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