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The Three Pillars of Smart Sustainability

By: Jeb Gleason-Allured, Editor
Posted: February 27, 2009

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The result, which he displayed on a chart, has been the exaggeratedly inverse fates of patchouli availability and pricing, as seen in 1997 and 2008. Meanwhile, those farmers that haven’t made sufficient profits have allowed their land and equipment to erode. “This,” he said, “is because of the traders.

“We think most farmers don’t know what the market cost of their products should be,” Brinkgreve continued. “Because they don’t know the [proper] cost, they price at or below cost. We should help them to find the fair price—and don’t confuse this with [fair trade]. Because there you see people flying business class to the other side of the world to certify farmers that live on less than a dollar a day.”

Finally, he encouraged the institution of long-term commitments with local growers, rather than hopping from trader to trader for the “best deal of the day.” “If you really want to improve something, you have to have a long-term commitment to your supplier,” Brinkgreve stressed. “We all have the obligation to work on a solid price calculation—don’t start shortcutting each other to go under the price.” The benefits, he said, include stable pricing, a shortened supply chain and farmers making reasonable profits.

In closing, Brinkgreve discussed his company’s sustainability index, which sets benchmarks based on the fulfillment of all three pillars. In lieu of the current environment of competing sustainability marketing claims, he encouraged a standardized, transparent system. “We [as an industry] need to have the same way of measuring these things.”

Read part two of our Centifolia highlight coverage in the March issue;