For Life: A Tool to Measure Corporate Social Responsibility

 

Fair For Life - Employees Alternate

Most people these days are familiar with fair trade, a system that changes the way trade works to make it more equitable for the farmers and workers around the world who produce our food. Many of you who have been reading along on the Mountain Rose Herbs blog are also familiar with Fair for Life (FFL), a program that we have worked closely with for more than a decade. FFL is a Switzerland-based, third party fair trade certifier that seriously ups the ante on fair trade practices trough a certification system and premiums that makes life-changing improvements in labor relationships. The premiums go directly to the farmers to fund innovations at both the farm and community level. However, there is another component of the FFL system that people are less aware of, simply called For Life. For Life is what brings corporate social responsibility (CSR) home.

To understand FFL and For Life certification, it helps to have a clearer picture of why certification matters. In 2001 the United States Department of Agriculture developed the National Organic Program (NOP) and took over the responsibility for oversight of organic standards in our nation. Prior to that, anyone could sell anything as “organic.” With the advent of the NOP, it is now illegal to sell something as organic unless it is certified. However, there is still no federal guidance concerning fair trade. There are a number of certifiers with vastly different standards for CSR.

Hand holding raw cacao bean

Mountain Rose Herbs looked closely at these programs. We chose FFL certification because it is the most robust program we could find and because of its For Life component. FFL looks at the supply chain business model in its entirety, from producer to supplier, and works to create resilience and transparency across every link of that chain. It emphasizes respect for human rights and fair working conditions, along with respect for ecosystems, biodiversity, and sustainability. For Life is the piece of the program designed to provide a framework in which companies can also make CSR principles a reality at home. It seeks to create a system of accountability for business leaders to make a positive impact on human rights and labor conditions within their own companies.

For Life offers companies interested in CSR a framework that defines strict standards, clear requirements, objective inspections and certification, and incentives for continual improvement. To ensure compliance, companies agree to be regularly audited and to allow their employees to be anonymously interviewed about working conditions, benefits, and more. The audits are based on a point system and we are graded on different attributes like how we handle paid time off, health insurance, break times, lunch times, whether or not we provide a private nursing/breast-pumping room, etc.

Fair For Life - Plant Alternate

Initially, For Life auditors did a documentary review of our management systems; bookkeeping and product flows; workers contracts and payroll; employee handbooks and policies, etc. They also did an on-site visit, toured the facilities to assess our operations, and privately interviewed personnel and producers who work with us. Ultimately, the auditor prepared a report based on their observations and discussions, and then met with us again to talk about any corrective action they felt was warranted. We already had the basic requirements in place and were glad for the guidance on how to implement even more benefits.

To maintain our certification, we commit to onsite surveillance and renewal evaluations every three years so that For Life auditors can confirm our continued compliance with the core aspects and requirements of the program. This means that every three years, not only are our operations evaluated, our employees get to speak their minds anonymously to an impartial auditor about what it’s like to work for Mountain Rose Herbs.

All results for companies certified through FFL are public. We invite you to read the results of our 2021 FFL evaluation and audit.


Interested in Reading More About what it's like to work at Mountain Rose Herbs?

Learn How We Were Voted Into the Top 25 of the

100 Best Green Companies to Work for in Oregon!

 

You may also be interested in:

Pinterest image for For Life Certification post

 


Topics: Inside Mountain Rose Herbs, Sustainability

Shawn

Written by Shawn on August 11, 2022

Shawn is Mountain Rose Herbs' owner and CEO. He first became involved with Mountain Rose Herbs as a passionate young idealist with a fervent desire to change the world. He was a notorious rabble-rouser, always petitioning for mandatory labeling on genetically modified food crops, encouraging people to support a strong conservation ethic, fighting for the protection of endangered or threatened species, and the protection and enhancement of our riparian areas. When Mountain Rose Herbs came into his life, Shawn saw it as an opportunity to change the way business is conducted on this planet. To this day, the revolutionary business principles that Shawn initiated have been used as a successful model by countless other organizations. Since becoming a co-owner of the company in 2001, he has continued to initiate bold and daring changes, most notably the eradication of all conventionally grown products from our product line, introducing the first line of fair trade certified medicinal herbs in the United States, implementing the design and deployment of our web presence, launching our zero waste program and our charitable giving program, and more. In his spare time, Shawn can be found deep within Oregon’s wilderness system, or lost in the pages of any book about ecology and the environment. He currently retains one of the nation’s largest collections of rare and antiquarian books that deal exclusively with nature writing and outdoor literature. With Thoreau, Abbey, and Muir being his favorites, of course! "All of our environmental issues can be connected to the embarrassing way that business abuses this planet. My objective is to stop this destructive pattern by offering an alternative modality and sharing that modality with others so we can all lead the change necessary to heal the planet"


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For Life: A Tool to Measure Corporate Social Responsibility

 

Fair For Life - Employees Alternate

Most people these days are familiar with fair trade, a system that changes the way trade works to make it more equitable for the farmers and workers around the world who produce our food. Many of you who have been reading along on the Mountain Rose Herbs blog are also familiar with Fair for Life (FFL), a program that we have worked closely with for more than a decade. FFL is a Switzerland-based, third party fair trade certifier that seriously ups the ante on fair trade practices trough a certification system and premiums that makes life-changing improvements in labor relationships. The premiums go directly to the farmers to fund innovations at both the farm and community level. However, there is another component of the FFL system that people are less aware of, simply called For Life. For Life is what brings corporate social responsibility (CSR) home.

To understand FFL and For Life certification, it helps to have a clearer picture of why certification matters. In 2001 the United States Department of Agriculture developed the National Organic Program (NOP) and took over the responsibility for oversight of organic standards in our nation. Prior to that, anyone could sell anything as “organic.” With the advent of the NOP, it is now illegal to sell something as organic unless it is certified. However, there is still no federal guidance concerning fair trade. There are a number of certifiers with vastly different standards for CSR.

Hand holding raw cacao bean

Mountain Rose Herbs looked closely at these programs. We chose FFL certification because it is the most robust program we could find and because of its For Life component. FFL looks at the supply chain business model in its entirety, from producer to supplier, and works to create resilience and transparency across every link of that chain. It emphasizes respect for human rights and fair working conditions, along with respect for ecosystems, biodiversity, and sustainability. For Life is the piece of the program designed to provide a framework in which companies can also make CSR principles a reality at home. It seeks to create a system of accountability for business leaders to make a positive impact on human rights and labor conditions within their own companies.

For Life offers companies interested in CSR a framework that defines strict standards, clear requirements, objective inspections and certification, and incentives for continual improvement. To ensure compliance, companies agree to be regularly audited and to allow their employees to be anonymously interviewed about working conditions, benefits, and more. The audits are based on a point system and we are graded on different attributes like how we handle paid time off, health insurance, break times, lunch times, whether or not we provide a private nursing/breast-pumping room, etc.

Fair For Life - Plant Alternate

Initially, For Life auditors did a documentary review of our management systems; bookkeeping and product flows; workers contracts and payroll; employee handbooks and policies, etc. They also did an on-site visit, toured the facilities to assess our operations, and privately interviewed personnel and producers who work with us. Ultimately, the auditor prepared a report based on their observations and discussions, and then met with us again to talk about any corrective action they felt was warranted. We already had the basic requirements in place and were glad for the guidance on how to implement even more benefits.

To maintain our certification, we commit to onsite surveillance and renewal evaluations every three years so that For Life auditors can confirm our continued compliance with the core aspects and requirements of the program. This means that every three years, not only are our operations evaluated, our employees get to speak their minds anonymously to an impartial auditor about what it’s like to work for Mountain Rose Herbs.

All results for companies certified through FFL are public. We invite you to read the results of our 2021 FFL evaluation and audit.


Interested in Reading More About what it's like to work at Mountain Rose Herbs?

Learn How We Were Voted Into the Top 25 of the

100 Best Green Companies to Work for in Oregon!

 

You may also be interested in:

Pinterest image for For Life Certification post

 


Topics: Inside Mountain Rose Herbs, Sustainability

Shawn

Written by Shawn on August 11, 2022

Shawn is Mountain Rose Herbs' owner and CEO. He first became involved with Mountain Rose Herbs as a passionate young idealist with a fervent desire to change the world. He was a notorious rabble-rouser, always petitioning for mandatory labeling on genetically modified food crops, encouraging people to support a strong conservation ethic, fighting for the protection of endangered or threatened species, and the protection and enhancement of our riparian areas. When Mountain Rose Herbs came into his life, Shawn saw it as an opportunity to change the way business is conducted on this planet. To this day, the revolutionary business principles that Shawn initiated have been used as a successful model by countless other organizations. Since becoming a co-owner of the company in 2001, he has continued to initiate bold and daring changes, most notably the eradication of all conventionally grown products from our product line, introducing the first line of fair trade certified medicinal herbs in the United States, implementing the design and deployment of our web presence, launching our zero waste program and our charitable giving program, and more. In his spare time, Shawn can be found deep within Oregon’s wilderness system, or lost in the pages of any book about ecology and the environment. He currently retains one of the nation’s largest collections of rare and antiquarian books that deal exclusively with nature writing and outdoor literature. With Thoreau, Abbey, and Muir being his favorites, of course! "All of our environmental issues can be connected to the embarrassing way that business abuses this planet. My objective is to stop this destructive pattern by offering an alternative modality and sharing that modality with others so we can all lead the change necessary to heal the planet"