We are committed to support organic farming and are a certified member of the Irish Organic Association, the main organic certification body in Ireland. Being a member means for us that we support organic farming, which is a clean approach to agriculture, devoid of the use of synthetic pesticides and fungicides and others that can be harmful to the local ecosystems and pollute our soil and water systems. And organic certification provides that guarantee to consumers.
Our policy is that whenever possible, we will source essential oils that are organic certified and/or fair trade certified, whatever the cost. But quality and sustainability will come first as we are committed to offering the best essential oils from the most trusted suppliers.
It is important however to look beyond labels and keep in mind that:
- not all farmers who practice organic farming are necessarily certified because certifications come at a high cost for them. And unless they are organised in a coop or a distiller is willing to cover the costs and the paperwork, they might not have the means to doing it.
- organic farming is not a guarantee of the best sustainability practices. If an organic farm is for instance expanding so much that they are destroying local native forests or other ecosystems to grow more of the same crop, we are facing another set of issues (an extreme example of that are the palm plantations in Borneo).
- some plants distilled into essential oils are not farmed but collected in the wild, especially in forests. This is the case for woods such as cedar or sandalwood (like our New Caledonian quality) or gums such as frankincense and myrrh. And for these, the key is make sure the collect is managed and controlled in a way that allows for a healthy regeneration of the resource.
This is why we need to look at that broader concept of sustainability, which looks at the long term impact on the environment and the communities and the viability of the activity. So certifications are good, but we need to look beyond them sometimes. It means getting to know our suppliers better, understand how they are working their land, asking questions. It takes a bit of listening and learning and engagement and trust.