Article: Is responsible picking possible?
Is responsible picking possible?
Natural resources are not infinite, it is essential for businesses to take steps to minimize their environmental impact. At Floèm, we firmly believe in ecological responsibility and the protection of biodiversity. We have made every effort to ensure that our harvesting is as responsible as possible. In this article, we will be transparent about our initiatives and procedures, as well as our commitment to preserving the environment.
Regulated picking zones
Each year, we ask pickers for a copy of the picking permits and restricted picking areas assigned by the Ministry of Forests. They must report the quantities collected of NTFPs and indicate the GPS coordinate of the place where the ingredient was harvested so that the ministry can follow up.
In addition, we sporadically visit certain picking areas to validate the condition of the premises in person, in addition to inspecting the dehydration facilities to ensure their compliance.
Sustainable harvesting techniques
We follow recommended best practices to ensure sustainability, all harvesting is done by hand only. And this, without bill hook or manual electric “mower” type machinery. This method allows, for example, only the leaves to be harvested without damaging the stems, which facilitates the regeneration of the plant. We remain on the lookout to be informed if there are new responsible harvesting methods discovered through studies or sustainable strategy initiatives.
We also collaborate with local stakeholders, associations and authorities, such as the AgroBoréal niche of excellence and ACPFNL. These provide several guides regarding limiting the quantities to be picked and the appropriate times to harvest in order to preserve the reproductive cycles of the plants.
The Ministry of Forestry also places restrictions on the maximum percentage to be harvested from the same plant when issuing its permits. The education and ethics of gatherers are at the heart of the solution to continue to preserve species and their natural habitat.
In our sourcing code of ethics we also have measures such as selective picking. That is to say, we refuse to market any vulnerable, threatened or vulnerable floral species to harvest. Indeed, we do not want to contribute to the excitement of demand for a herb and thus add additional pressure for its survival due to its commercial value on the food markets. (https://www.environnement.gouv.qc.ca/biodiversite/especes-designees-susceptibles/index.htm)
This position may seem obvious, but is unfortunately not respected by all Canadian companies. We undertake to stay up to date and regularly read the lists published by the government in a preventive manner.
Selection of pickers
Responsible harvesting requires a thorough understanding of biodiversity and the importance of preserving natural ecosystems. We are therefore very selective in the choice of pickers with whom we collaborate and take several aspects into account in our partnerships. To name a few, our most important criteria are integrity, respect for the environment, rigor and professional ethics.
We also carefully listen to the positive testimonials and reputations of the picking community towards them. We believe that education and compliance with the legislation in place are the key to encouraging responsible harvesting.
In order to limit CO2 emissions linked to the transport of raw materials to our production premises, we use an alternative method. Our boxes filled with herbs travel by coach according to scheduled departures between cities. These buses are already moving to transport passengers, so we might as well maximize their travel!
Our environmental efforts go beyond harvesting raw materials; we like to think of original ways that can allow us to reduce our waste. A second life is required for cardboard boxes that have been used for transport. We use them to ship orders to businesses instead of taking new boxes or to store items internally.
The same goes for the large plastic bags in which the herbs are put to maintain their freshness, which are subsequently used as garbage bags. Did you know that since the creation of Floèm no waste bags have been purchased by the company? All are put aside to be reused and given a second life. This helps reduce our overall ecological footprint and promotes responsible business practices.
At Floèm, we are proud of our efforts to promote responsible picking and to contribute to the preservation of the environment. We will continue to engage in sustainable practices that respect the environment, raise awareness among our stakeholders to create a positive and lasting impact. Together, we can preserve biodiversity and ensure the sustainability of natural resources.