by Darlyn Britt
The Good Old Days
Growing up in a large middle-class family in a fairly good-sized home on multiple acres, everyone had chores. We all did our part to save our parents’ money by eating lots of PB&J sandwiches, turning off the lights and TV when we weren’t using them, and making sure that walkout doors were shut tight in the winter. New York winters can be quite blustery and cold, and we certainly weren’t supposed to let the cold in or the heat out.
We also had governors on our thermostats so we couldn’t turn them up too high and waste heat. Imagine teenage girls in long flannel nightgowns bustling about the hallways and bathrooms, filling hot water bottles to take to bed in dreary January.
Conserving energy was ingrained in us from a young age, and I have tried to pass that concept along to my children. Not that it always sinks in…
I’d say the number 1 reason for our big family to conserve energy was to save money. But my parents were also genuinely averse to the thought of wasting precious resources. They taught us how to recycle metal cans, glass bottles and newspapers before any kind of curbside program existed. We washed things out and collected them in bags or big trash cans and drove them to a not-so-near recycling center. The effort was hardly worth any money we might have gotten.
We also composted religiously, gardened, canned applesauce and grape juice, collected rainwater in a large cistern and found other ways to become more self-sufficient or sustainable.
From Conservation to Green
Infrastructure in place today makes some recycling easy and even profitable (especially if you’re a kid collecting aluminum cans or plastic bottles in the right 5- or 10-cent deposit states). And there’s a much larger “live green” discussion in today’s society and more active participation among Gen X, Millennials and Gen Z than their predecessors.
According to eponline.com, the younger your generation, the more likely you are to recycle.
18-34 years 92%
35-49 years 89%
50-64 years 87%
With the worldwide web and social media platforms, it’s easier than ever to see startling images of plastic-filled oceans and to teach people how we can turn plastic bottles into bicycle parts, park benches and even T-shirts.
Let’s Talk Sustainability
Broadly defined, sustainability is a process of working to meet your needs today without damaging the capacity for future generations to meet their needs tomorrow. In other words, we should take active steps in being wise stewards of our resources—natural, economic and social—to leave plenty of everything for those who follow us.
As we see it, the more we can act with environmental sustainability in mind, the better we leave our planet.
So how does Nature’s Sunshine value precious resources? What demonstrates our efforts at sustainability? So glad you asked!
5 Ways Nature’s Sunshine is Sustainable
We came up with 5 practices that speak to our sustainability measures. Each is part of our comprehensive transformational plan to be cleaner and greener for the decades ahead. After all, with a name like Nature’s Sunshine, we had better be doing our part for the environment!
1. Sourcing Raw Materials
Global demand for nature-derived health and wellness products continues to be hot. Our premium botanicals are harvested throughout indigenous communities on five continents with the help of people who know and respect the plants they nurture and reap.
We believe that caring for our Earth includes protecting both fauna and flora to the best of our ability. From the day our founders decided to leave plant harvesting to the professionals, it has been a top priority to find trusted vendors and to maintain lasting relationships with them so we can consistently source the quality ingredients we need for our customers. Our experience shows that sustainably sourced raw materials result from supply partners who:
- Abide by our supplier code of conduct, including:
- Supporting our non-GMO requirements
- Following ethical sourcing guidelines
- Promising fair wages to their laborers
- Allow us to conduct in-person audits of their processing plants
In short, we choose partners that help protect the physical, economic and cultural well-being of the communities where our botanicals grow, both near and far.
2. Reducing Our Packaging
We’re using 100% post-consumer recycled PET in about 90% of our capsule/tablet bottles used worldwide. This means we used more than 530,000 pounds of recycled plastics as opposed to virgin plastic. That’s a LOT of REUSED plastic!
Additionally, our many cleanse programs, Solstic® products, AIVIA® and other packaging cartons are recyclable.
Another environmentally friendly move includes switching from jars to bags for our bulk powders and proteins. Last year, we produced two plastic jars of powder products for every bag of the same. This year, we’ve flipped that ratio: we are producing more than two bags of powder products for every plastic jar full. It’s a “savings” of more than 64,000 pounds of plastic!
This transition from jars to bags helps conserve resources. Bags use:
- 90% less energy and water in production
- 66% less packaging
- 97% fewer pallets
In addition, we’ve begun using 100% recycled packing paper in customer shipping boxes.
All of this vastly reduces our environmental impact and boosts our sustainability.
3. Harnessing the Power of the Sun
As announced in July 2022, 100% of our manufacturing facility (including QA labs and warehouse space) is powered by solar energy. And 50% of the power used at our corporate offices in Lehi, Utah is also solar!
The sun is a huge renewable energy source. We count on it every minute to provide heat for life, plant growth and now to power our lights, computers and machinery. Harnessing power from the sun means far less pollution in the air and more electricity remaining available for other customers. This is especially crucial during the hottest summer months when some regions suffer brown-outs (when the power grid goes down from over-consumption).
4. Taking Less Waste to Landfill
We’re implementing a large-scale recycling program in our Spanish Fork, Utah manufacturing facility. We have done the same at our three other distribution centers in Texas, Ohio and Georgia. We estimate that we’ll reduce our solid waste going to the landfill by 75%.
Insert video if we get it in time.
Our goal remains ZERO waste to the landfill within three years in all four distribution centers. We feel confident that we can accomplish this with greater efforts in both recycling and composting.
5. Lowering Greenhouse Emissions
Our goal is to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by HALF within three years. This includes controllable scope 1 and 2 emissions.
- Scope 1 emissions are direct output from company-owned and controlled resources. This includes our company vehicles and our on-site manufacturing facility. We break this down into natural gas, transportation and refrigerants.
- Scope 2 emissions are indirect and arise from energy we purchase, like electricity, steam and heat.
- Scope 3 emissions are the indirect emissions that occur throughout the supply chain, including purchased goods and services, transportation of materials and finished products, employee commuting and other waste generation. This category represents the bulk of our greenhouse gases. It also presents a challenge as this category is the most difficult to control.
Together, scope 1 and 2 emissions comprise about 6% of our total greenhouse gas emissions.
Why does it all matter? Without adequate planning for the future, it’s too easy to deplete precious natural resources and create harmful waste that will cause problems for our children and grandchildren.
We can do better than that.
We can rethink our packaging.
We can recycle and repurpose.
We can reduce waste and emissions.
We can reduce our impact on the environment.
It’s all part of who we are…
So keep shutting that door tight and turning off the things you’re not using. We will too.