Ethical choices face every person on a daily basis. While interpretations of what this means vary from person to person, there are basic values such as honesty, kindness, fairness, and integrity that cross cultural boundaries. As long-time owners of a national herbal extract business in a small Oregon town, we have a special opportunity to live our ethics both through business practices and by providing right livelihood for many local families.
From day one Herb Pharm has walked the ethical path in business choices quite naturally because we have always chosen quality before profit. It has always seemed quite logical to us that, while certain practices may not be profitable on paper, being ethical reaps many important deferred benefits. For example, by offering our employees a comprehensive health plan and a clean, safe and fun working environment, we benefit by having people stay with us for a long time. People work cooperatively and with good spirit, which translates into better efficiency, fewer mistakes, and pride in maintaining the integrity of our products.
In the early days when herb growers and wildcrafters didn’t know how much to charge for the herbs they were selling, they were often surprised when we insisted on paying more than they asked for. We understood the true value of having herbs whose source was completely trustworthy, and that by paying them a fair price we were encouraging them to stay in business for the coming years: a win/win situation.
After 30 years such values have woven themselves deeply into the fiber of our company. We have been fortunate to attract talented people who come to Herb Pharm because of the quality of the products and the positive work environment; people who subsequently impart diligence and care into the manufacture of our products, the creation of our marketing and educational literature, and to the way we serve our customers, suppliers and co-workers. When business is conducted with ethical choices being the guiding light, then choices are easy to make, understand, and gain acceptance.
For a specific example, let’s look at herb quality. For over 30 years Herb Pharm has set and held the standard for uncompromising quality of the herbs that go into our products. Besides our willingness to pay a premium for the highest quality herbs, we also make a point of personally knowing the people who sell their herbs to us. We make sure that they are harvesting their wild herbs in a sustainable fashion – what we call Custom Widcrafted™.
The second way we ensure the quality of our herbs is by growing them ourselves. Our 85-acre certified organic farm in Williams supplies us with approximately 50% of our raw herb needs.
The reaping of ethical choices is further reflected in the manufacturing process. Not only do we fastidiously follow the required GMP’s, but ever since the beginning we have kept meticulous records of every batch of extract, even in the early days when we were concocting them in our home kitchen.
Our labeling is another expression of standards and ethics. Every label gives full and truthful disclosure about the contents within, beyond the requirements of FDA. Furthermore, every label has a number which relates to a specific batch of extracts – we can tell from your bottle exactly when the herbal extract was made and how it was made.
We use certified organic alcohol in the manufacture of our products; we recycle all glass, paper, plastic, cardboard, etc. in our comprehensive recycling program. Our farm is not only certified organic by Oregon Tilth, but is also certified by Salmon Safe, an organization that recognizes farms whose practices assure that waterways remain healthy habitat for native fish. Herb Pharm has been a major supporter and board member of United Plant Savers ever since its inception in 1994. Similarly we have held an active seat on the board of the American Herb Products Association, a key organization that works tirelessly to assure appropriate regulatory and business environment for herb products. We hold board seats on the Williams Watershed Council and Southern Oregon Land Conservancy, and are proud to support local schools, Girls & Boys Club, and other goodwill community endeavors. We participate in the Pacific Powers Blue Sky Program whereby we pay a premium bill that goes towards the development of renewable power sources. Each year we donate a percentage of our net earnings to charitable organizations.
Our approach to medicinal herb extracts, like our business and social service practices, is straightforward and consistent. We sleep well at night knowing that the whole plant extracts that we nurture from seed to shelf are, at every step along the way, the best and most wholesome that we can create.
Originally Published Summer 2006