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Botanical supplier Martin Bauer commits to reducing climate change

With supply chains in 80 countries that employ 300,000 people, the company can make a difference to end poverty, hunger and more, per Randy Kreienbrink, VP of marketing.

Martin Bauer, with its global reach providing more than 200 botanical ingredients to the tea, food, beverage, dietary supplement and animal nutrition industries, has committed to several sustainability goals, including tackling climate change, poverty and global hunger. All these goals and more are outlined in its Sustainability Report, released in February 2020.

Per the Sustainability Report, Martin Bauer promised to purchase 56% of its major botanicals through certified supply chains and to follow Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) set forth by the SDG Compass.

In this podcast, Randy Kreienbrink, vice president of marketing, Martin Bauer Group, talks with Sandy Almendarez, content director, Informa Markets, about the company’s sustainability goals, including:

  • The importance of supplement and functional food ingredient companies committing to sustainability and transparency.
  • The six priority goals for Martin Bauer and how the company will achieve them.
  • The partnerships that are necessary for Martin Bauer to meet its goals.

This podcast was recorded on Wednesday, March 4, when the gravity of COVID-19 was just hitting the U.S. Kreienbrink references travel restrictions the company was taking “today,” meaning the time of recording in early March.

 

Podcast transcript:

Sandy Almendarez, content director, Informa Markets: Hi and welcome to a Healthy Insider Podcast. I am Sandy, and on the phone, I have Randy Kreienbrink, who is the vice president of marketing at the Martin Bauer Group. Hi, Randy.

Randy Kreienbrink, vice president of marketing, Martin Bauer Group: Hello, Sandy, it's a pleasure to be here today.

Almendarez: I'm really excited to have this podcast with you. We are going to be covering a sustainability report that your company recently released. Randy has more than 30 years’ experience in the food sciences industry. He has an educational background in biotech and food science, and he has held positions ranging from food chemist to various sales and marketing positions with food, flavor and ingredient companies. His current company, the Martin Bauer Group, is a botanical supplier for the tea, food, beverage, dietary supplement and animal nutrition industries.

It recently established 17 sustainable development goals to reach by 2030 designed to eradicate extreme poverty and preserve our ecosystem. And this is all outlined in its recent sustainability report.

The Martin Brauer group, with its acquisition of BI a year ago, sources more than 200 botanicals from over 80 countries through supply chains that employ more than a 300,000 people. So, it has quite an impact.

Randy, why is it important for ingredient suppliers to release things like the sustainability report, and what should finish product brands be looking for in these documents?

Kreienbrink: Two very good questions, and one of the most important parts of why a company, especially an ingredient manufacturers, should release the sustainability report: we need to be very very transparent. Today, we need to really follow everything we do, pretty much from the seed, cultivation, how it's cultivated, how it's harvested, how it's picked, how it's harvested—all the way to making an ingredient to a finished product to the consumer. It's very important that we do it. And it's even more important that we are here tomorrow for our children and our children's children. So without looking at this and how we’re going to do this sustainably, we really are going to be risking and causing some major issues not only for our businesses, but just for world health and food. The whole scenario needs to be all worked out together as one. Otherwise we will have some issues. Sustainability reports by any company, whether large, small, medium is really important today because it ties everything together, and that we're going to be required for us to feed the 9.7 billion people that are being predicted by the year 2050. The actual brands should be looking for is, “Is this a really reasonable sustainability report? Are they really addressing the issues from climate change to global issues to economic issues, to other factors, just to even the human factor?” To make sure that everything ties in that we are able to provide a product that is transparent, clean and addresses a lot of the human elements, and also some of the issues that were causing with global climate change.

Almendarez: If I understand it correctly, there are 17 a sustainable development goals to meet by 2030 and that Martin Bauer is looking at six specific ones to tackle first. Could you go through those six goals that you're going to be tackling?

Kreienbrink: Yes, we have identified 17 sustainable developmental goals that are a unique opportunity for us to get rid of and eradicate poverty and really preserve our ecosystem. And we adopted these, and not just ourselves, but there with 195 other countries, the United Nations. And there are several groups that we belong to just even some of the local U.S. ones like American Herbal Products Association (AHPA), also the American Botanical Council (ABC). There's just so many different organizations that we belong to in order to meet these goals.

The six that were really focusing on—and that we do have timelines on; I kind of mentioned some of this at the beginning—but the first thing we really would like to do is achieve food security, improve nutrition, and provide and promote sustainable agriculture to help somehow achieve 0 hunger in the world. And again, how are we going to feed all these individuals as we look forward to even 2050 with 9.75 billion people that we’re expecting? I remember just a couple years ago—five years ago—we were talking about only 9 billion, so that number has already increased. So, we really need to put together these goals in order to make sure that we do something about it.

Another one of our development goals is decent work and economic growth, and provide these sustainable, inclusive, sustainable economic growth for different countries with full productive employment and decent work for all. We want to address certain things for child labor or slave labor laws. We want to make sure that it's fair, it's equitable, and that it's an environment that causes economical growth. But doing it the right way, in a humane way is another one.

Our third goal is to be responsible with the consumption and how we produce it. Ensure that it's sustainable consumption and produced patterns that we can reproduce and not to take away if it's a crop or source to a very local tribes are indigenous group that if we were to expand upon it, it would take away their means source or main source of protein. We're always very conscious of what we're doing, so we're very responsible in the consumption and also the production of this product. We're very focused on that, and then the other one is the climate action.

We're going to take urgent actions to combat climate change and all its impact, so we're going to make sure that if there are issues about a product being grown in a certain area that we identify: Are there water issues? Does it cause some other issues with someone's going to be forced the rain forest to grow something else that maybe they shouldn't be? So we really got to look at the action and reaction that that's going to happen with climate.

The other one is life on land, and we want to make sure that we're going to protect and restore and promote sustainable use of our ecosystems, and we want to manage our forests, and we want to combat deforestation wherever possible, and reversed some of the land degradation and halt the biodiversity loss that's going on. Just want to make sure that we're doing our part wherever possible, that we're not going to encourage the growth of a product that would destroy a crop or remove a rainforest.

And then the last one. The last development goal is a partnership of these goals. We need to work with other individuals, other companies, are customers, the manufacturers, the growers, governments, organizations, nonprofit groups; we need to make sure that we work as a team so we can obtain a lot of these objectives, and we want to make sure that it's these global partnerships that will ensure that we have this sustainable development for our future. And those are part of the 17 sustainable development goals that we have chosen to focus on and those were the six main ones that Martin Bauer is working with.

Almendarez: Right, so some of these goals are big and lofty, and I agree that we do need to have big goals to tackle the huge climate concerns that we have. But how is Martin Bauer planning on meeting these goals?

Kreienbrink: Yes, in a lot of these goals I mentioned each point how we were going to do it, so we're going to be doing it through other organizations, we are going to be doing it with our work partners, our customers, our manufacturers; were going to be obtaining these goals with our growers. We’re going to sit down and look at our best practices. How does this make sense, so we can attain these goals, and we're actually going to go ahead and measure that. These goals we have time frames on.

A couple of things we want to make sure is that we really calculate our carbon footprint, and make sure that we establish the standards in a correct, and regularly monitor it, and make sure this is not talk that we are actually walking the talk. We're going to actually measure that we're going to reduce our greenhouse gases wherever possible within our facilities where energy consumption is being used. We want to see t what can we do for the carbon offset scheme, so we can make sure that we are zero-neutral when it comes to these emissions. We want to develop feasibility studies, and when I go to obtain carbon neutrality, and we're trying to get that all put together by 2023, so that's the next three years. And then we want to also calculate our carbon footprint on selected products, so what is our carbon footprint for some of our green teas, or some of our botanical products are extracts. We want to make sure that we look at them individually, case-by-case.

We're going to develop a concept for overseeing our climate relevant emissions in our supply chain. So, where our products are coming from, are they also addressing these issues? How their products are being grown. Or they also looking how the employment opportunities are within their countries? We want to make sure that they are following our guidelines in our roles that we have, and then also we want to make sure that we analyze the travel patterns, number of employees and are their ways in which we could improve?

Actually, today [Wednesday, March 4], we are actually going to travel ban just because of the upcoming concerns with the coronavirus. Until we can get a good a handle on it. So, we are very reactive, and we can do it quickly. So we're very concerned about just how we can travel and what we're doing to do that. So we're just trying to figure out the best way to do that. And how do we reduce our fleet of our cars, our business trips, even how our products are brought to market or brought to our plants and facilities.

We're going to continue to ensure that our supply chains remained free of genetically modified plants wherever possible. We're going to make sure that the cropland is not created through forest clearance areas. We’re not going to buy from the areas where the rainforests or other trees were cut down just to grow a product, and we're going to make sure the laws and licensing rules related to the product, and the wild and wild crafted products are adhered to, so that people aren't taking shortcuts or doing something to destroy wild-crafted products, which is a big part of our botanicals. We’ll will always address and advise our suppliers to the sustainable modes of production, and always ways to conserve and also to preserve biodiversity and going to get advice on choice of the crops, variety, seed, crop, rotation, soil fertility, fertilizers and wherever possible, avoiding any non-natural additives. And especially in the areas of pesticides and for fertilizer.

So that's what we're goals are and they’re ongoing. We're always going to try to measure them and make sure that we put ourselves to the test and follow through on everything we have said.

Almendarez: Great so the report talks about Mabagrown. What is this, and how does it help Martin Bauer meet these sustainability goals?

Kreienbrink: Yes exactly. And of course, the Mabagrown part is just Martin Bauer is the “Maba” part and the “grown” is how our products are grown, and so it's really important that we work and define and we actually have these goals, standards implemented with our partners, the growers, and it's really has to be a safe, influential cultivation that we have when we collect these plans. You want to make sure that we're avoiding the risk of the pesticides or heavy metals or any other kind of contaminants, including certain types of radiation, and we want to make sure that while they are being grown and during harvest or storage, and even during transportation, that there is not any adulteration or room for contamination because that's very important to that. That's all part of our Mabagrown in our certification of these raw materials that are coming in. You want to make sure the procurement that we are building reliable partnerships in our sourcing with these growers throughout the world in various countries. So, I think because of our foresighted procurement warehouse approach, and of course our very strict standards and quality assurance where we actually are sending out personnel to the fields to work with the farmers and the growers that we're actually going to be able to obtain the results that we are requiring so that it is sustainable. We're going to be able to get the products, the botanical ingredients that we’re looking for and not do anything to destroy biodiversity or increase climate change or add more greenhouse gases. It's all part of the process, and the process goes all the way from the seed to the harvest to the drying, the processing, extracting, storage, transporting, and even giving it to our customers and users. The Megagrown is a process that pretty much goes from cradle to grave or from seed to finished product.

Almendarez: You've mentioned several partnerships that you're working with to achieve these goals. So why is collaboration so important as it relates to sustainability?

Kreienbrink: Without the partnerships; it's hard to be an island. No person can do it all alone. With these partnerships and with these different organization and trade groups that we belong to, it's going to have a lot larger impact as we grow together. I think industrial-wide and globally, will be able to take care of this island we live on called Earth. I think it's really important that we do work together with various trade organizations, governments, different faculties, different universities just to make sure and the growers. Of course, folks that are harvesting so that we can obtain our goals and the energy sector is a big part of how we will become more carbon neutral in the future.

Almendarez: Great, well thank you so much, Randy, for joining me today to talk about sustainability. Our industry has such the opportunity to really impact these climate concerns because of where we are and how we use ingredients from nature. So I really appreciate the work that you're doing and that Martin Brauer is doing, and I appreciate you joining me today.

Kreienbrink: Oh my pleasure always. It's a pleasure to chat with you. Sandy, thank you so much.

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