Sustainability: What Does It Mean?

Energy power

By: Rob Larose, President & CEO of BioSafe Systems

The term sustainability is used more and more but there is a multitude of different definitions and applications for this term in the horticultural industry. Sustainability is defined as the “avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance.”

When I started BioSafe Systems over 20 years ago, the terms “green” and “sustainable” were not commonplace. If one was to try and categorize something in terms of being green back in the early 90’s, it was most likely either “organic” or a “crunchy,” meaning that you ate granola and were out to save the world.

The mainstream media have embraced the Green Movement, which seems to be an off-shoot of the ecology movement of the 1970’s and loosely attached to the political Green Party established in Germany. The green movement embraced the concept of helping to avert global warming, reduce waste, stop water pollution and help feed a hungry world.

Activists state that to slow global warming, we need to change our buying habits to only purchase so-called “earth-friendly products.”

Here at BioSafe, we have a very clear definition of what “Green and Sustainable” means to our company and how we use these principals to develop our products by.

Tenets of BioSafe Systems’ Sustainability

  1. Products we develop and sell will not leave any lasting chemical, botanical or microbial legacy behind. They must be as biodegradable as possible. Our activated peroxygen technology is a perfect example of hard-hitting, effective chemistry that biodegrades within 20 minutes of its application, releasing only oxygen, water and organic acids. Our organic certified AXXE® herbicide biodegrades within 24-hours after effectively burning down weeds. The goal is simple: to provide a product that does the job but leaves little, if any, trace that it was ever used.
  2. Whenever possible, our product will be listed as suitable for use in organic farming, growing or processing. This is our Gold Standard for being “green and sustainable.” Today, 90% of our products are meeting the standards of the National Organic Program administered by the USDA.
  3. Our manufacturing processes have a zero-waste goal. Currently, 99% of our manufacturing processes do not create ANY waste product. We not only manufacture products that are environmentally responsible, but we try to manufacture them responsibly too. Our purchasing department has the authority to buy less and pay more. We’ve set a goal to reduce the amount of paper we use corporate-wide by 50%.
  4. Reuse whenever possible. Due to the very nature of the products we develop and manufacture, many products can be re-purposed and re-manufactured. This means that if we have old inventory that has passed it’s expected lifespan, we simply re-manufacture the product and bring it back into proper specification.
  5. We try to reduce as much packaging as possible. There are many government regulations that dictate the use of various labeling and do not allow for use of biodegradable paper or containers.
  6. Continually search for alternative products that will meet our requirements, promote an enduring environment and leave no trace behind.
  7. Our manufacturing plants use as much electrical power as the average household.
  8. We have our products certified by an organization based in the Netherlands called “More Profitable Sustainability” (MPS), which manages sustainability certificates for the international flowers and ornamentals industry. Focusing on the environmental performance of the company can lower the environmental footprint and implement that sustainability goal.

Our effort here at BioSafe is an ongoing and developing culture of sustainability and one that is based on our endeavor to do the right thing. We only grow as fast and as far our company resources allow us to grow and we strive to run our company by the ten principals listed on our website.

 

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