that pu-erh is fermented for up to 60 days, allowing beneficial microbes/probiotics to develop that have been shown
to help lower cholesterol, break down fat and aid in digestion. Numi was the first to bring an entire line of this tea to
the international market, and thus there was no fair trade
To stay true to the company’s vision, Numi not only
worked with pu-erh farmers to help them convert to organic, providing training and covering certification costs,
but they also worked with Scientific Certification Systems
(SCS) and other partners to create a standard from scratch
called Fair Labor Practices and Community Benefits. SCS
also created Starbucks C.A.F.É. Practices and the Forest
Stewardship Council standards.
“The fair labor standard is our
playbook, our guide
Once created, the standard was put through the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) process where it
was publicly evaluated. Several companies, including Maggie’s Organic Clothing, also adopted the standard.
While fair trade standards are focused on increasing
economic stability at the farm level, Numi’s fair labor standard looks at how workers are treated throughout the entire supply chain, ensuring both fair wages and other
worker rights. “It addresses many civil rights that we take
for granted that are not always a given in other countries—
lunch breaks, eight-hour days, time off, etc.,” points out
Reem. It ensures that first aid kits, earplugs and masks are
available when needed.
Also, with this standard, organic certification is a prerequisite. “Organic ensures that workers are not exposed
to harmful pesticides—this is an important step to making
sure they are healthy and safe,” says Durkee.
Overall, Numi invested at least $50,000 in getting this
off the ground, much of which was advances to suppliers.
However, since SCS is a standards creation company and
not a standards marketing company, the certification has
not been adopted by many. To keep the standard alive,
Numi is in the process of acquiring it from SCS, applying it
to their supply chain, and possibly opening it up to others
Organic, Non-GMO, & Specialty Crop Industry
with prime food and feed grade products for over 25 years!
• Grains - Wheat, Rye, Spelt, Amaranth, Barley,
Corn, Quinoa, Rice, & Sorghum/Milo
• Dry Edible Beans - Lentils, Peas & Soybeans
• Seeds - Chai, Flax, Millet, Mustard, Oilseeds,
Popcorn, Poppy, Sesame, Sunflower,
• Flours & Meals
• Powders & Flakes
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