Sustainable spicing framework

An overview of our sustainable activities

Contributing to sustainable, social and economic development

Our vision is to be a spice ingredients company with profitable growth that contributes to sustainable, social and economic development. To achieve this, we have set up Nedspice Farmers Partnership Programme (NFPP) and are engaged in various activities and projects together with farmers, NGO’s and business partners. We are an active member of the Sustainable Spices Initiative through which we want to sustainably transform the spices sector.

Our activities and ambitions are formulated in Nedspice Sustainable Spicing framework, which helps us to structure our activities through three main categories: Environment, Social responsibility and Quality. Each category consists of corresponding priority areas. The framework aligns with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) as defined by the United Nations in 2005. Our activities are developed with the aim to contribute to the achievement of these goals.

Our sustainable spicing framework is focused on the following SDG’s: 1 ,2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 12, and 15. For more information on the Sustainable Development Goals you can visit their website.

Environment
Improving agricultural practices
Responsible waste disposal
Responsible water use
Conscious production and transport
Social responsibility
No discrimination
No child labour
Living income
Reaching out to community needs
Quality
Food safe production
Product quality

What we do for a better environment

  Growing population drives an increased demand for food, pressuring agricultural businesses into high-intensity agriculture and other producing practices that are detrimental to the environment and earth’s natural resources. As a spice producing company, we feel the responsibility to respond to global food demand without overextending the world’s capacities. Our ambitions are not just ethically motivated but have clear business benefits too. Sustainable spicing contributes to a better harvest climate in the long run, reducing the risks that climate change, water scarcity and floods pose to our business.

We have identified four priority areas where we as a spice producing company can reduce and mitigate our impact on the environment.

Improving agricultural practices

The balance between agriculture and nature is in many cases disturbed, with agriculture both a cause and a casualty of the changing weather conditions. Emissions coming from the use of chemical fertilizers and deforestation, as farmers seek more land to increase production, both add heavily to manmade global warming and declining biodiversity. Moreover, high-intensity agriculture and monoculture leads to low soil fertility constraining the availability of spices and other crops, which endangers farmers livelihood and future food production. In addition, local community health is endangered due to excessive use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

As a company present in producing countries, we have an increased responsibility to improve the agricultural practices of the farmers that we have a direct relationship with. That is why, in 2014, we have set up Nedspice Farmers Partnership Programme (NFPP). Through NFPP we provide training and on-farm-support for farmers to make their cultivation practices more sustainable.

WWF Cambodia
The high price expectation for black pepper between 2010 and 2015 led to an increase in smallholder farmers in Cambodia moving into black pepper production. As black pepper vines grow on supporting trees, poles or trellises, most farmers were quick in taking down trees from nearby forests to serve as supporting poles. It is estimated that 7 ha. of forest degradation contributes to 1 ha. of pepper plantation. It is easy to imagine the consequences pepper production had on tree loss in Cambodia.

In collaboration with WWF Cambodia we provided training to Cambodian farmers on the benefits of using living poles (trees) for pepper production. The use of living poles, do not contribute to further forest lost, provide natural shading to pepper vines, and improve air quality.

Through above mentioned activities Nedspice strives to contribute to the achievement of SDG 2 (end hunger, achieve food security and promote sustainable agriculture) and SDG15 (protecting and restoring biodiversity).

Responsible waste disposal

Similar to other processing companies, agricultural businesses produce unwanted by-products or residual waste throughout their production process. Agricultural waste includes crop residues, weeds, leaf litter, sawdust and forest waste. But also, unnatural waste from silage plastics, fertilizer, pesticides and herbicides packaging is a result of agricultural activities.

In Kadapa, India, Nedspice partners with digital technology company Recykal for the collection of farm waste and correct disposal thereof.

By promoting waste reduction throughout our supply chain and partnering with Indian company Recykal, Nedspice contributes to the achievement of SDG 12 (ensure sustainable consumption, improve resource efficiency and reduce waste).

Responsible water use

Agriculture industry is the most water-intensive industry there is, irrigated agriculture even accounts for 70% of water use worldwide. This means that every agri-business is highly dependent on water security, not only for crop production but also during crop processing after harvest. This dependency automatically places a big responsibility on us to use world’s freshwater resources with extreme care.

We contribute to responsible water use in different ways. In the driest state of India, Rajasthan, we have installed micro sprinklers and promoted water harvesting techniques to Cumin farmers. This resulted in 60% reduction in water usage.
Our processing facilities in India and Vietnam use sterilisation technology that is very efficient in its water use. Nedspice’ new onion and garlic dehydration plant in Gurajat, India, will have virtually zero water discharge due to water recycling, saving over 100 m3 water per day. To learn more about the new plant please click here.

Additionally, clove, nutmeg, mace, cassia and cinnamon are all naturally rain fed crops and their cultivation does thereby not contribute to any further water use.

Through above mentioned activities and continuous promotion of responsible water use we contribute to the achievement of SDG 6 (ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation).

Conscious production and transport

After the crop has been harvested, we actively seek ways to improve our production and transportation process.

For most sourcing areas we arranged collection points for raw materials close to farmers, which results in strong reduction of transport to central markets. After the ingredients are collected, the processing takes place in Nedspice processing facilities in producing countries (India and Vietnam). This further contributes to minimizing transport emissions and logistics costs. Another example of conscious transport is the development of the Nedspice blue bag, to minimize loss of volatile oil during transport.

Examples of conscious production include, the installation of efficient steam boilers for our turmeric production and the installation of solar reflective panels in our facility in India to minimize dependency on fossil fuels.
Nedspice factory and storage in Vietnam is insulated to reduce product loses by 0,5% over 12 months and simultaneously reduced noise levels by 1-2 dBA over the last two years. New spice fumigation units operate on CO2 basis rather than chemical phosphine, all contributing to better working conditions. In addition, the new onion and garlic dehydration factory in Gujarat, India, operates independently of fossil fuels and maximizes the use of electrical energy.

With our continuous efforts to sustainably improve our production and transport process we aim to contribute to the achievement of SDG 7 (access to sustainable and modern energy) and SDG 12 (ensure sustainable consumption, improve resource efficiency and reduce waste).

This is how we take our social responsibility

 As our company grows, our responsibility to protect the environment and the planet’s resources grows with us. However, our responsibility does not end here. As a spice ingredient company present in origin, we feel obligated to fulfil the social duties we have towards the people and communities we work with and depend on. We have identified four areas where we feel we have social obligations to protect and support our people.

No discrimination

We are committed to provide a safe and healthy workplace for our employees, farmers and contractors. We aim to create a workplace where the rights of all people are respected, regardless of race, gender or sexual preference.
For our direct NFPP farmers, Nedspice field officers monitor on-farm working conditions. If any discriminatory practices are found the farmers are directly removed from the Programme. Third-party suppliers are required to sign Nedspice business principles, which underlines the importance we assign to equal treatment.

By promoting equal opportunities for men and women on the work floor and farms, we contribute to achieving SDG 5 (gender equality and empowerment of women and girls).

No child labour

We have zero tolerance for all forms of child labour. This is clearly set out in Nedspice business principles, to which all third-party suppliers are required to adhere. For the farmers directly associated with us through NFPP, Nedspice field officers monitor on-farm working conditions. If any instances of child labour are found, the farmers are directlt removed from the Programme. In addition, NFPP farmers are reminded of the importance of children’s education, not only through regular trainings on good labour practices but also through various school projects in their communities, funded by Nedspice. For more information see below (reaching out to community needs).

Tackling child labour extends beyond our own operations and is by no means easy. Child labour is a complex phenomenon where social, economic and cultural factors play a crucial role. For example, the start of harvest season is often a joyous occasion where entire families, including children, chip in to help. Should this be considered child labour?
As agriculture is the largest sector worldwide employing child labourers, we are highly focussed on any risks third-party suppliers from specific areas or products may carry.

Through our efforts to prevent child labour and active promotion of personal development of children we contribute to the achievement of SDG 4 (inclusive and equitable quality education for all).

Living income

One of the key objectives of the Nedspice Farmers Partnership Programme is to protect farmers’ living income. This means that smallholders should be able to afford a decent standard of living for themselves and their families. That is why farmers committed to the programme receive a market price plus a price premium for their products, in addition to this we offer price protection programmes.
This results in loyal farmers, verifiable quality and consistent quantity. While on the other hand, farmers can count on and enjoy a fair price for their products. NFPP farmers also receive training to maximize their yields by replanting their own seeds and are encouraged to diversify crops to spread risks, increase yield and therefore income. Crop rotation is also good for the soil and future availability of spices.

Our activities aimed at increasing farmers’ income contribute to the achievement of SDG 1 (end poverty) and SDG 2 (end hunger, achieve food security and promote sustainable agriculture).

Reaching out to community needs

Since Nedspice is dependent on farmers, the wellbeing of rural communities is very important to us. Through NFPP we are therefore dedicated to support and involve farmer communities in our activities.
A big part of the success of our charitable projects can be attributed to the close relationship we have with farmers and their communities. This enables us to make a clear assessment of how to make a truly valuable contribution to the specific needs of villages or individual people. Recent examples of us reaching out and helping communities are: renovation and rebuilding of houses in Keralan village after they were swept away by floods, upgrading and building of a community house, a kindergarten and a primary school in Lộc Thiện Village in Vietnam and the distribution of mouth masks and sanitary products to villages in Vietnam following Covid-19. We have also provided houses for production staff and their families and provide medical check-ups to our employees in India and Vietnam.
As personal development and lifelong learning is very important to us, we provide English classes to management teams (and who ever likes to join) in Vietnam.

Yearly we spend 2% of our net profit on corporate social responsibility activities in India, following Section 135 of India’s Companies Act. Although not legally required, we apply similar numbers to our Vietnam activities.

With our Social responsibility activities, we contribute to the achievement of SDG 1 (end poverty), SDG 2 (end hunger, achieve food security and promote sustainable agriculture), SDG 4 (inclusive and equitable quality education for all SDG 6 (ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation).

How we can guarantee the quality of our products

 Our priority lies with producing high-quality and safe ingredients, cultivated following GAP standards. Our focus on food safety and sustainable farming results in products that are truly qualitative of nature, and taste even better knowing that they are produced with farmers’ best interest at heart.

Food safe production

Our first concern is to deliver food safe ingredients. As part of our production process all raw materials are sourced whole, inspected and tested on arrival, cleaned and (hand)sorted, prior to sterilization and grinding at our production facilities in Vietnam and India. Therefore, we can guarantee the purity of the materials we supply. Traceability allows us to take appropriate action in case of an issue with the product. Both at farm and factory level we have extended programs in place to control the level of pesticides, allergens and foreign matter contamination. Our production facilities have the proper certifications in place, and we comply with international and national laws and regulations regarding food safety. This includes compliance with relevant laws and international agreements covering wages, working hours and conditions, freedom of association, collective bargaining and non-discrimination.

Our commitment to food safe products results in almost zero waste of non-compliant material, contribution to the achievement of SDG 12 (ensure sustainable consumption, improve resource efficiency and reduce waste) as well as SDG 1 (end poverty).

Product quality

We provide honest and wholesome ingredients that are grown in their natural climate, resulting in the best possible quality and taste. Every lot is thoroughly tested for volatile oil, moisture content and pesticides. Besides that we can test for piperine (pepper), ochratoxins and aflatoxins (nutmeg/turmeric).

The taste and aroma of a product are contained in their volatile oils (VO). That’s why we do everything within our power to preserve the valuable volatile oils throughout the supply chain. Our factory and storage rooms are isolated to protect VO and we have developed Nedspice special blue bag to preserve VO during transport and storage.

All products can be delivered according to customer specifications, including sustainable or organic qualifications. You can learn more about our products here.

Our understanding of quality goes beyond the characteristics of a product. A true qualitative product is made with attention for the environmental and social impact of the production process. Issues we deem important in this regard can be found above.