A Conversation about Sustainability
What is your vision regarding sustainability? Why did you decide to do so?
Cygnia: Our vision for sustainability is minimizing the social and environmental impacts of conducting business in the food industry while providing a much needed health food product line that is authentically beneficial to the public. Sustainability, from our view, is taking as much responsibility as feasible for the social and environmental impacts of being in business.
Our interest in sustainability is also ethically driven, particularly as it pertains to the impacts of acquiring raw materials from the Third World and unsustainable agricultural practices. Exploitation is always a factor where the First World overlaps with Third World countries, which is why purchasing Fair Trade raw materials are a top priority certified specifically by FLO, Fair Trade USA, or IMO. In addition, many in the US perceive our food supply as “broken” due to the use of GMOs, heavy application of pesticides, and other unsustainable agricultural practices designed to increase shelf life and transportability, and maximize profit margin and crop yields at the expense of human and ecosystem health. While organic certification isn’t perfect, it is an improvement to conventional farming practices with fewer environmental impacts and greater benefit to human health.
“Our vision…is minimizing the social and environmental impacts of conducting business in the food industry…”
Do you have prior experience, training or education regarding sustainability area?
Cygnia: My education and previous professional experience is in fluvial geomorphology, the study of rivers, a sub-discipline of geology, so my focus is naturally on the environmental impacts of human activities on earth systems. I do not have formal training in sustainability.
“…my focus is naturally on the environmental impacts of human activities on earth systems.”
What are your motivations or main objectives in adopting sustainability into your business?
Cygnia: A sense of social responsibility to our customers, our employees, the environment, and communities affected by the purchase of our raw materials as well as practical idealism that a business can have fewer environmental impacts and benefit society. I am skeptical of any business claiming they are good for the environment. Some may be less harmful than others, but all businesses are stressors to the environment somewhere in the life cycle of product manufacturing and or business administration. We can minimize environmental impact, possibly even arrest degradation, a difficult task in of itself. However, there is no manufacturing business that aids in returning environmental systems to a pre-disturbance condition.
At MELT, we want to enhance social and economic development for low income communities, particularly as it pertains to raw materials sourced from the Third World (Sri Lanka and Columbia) and initiate social and environmental change.
We attract like-minded customers who disagree with the status-quo with differentiation of products and services, innovation in new product development, which ultimately yield a competitive advantage.