At Dermatology M, we are evermore conscious of this responsibility… in fact, it’s something we’ve embraced from day one. Those of you who have read our blog ‘Superior sourcing | Why going direct is better all-round’ will be familiar with the fact we have developed long-standing relationships with our Chinese herb suppliers. Here, we provide a little more detail around the specific support we provide.
Better togetherAn estimated 80% of raw Chinese herbal materials come from wild collection – a labour-intensive task most often conducted by the poorest in society via small, traditional communities. With global demand now outstripping supply and prices rising like never before, the temptation to overuse land, not allow fields to rest in rotation and to fall short on acceptable quality, safety and working conditions is all too high.
Over three decades ago, in a bid to ensure continued herb quality and sustainable supply, we set about developing genuine relationships at grassroots levels with growers – something we’re particularly proud of. We buy raw herbs directly and support their business through every harvest, good or bad. Such close collaboration has seen us witness first hand the complex developments and changes over time in this field. With a desire to encourage suppliers to use the land well, uphold quality and embrace ethical growing and employment practices, we took this commitment further some ten years ago.
Supply chains are, however, notoriously tricky to track. Hence, it’s an area we pay much attention to. Each year, Pia Al-Khafaji, one of our Directors, visits China – a country in which she studied and lived for most of the 1980s. These travels cover thousands of miles often in challenging conditions; taking Pia to China’s furthest corners where she attends every farm, grower and factory we work with. Once there, she audits practices and conditions across a broad spectrum of criteria. Integrity of working conditions is checked, alongside assessment against internationally recognised Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and Fair Wild standards. Organic and sustainable cultivation methods are also encouraged and supported. All these measures prove vitally important to small, traditional farming communities, helping them secure reliable and sustainable long-term routes to market.
Yes, it takes time and is a considerable commitment – especially so because we are a small company too. But perhaps it is our size, agility and responsiveness that indeed enable us to do this. We feel fortunate that we are able to go to such lengths and we have the utmost confidence in the difference this practice makes to the quality, effectiveness and longevity of our ingredients and formulas. We hope that you too agree these endeavours are wholly worthwhile.
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