When we were deciding on a partner for the first Good People Awards, Ceres Organics was one of the first to spring to mind. We’ve been working with them since 2011 but they have been around a lot longer (since the 1980s!), doing a lot of good in New Zealand and across the globe.
The birth of Ceres Organics can’t be pinned down as an exact moment. In an organic nutshell, its original founder Juliet setting up an organic food stall at a school fair, its director Noel throwing himself into a life-changing book. And its matriarch Rodnie bringing everyone together. These three trailblazers opened New Zealand’s first organic store, which eventually lead to Ceres Organics as you see it today: a company fuelled by a social mission for more than 30 years.
While many companies dabble with corporate social responsibility, not many are led by a mission of positive total societal impact. “It’s not government but businesses and consumers who have the real ability to change the world. Therefore I feel that we are in the driving seat to care for society,” explains Noel. Bringing organic food seemed the best way to achieve this when they set up shop all those years ago.
An attempt to globalise food production has meant more intensive use of chemicals and natural resources, which adversely affects dozens of ecosystems. Organics is based on the use of local and renewable resources, growing things where they naturally grow best. In the case of quinoa it’s a crop that grows in harmony with its local Andean ecosystem – it has done for 5000 years. Unlike foreign crops, which demand more resources and chemical supplies, native crops adapt much better to their local environment.
Organics also inherently supports fairer working conditions and wages for growers. Ceres Organics quinoa is ‘EcoSocial’ which is basically a big, third party certified tick for all things ethical including: organic, economic, trade, social and environmental factors. This is why they source their organic quinoa from Peru.
Last year one of their “good” projects was launching their white quinoa in a completely home compostable packet in an attempt to shift the world away from single use plastics (watch this space, we’re told there’s more in the pipeline). For this they were awarded ‘Most Sustainable Business’ category finalists for the Keep NZ Beautiful Awards 2017.
“We know how rewarding it is to be recognised for the hard work that goes on behind the scenes,” Noel says. “We jumped at the chance to join Good and do the same for others. Best of luck to all those entering and thank you for continually bringing more goodness to the world.”