Guiding Principles

The Guiding Principles That Inspire Mountain Rose Herbs

Mountain Rose Herbs has always taken a formidable and uncompromising stand when it comes to the protection and sustainability of our natural world and the delicate systems which balance all life as we know it. This complex and venerable planet produces all of the products we share with you, and it is simply a matter of appreciation and respect that must be given. Not only do we lead the industry in environmental stewardship, we also adhere to strict principles and protocols that ensure fair treatment and compensation for the people involved with the production of our products; both domestically and overseas. These are the very same people that produce much of what we offer you and our wish is to further guarantee that they are compensated well for their services and treated with respect. Through common consensus we hope to encourage an ecological practice within businesses and our communities, where more is given than is taken. This follows the simple, yet powerful dictum…

"The frog does not drink up the pond in which it lives"

All of us at Mountain Rose Herbs work assiduously in monitoring the environment, business practices, and labor conditions from where many of our products originate from and we support organizations that help us in this endeavor. By clicking the tab above, you will find several organizations that we are directly and passionately involved with which we would like to share with you. Mountain Rose Herbs has contributed its time, money, products, resources, and information to all of them and we urge you to do the same. We promise you will feel good all over and the memories to be had in contributing your efforts to such a cause will forge a mirthful and merry smile for many years to come.

Sustainability Report

It is our great pleasure to share our 2012 Sustainability Report! This is an important tool that will help us measure and monitor our greenhouse gas emissions, water usage, employee programs, charitable giving, and many other key indicators. Throughout 2013, our Director of Sustainability worked closely with every Mountain Rose Herbs’ department to gather information for the annual report. The project wouldn’t be possible without the assistance of an inspiring team of Graduate students from University of Oregon’s Lundquist College of Business. In June, we completed data collection and analysis and at long last, we are ready to debut our findings in a beautifully crafted 24 page document. We invite you to sit back with a cup of your favorite Mountain Rose Herbs’ tea and enjoy the read!

Sustainability Report

Mountain Rose Herbs’ 2012 Sustainability Report


Mountain Rose Herbs incorporates its passion for organics into every fiber and thread of its operational foundation.

Currently we offer one of the most thorough selections of certified organic herbs, spices and botanicals today, and contrary to other companies who will supply both an organic and conventional variety, organics remain our first and only choice regardless of price or profit! We will never stock a non-organic item if an organic one is available, nor will we offer our customers material which has been conventionally grown using synthetic substances. In the event that certified organic material is not available, we opt for material which was cultivated without chemicals or harvested in the wild, thus liberating ourselves from commercial farming dependencies, and all of these materials have been meticulously analyzed in the lab for both chemical and pesticide residues.

Our Sources

One deciding factor in the products you see throughout our catalog is respect for workers, and reverence for the environment, and this applies to farms domestically and overseas. Mountain Rose Herbs will only negotiate with farmers who are certified organic through a USDA accredited certification agency, and they must have clear and transparent working conditions in place.

Our primary source of herbal material is from certified organic American farms and many of these farms are on contract with us as an exclusive grower for our needs. When material is not available here in the U.S. we will negotiate with organic farmers in foreign nations who we have developed lasting, trusting relationships with.

We have a strict policy that guarantees workers a fair market value for the goods they produce and each vendor we choose to do business with must sign a thorough affidavit which guarantees fair wages for all of the people involved with the production of the materials we buy, along with a guarantee that safe and clean working conditions are in place.

We have gone above and beyond Fair Trade with the creation of our own program called "Good Trade" which we feel more fully protects the growers and harvesters financial interests. While Fair Trade programs are beneficial and important, they only allocate a certain percentage of the transaction to those involved with the production of goods, and this is done without direct negotiating rights being exercised by the growers, and the premiums added to the products they offer are strictly determined by the markets. What we have developed in our Good Trade Program is a business model where the growers get full negotiation rights for the products they grow, and they in turn dictate what prices Mountain Rose Herbs shall pay for goods, and not the other way around. When the growers set the price, we can all be assured that farming families and workers receive the financial security they feel is necessary to continue their agricultural heritage that we all rely upon for our very survival.

Charitable Giving and Non-Profit Support

One of the finest expressions for all of us at Mountain Rose Herbs is the ability to extend our sincere support to the numerous organizations and individuals who all share a reverence for the world we live in, and we do this by allocating an average of $100,000 dollars each year for charitable giving, sponsorships, community functions, conservation work, and plant related projects. In addition to generous financial contributions, we also work directly with numerous non-profits by helping them organize events, distribute information, and garner new members. To view a short list of the organizations we support and the specific work we do for them please click here.

Fair Trade Protection

Mountain Rose Herbs became the first U.S. supplier of Fair Trade Certified medicinal herbs and we will continue to pursue our commitment to transparent and fair exchanges between growers and ourselves through the Fair For Life program. In addition to this we offer an enormous selection of Fair Trade teas thus securing a portion of the sale to agricultural communities that have been traditionally exploited for generations. To learn more about the Fair Trade program please click here.

We have taken one additional step which goes beyond traditional Fair Trade practices through our Good Trade Program which we feel more fully protects the growers and harvesters financial interests. While Fair Trade programs are beneficial and important, they only allocate a certain percentage of the transaction to those involved with the production of goods, and this is done without direct negotiating rights being exercised by the growers, and the premiums added to the products they offer are strictly determined by the markets. What we have developed in our Good Trade Program is a business model where the growers get full negotiation rights for the products they grow, and they in turn dictate what prices Mountain Rose Herbs shall pay for goods, and not the other way around. When the growers set the price, we can all be assured that farming families and workers receive the financial security they feel is necessary to continue their agricultural heritage that we all rely upon for our very survival.

Mountain Rose River Project

The Mountain Rose River Project is a grassroots action campaign coordinated and funded entirely by our company. Each year, employees manage 6-8 restoration projects through our Paid Time For Community Involvement Program and we have partnered with numerous state, federal, and non-profit agencies. The Mountain Rose River Project focuses exclusively on riparian ecosystems, stream health, and fish habitat, and to learn more and see photos of us in action please see Mountain Rose River Project

Our Catalog

We restrict the mailing of our catalogs twice a year and only to those that request them or customers within a 9 month period. We do not superfluously or needlessly distribute thousands of catalogs to every person we feel might be interested in our products, thus preventing them from being thrown away. Our current catalog is 76 pages and the non-glossy interior pages were manufactured on 100% recycled stock and the glossy pages were manufactured on 50% recycled stock. The printing is done with soybean-based inks, and absolutely no petroleum or solvent-based solutions were used in the production of our catalog. It's so clean it can even be composted!

At this time we have decided to stay away from producing a glossy catalog because of the amount of chemicals used in the process…the findings were truly incredible!

Using Recycled and Non-Toxic Materials

All invoices, flyers, brochures and other paper materials printed for our customers by Mountain Rose Herbs is done on 100% post consumer waste material. We will never utilize nor purport the use of virgin paper materials in anything we print within our business. All of the office supplies we use within the entire company are made from recycled, tree free, or chemical free sources. A short sampling includes push pins, coffee coasters, plastic file organizers, scissors, pens and paper clips which are made from post-consumer recycled material, all CD's, discs, and computer supplies are from salvaged or recycled sources, and all of our folders, binders, clip boards, scissors, and other paper and plastic materials are purchased from green companies specializing in post consumer recycled materials.

Sustainable Packaging

At Mountain Rose Herbs we realized a long time ago that recycling by itself would not be sufficient in reducing our waste and lessening our footprint, and the simple act of recycling was in absolute futility unless we closed the loop by purchasing products strictly made from recycled materials. We currently utilize recycled materials in the production and packaging of our products and this includes the finished products we offer to all of our customers. Our bulk carrier oils are packaged in plastic bottles made from 100% recycled plastic, the bottles used for our line of herbal capsules were manufactured from 100% recycled plastic resin, the tins for our balms are made from raw material which has at least 25% recycled metal, the kraft bags used to package our teas are composed of recycled paperboard, the labels used on our products are printed with 100% post consumer waste paper, and too many others to list!

Our Shipping Materials

All of our packaging and shipping material is tediously screened by other green businesses who work within the same paradigm as Mountain Rose Herbs. We use recycled post-consumer newsprint to fill the voids of your parcel, the boxes we use for shipping your order are made from 100% post-consumer corrugation material, the plastic bubble wrap we use to cushion merchandise during transit is manufactured from 100% post-cosumer plastic resin, and for our larger customers that order pallet quantities, you will notice that the stretch film for your shipment is a green hue and this is because it is manufactured from a plant based resin and is 100% bio-compostable! The paper used for inserts, invoices, brochures, etc., is always made from 100% post-consumer recycled paper, and the peanuts which are occasionally used in our parcels are salvaged and cleaned from other companies and individuals.

Chemical Free Facility and Integrated Pest Management (IPM)

Mountain Rose Herbs does not use, nor allow within its facility standard commercial cleaning agents which include chemically laced cleaning products, bleaches, synthetic and chemical based soaps, ammonia, chlorine, dioxide, bleach, commercial pest repellents, fumigants, or other synthetic agents which are harmful to ourselves, the environment, and our immediate watershed system. Pest management practices include the use of sonic repellers, pheromone traps, and the vigilant application of both diatomaceous earth and pyrethrum powder. We do not fumigate nor do we use chemical killing agents. All cleaning products used within our facilities are 100% natural, bio-degradable and are approved for use within certified organic facilities. The primary industrial cleaning agents are ordered in bulk from the Bio-Kleen Corporation, with the exception of Grapefruit Seed extract mixed with Lemon Essential oil and Baking Soda as a general cleanser. The production and processing centers within our warehouse use Peracetic Acid as a sanitizer and industrial cleaning agent. Peracetic Acid is a concentrated form of Hydrogen Peroxide and Vinegar, is completely biodegradable, and it is approved by the EPA.

Bio-Swale and Wastewater Diversion

Mountain Rose Herbs is proud to have a biologically intact bio-swale system which collects and filters all of the wastewater runoff from our 2 acre industrial complex and we have recently completed a complete restoration of this swale using plants and trees with a high ratio of pollutant filtration. Bio-swales often get overlooked for their environmental contributions, and having them in place is essential for healthy rivers, aquatic communities, fish, and waterfowl. Typically rain water hits impervious surfaces such as concrete and roads and here it collects pollutants from our streets and is immediately discharged into our rivers via storm runoff. With a bio-swale in place, Mountain Rose Herbs diverts 100% of its runoff into a bio-logically enhanced on-site pond which is replete with flora and fauna that acts as natural filters, thus preventing polluted runoff from going directly into our rivers.

Zero Waste Company

Mountain Rose Herbs is a successful Zero Waste company where any perceived materials which might be regarded as waste are either recycled, re-used, composted, reclaimed, or brought back into the production cycle.

Everything is collected and sorted for proper reclamation including the backs of labels, plastic bags, scrap metal from barrels, poly-woven bags, herbal refuse material, buckets, oil and much more!

Because of our unwavering commitment to absolute environmental stewardship, we have enthusiastically embraced what is known as the zero waste paradigm. This ideology strives to eliminate all waste by re-thinking and re-designing the current business model to create a more dynamic approach to resource recovery, product design, and recycling.

It is our hope to emulate and follow the cycle of the natural world, which produces no waste, and utilizes all outputs as needed and vital inputs to continue the cycle of life. Zero waste produces a mutual interdependence that every living thing can benefit from. We have integrated the ideology of zero waste to reduce, reuse, and recycle in every area of our business. By re-injecting perceived waste back into our business model, we not only help sustain the fragile bond between man and the natural world, but have also help in the creation of jobs and the saving of money.

To learn more about our Zero Waste accomplishments and how we did it please see Zero Waste

EarthShare Business Member

We are utterly thrilled to announce that Mountain Rose Herbs is an EarthShare business member and we have setup a generous employee giving program which connects our staff with like-minded environmental organizations that work to protect and defend the places we hold dear. This further outlines the legacy of generosity which is fundamental in the operational foundation of Mountain Rose Herbs, and the simple act of setting up a workplace giving program through EarthShare will guarantee that the natural gifts this planet offers us will always be protected. For more information please see EarthShare

Carpool, Bus, and Bicycle Program

Mountain Rose Herbs offers one of the nation's finest commuting programs which pays substantial cash incentives to all employees who either carpool with fellow employees, ride the bus or bicycle to work. Currently we pay staff members who carpool or ride the bus to work 12 cents per mile for each passenger. For those who bicycle to work, we compensate them 20 cents per mile. In addition to this we offer a $500.00 bonus at the end of each year to the individual who has logged the most miles. As we are all aware, excess automobile usage is an environmental burden with consequences of great magnitude. Driving cars requires unsustainable and non-renewable resources; while simultaneously contributing to the growing problem of Co2 emissions and global climate change. We feel that our Carpool, Bus and Bike Program works in a small part to alleviate these problems.

All Computers and Monitors Purchased are EPEAT Certified

All of the computers and monitors purchased by Mountain Rose Herbs are EPEAT certified at the gold level which means that they have been approved and rated for their environmental attributes. This includes the elimination of heavy metals in the construction of circuitry, using recycled materials in the housing of the unit, their extended life cycle, lead free components, their energy efficiency, and much more. While it may not seem like a substantial amount, Mountain Rose Herbs can go through an average of 11-12 computers annually which adds up! Learn more at EPEAT.

Paid Time For Community Involvement

Mountain Rose Herbs offers each of its employees 2 full paid days each year so they may donate that time to work for community, environmental, and social functions. This amounts to a total of 16 hours of paid time earned annually for each employee which is fully reimbursed by Mountain Rose Herbs, and all of our staff may volunteer or donate their time to functions of their choosing. This just goes to show that if everyone does a little, we can all do a lot.

Company Cargo Vehicles and Trucks Powered by Used Vegetable Oil

Our commercial fleet vehicles including cargo vans and industrial trucks run on reclaimed vegetable based bio-diesel! The bio-diesel we use is manufactured from waste vegetable oil collected from numerous local sources which also includes a large portion that the Kettle Chips factory produces. This further outlines our commitment to environmental sustainability and lessening our impact on global warming.

Company Wide Conversion To Greenpower

Mountain Rose Herbs is proud to have redirected the entire company's electrical load through the EWEB Greenpower program, which helps to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and it will add to our community's portfolio of generating alternative energy. Investing in the greenpower program (which is a developmental project of our local utility provider EWEB) guarantees that a significant portion of our electrical load comes from renewable sources including the Stateline Wind Energy Center and from photovoltaic electric generation facilities in Eugene, Oregon. To learn more please see please see EWEB Greenpower.

Company Wide Carbon Offsetting

Mountain Rose Herbs is proud to have converted to 100% renewable energy by transferring its conventional electrical power usage to renewable energy sources, credits, and development. Recent expansions in green renewable power and carbon offset credits enabled us to convert and transfer our previous dependency on non-renewable energy sources such as fossil fuels and nuclear to a more sustainable and less harmful energy source. Our entire company's carbon footprint including shipping, customer service, executive travel, distribution, etc, is offset through the CarbonFund and to learn more about our program and efforts please see CarbonFund.

Energy Usage

Mountain Rose Herbs is proud to have made strident steps in lessening its electrical consumption impact and we have done this implementing numerous practices which include.

  • A complete lighting upgrade in our principal facilities to thin diameter, low impact, fluorescent cylinders which draw far less power than traditional fluorescent tubes and incandescent bulbs.
  • Our building was constructed to LEED standards which harnesses over 80% natural light. This has provided us with the opportunity to NOT require any lighting in our customer service and administrative departments, as well as our production departments. The benefit of harnessing natural light has lessened our electrical usage load for general illumination by over 40 percent!
  • Our company switched our cargo and delivery vehicles to run on used vegetable oil based Bio-Diesel.
  • A company wide upgrade to LED flat screen monitors instead of traditional CRT monitors which use about 65% more energy and generate nearly 5 times as much heat.
  • Newly installed E-Star rated central heat and cooling units which are maintained and serviced quarterly for optimal performance and efficiency. These units are highly energy efficient and are E-Star rated.
  • All computer purchases have been converted to EPEAT certified models which have been Gold Star rated for their environmental attributes including energy conservation, the amount and type of packaging used to ship and house the computer, and the refusal to use harmful materials in the construction of the computers.
  • All of the appliances, electronics, and other small to medium sized electrical components that we purchase are always E-Star rated.
  • We converted our entire electrical usage load to the EWEB Greenpower program which guarantees that a significant portion of our electicity comes from wind and solar sources.

Sustainable Recognition and Green Business Awards

Our environmental and sustainability initiatives are so thorough that we have been recognized and awarded by both our industry and community. These include;

  • In 2010 Mountain Rose Herbs was the recipient of the Oregon Ethics in Business Award which honors companies that lead by example through community dedication, fair workplace practices, environmental stewardship, and product integrity
  • In 2011 Mountain Rose Herbs received the Environmental Values Award through the Eugene Chamber of Commerce's Emerald Awards program
  • In 2011 Mountain Rose Herbs was awarded certification from the Bring RE:think program. This program audits companies for their total environmental footprint and certification is only given to those companies which pass in all of their categories. In a press release issued by the folks at RE:think they had enthusiastically stated that "Mountain Rose Herbs is truly in a league of it's own. Your business' score is the highest we have seen."
  • Mayor Kitty Piercy of Eugene honored us with the city's prestigious "Bold Steps Towards Sustainability Award". To be recognized with the award, Mountain Rose Herbs had to answer numerous questions and enforce new policies towards ecological business practices. For more information, please see… Mayor's Award
  • Mountain Rose Herbs was recognized as their business of the year in 2008 by Mt. Pisgah Arboretum. Mount Pisgah Arboretum is a non-profit organization dedicated to a mission of maintaining Pacific Northwest plant communities, offering environmental education programs for all ages, and providing facilities for the public enjoyment of its carefully restored and maintained site.
  • Mountain Rose Herbs was the recipient of the 2008 Co-Op America People's Choice for Green Business of the Year Award. Co-Op America identifies businesses that are committed to social and environmental responsibility, and only businesses that have passed Co-op America's screening process are eligible. For more information please see Co-Op America People's Choice Award
  • Mountain Rose Herbs was the recipient of the 2010 Trashbusters Award presented by Lane County Oregon. This award honors organizations which are engaged in a wider spectrum of activity beyond just recycling, and applauds them for creating innovative new products, new systems and new services which address the waste issue.
  • In 2011 Mountain Rose Herbs was honored to receive the award of excellence from the Oregon Organic Coalition which recognized us for our work in advancing organic agriculture in the state of Oregon.
  • The Oregon Sustainability Board selected Mountain Rose Herbs as the 2012 Grand Champion for the Governor's Sustainability Award. We were recognized as a leader in socially and environmentally responsible business practices, such as being a Zero Waste Company and our Carpool, Bus and Bike to Work Program."
  • OregonBusiness recognized us as one of the state's 100 Best Green Companies To Work For in 2013! We came in 9th out of 440 businesses surveyed, for our commitment to sustainability. Thanks to the dedicated staff, we continue to make environmentally- and socially-conscious business choices.