Sustainability is the Core of Our Business
At Lotus Foods, "sustainability" is not just a buzzword. It is what motivates us every day as a company and as individuals. Most of us tend to think of sustainability in terms of agriculture or the environment. Our own broader definition is more in tune with the Earth Charter, which believes that sustainable living and development is premised on an ethical framework that includes "respect and care for the community of life, ecological integrity, universal human rights, respect for diversity, economic justice, and a culture of peace."
We feel we are at the epicenter of issues related to this broader concept of sustainability. Almost of all of us have stood in front of a supermarket shelf and studied a product label to learn where it came from, what chemicals and dyes it contains, and what impact it might have had on the environment, humans or animals. Though agriculture is no longer essential to our economy, it is essential to our lives. What we eat and how and where our food is produced has major bearing on our personal and national health, human and animal rights, climate change, land and water use, international relations and the survival of American rural communities.
In low-income countries, agriculture still dominates economies and societies. It accounts for the bulk of national production, employs more people than any other sector, supplies basic food and represents a major source of foreign exchange. Agriculture is a critical stimulus for growth and income generation. This means that eradicating poverty and promoting social and economic justice has to start with agriculture and it has to be accomplished in a way that protects and restores the natural resources on which all life depends. At the crux of this challenge is rice, which provides a source of living to two billion people, most earning less than $200 a year.
While we fully endorse the "Buy Local" trend in the US, we also believe that sustainability is a global issue and responsibility. Providing market incentives for smallholder farmers who are conserving biodiversity and growing their rice in environmentally friendly ways is an important way to promote local food security and effect positive change. Our recent work with the System of Rice Intensification is an exciting opportunity to address a wider range of critical sustainability issues looming ever larger in our lives, such as water scarcity.
Whether you purchase a Lotus Foods rice produced in the United States, China or Madagascar, you are not only choosing a high-quality nutritious food product, you are investing in a healthier, more equitable and more sustainable world for our producers and your family.