Alnatura Bio 7 Initiative

The Alnatura Bio 7 Initiative demonstrates what we stand for - organic food, based on a holistic philosophy, which encompasses the values and production methods of organic farming. The Alnatura Bio 7 Initiative also provides information about our values and plans for shaping the future. The following seven points represent the guiding principles on which our initiative is based:

Careful management

What we do should be meaningful. This is our guiding principle and our aim is to constantly improve how we achieve it. We believe that business exists for people, and not vice versa. We see the Earth as an organism, not merely as a source of raw materials. We want to treat the Earth with respect, just like the people to whom we provide our goods and services.

"No conscience without knowledge": thisis why we at Alnatura place so much emphasis on creating awareness of careful management, such as organic cultivation. We have therefore started providing lots of valuable information about sustainable, careful management in Alnatura's customer magazine, in our employee newsletter, on the Alnatura website and via other information channels.

In 2004, Alnatura employees founded the Alnatura hilft e. V. charity, which promotes initiatives connected with eco-friendly agriculture, health and children. Donations are received from business partners, customers and colleagues. Every year, head office auctions off all the Christmas gifts we receive from business partners and donates the proceeds to Alnatura hilft e.V. We also donate the proceeds from the sale of product samples, or old computers. Once a year the charitable association's members choose the projects that will benefit.

Diverse organic cultivation

Organic cultivation is regarded as the most environmentally friendly form of agriculture. It emerged as a response to the environmental crises of the 20th century. Organic cultivation aims to manage material cycles.

The focus is on maintaining and promoting the soil's fertility. This is why we do not use synthetic, organo-chemical fertilisers and sprays. Other, more time-consuming methods are used to produce healthy food. We use beneficial insects and crop rotation instead of chemical sprays, for example. The use of artificial nitrogen fertilisers is banned in organic cultivation. Instead we grow legumes, which form nitrogen, and use compost. Humus-rich, organically fertilised soils trap more environmentally harmful carbon dioxide (CO2). Organic farmers help to prevent the disproportionate spread of undesirable plants (weeds), insects and microorganisms (pests and diseases) through careful soil management and diverse cultivation. Organic farming aims to promote the diversity of flora and fauna, such as insects, birds, and soil biota. EU law prohibits the use of genetic engineering for organic foods.

Organic farming is a way of life.  We eat what it produces.  We are responsible for how we treat Nature. This is the basis of the power we have to shape our lives.

Alnatura has always been organic. Alnatura was involved in this form of agriculture even before the European Union issued a regulation on organic cultivation. As a founding member of Germany's Bund Ökologische Lebensmittelwirtschaft (BÖLW), or Ecological Food Industry Federation, and a member of IFOAM (International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements), Alnatura supports the further development of organic agriculture.

Alnatura complies with the standards of various associations (e.g. Bioland, Naturland, Demeter) for many products, thus achieving standards which exceed those required by the EU. It goes without saying that Alnatura only sells exclusively organic products.

Every year we introduce new Alnatura organic products to the market, at an affordable price, so that organic farming will become more widespread in future. This will make it possible  for everyone to enjoy organically grown products and consequently contribute to the spread of this farming method.

Holistic processing

As far as we're concerned, organic doesn't stop at farming. We have very high standards, especially when it comes to processing. We have drawn up a code of practice which establishes guidelines and decision-making priorities, for example on product origin or choice of ingredients.

We have made a conscious choice not to use some of the additives that are permitted under EU regulations on organic production. It took us more than 10 years to develop our Soya Cream Cuisine, for example, without using carrageen, before putting it on the market. We will continue to make every effort in this field in future also.

Transparent quality

Many people want to know what goes into our products, because ultimately, you are what you eat. This is precisely why we list all the ingredients in full. It is also a matter of principle that everyone should be able to understand the list of ingredients in Alnatura products.

Wherever possible, we state the origins of the processed raw materials on the label. We cooperate with organic farming associations such as Demeter, Bioland and Naturland, because this maintains the link to our food's origins. And if we make a mistake once in a while, we correct it and own up to it.

Alnatura is advised on the quality of Alnatura products by a group of independent experts. This Alnatura quality working party has been in existence since the mid-1980s, when Alnatura products were developed for the first time. If the experts don't consider the recipe, production method, origin of ingredients, or even a single ingredient in a product that Alnatura has in development to be sensible and justifiable, they reject the proposal. Development work then either continues for Alnatura, or a product is abandoned. This means that products are often a long time in development. Alnatura fruit gums, for example, will only be marketed when we have found a way to manufacture them without using natural flavouringss, even though these are actually permitted under EU organic production law.

Sustainable practice

There is a saying that we have only borrowed the Earth from our children. We want to hand it on to the next generation in good condition. Mankind uses the Earth so that we can live. We must not deplete it, though, or even destroy it. Organic cultivation is a very sustainable way of treating the Earth. We try to implement sustainability in every part of our company.

As a sustainable alternative in energy use, we obtain energy from renewable sources provided by Elektrizitätswerken Schönau (EWS), a German plant generating clean electricity, which is backed by a citizens' initiative and run on ecological principles. Because wood is a sustainable resource, it is our material of choice in the structures and facilities we design. We try to avoid packaging, use it sparingly and ensure it can be recycled. We realise, though, that there is still a lot more to do.

Cooperation in partnership

We collaborate long term with our partners - the organic farmers, organic processors, organic associations and retailers. We have been partners with many of them from the very beginning. We believe in cooperation, not confrontation. We practise job-sharing as it makes sense for our business.

In 2012 we launched a survey of all our manufacturing partners on all aspects of sustainability. We enquired, for example, about energy and water consumption, employee working conditions, packaging and raw materials procurement. 86% of our manufacturing partners took part. Many manufacturers told us that the survey motivated them to do even more in the field of sustainability. The survey told us that many of our partners were already taking specific measures, such as using clean energy.

We know that what really produces our food is the soil, plants and animals. The organic farmer creates conditions for them that result in healthy and productive soil, plants and animals. Our manufacturing partners transform these products into good food. Alnatura's quality experts ensure that we offer sensible Alnatura products. Retail employees are well trained, so they can provide our most important partners, our customers, with expert information. We act on behalf of our customers, who we want to inspire and whose continued confidence makes our business possible. This is why we maintain an in-depth dialogue with our customers, at customer evenings in our branches, for example, through social media, or in written correspondence. Our business is based on respect and fair dialogue.

Pro-active approach

Our Alnatura customers want to be pro-active. We try to fulfil this desire to have their say and make an active contribution in various ways. Through a comprehensive range of varying initiatives for people, animals and nature, we give our customers the opportunity to express their creativity and their concerns, or to find like-minded people to talk to. Our "take part" offers are a key feature of Alnatura's communications.

Here are a few examples:

  • Experience diversity: joint political action in opposing genetic engineering
  • Feast for bees: customers buy and sow seeds to encourage bees
  • Alnatura project items: products with a direct donation going to projects in Peru and Zimbabwe
  • Alnatura transformation artists: customers design beautiful and useful items from old Alnatura packaging.

Customers show us that they value what we do through their involvement, their commitment, and by purchasing our products.

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