The Raw materials chosen for a product is a decisive factor in a product's Co2 emissions, water use, impact on eco-systems, nature and wildlife, as well as the products societal impact. Next to this, the raw materials are also important for product circularity, durability and toxicity.
Source For Future specialises in making responsible raw material choices easy and accessible for your product sourcing. We do this by researching and analysing each product's main raw material and working with both producers and buyers to encourage the use of the most responsible raw materials.
Tracing raw materials can be very challenging, and guaranteeing sustainability in all aspects of raw materials is often next to impossible. However, much can be done, and we aim to do as much as possible, with a focus on continuous improvements. In each product order, we deliver a one-page sustainability report summing up the benefits of the product, production, raw material, fair trade aspects, impact and Co2 emissions. You'll find the estimated Co2 emissions of the raw material* as part of this report.
The example of Indo Naturals' hemp bags
It can be challenging to develop products using more responsible raw materials. However, on the flip side, using different raw materials can bring various new benefits to the final product.
Some things just make sense. Like using the moist absorbing, fast-drying, antibacterial, and super durable textiles like jute and hemp for your food products.
When not using synthetic/plastic textiles, cotton is almost always used. It's natural, soft, and familiar. However, on the grim side cotton is highly water-dependent and slow-growing, with a small yield requiring large land area use which puts pressure on the eco-system and wildlife. In addition to that, it's a fragile plant making it pesticide dependent, and when organically grown it can put a high risk on the farmer in case the crop gets attacked putting the often marginalized farmers in even more economic stress. So why is cotton used for everything? Because the mass production of it has made it cheap and accessible. Not because it's necessarily the best option for the product benefits.
*We calculate the Co2 emissions of the raw materials based on the main raw material's estimated Co2 emissions and the total final product weight. In some cases the main raw material is absorbing more Co2 emissions than what it gives, like the case of hemp and jute, giving negative raw material Co2 emissions.