Ekaterina Igumentseva left her job in the City to set up a company that would make a difference – a company that would combine sustainable development with helping people to feel better in their day-to-day lives.
Today, she’s Founder of Organic Burst supplements. Let’s find out more.
Ocado: Obviously, sustainability is important to you – what initiatives have you seen that have really impressed?
Ekaterina: Sustainability, for us, goes much further than the usual idea of just sourcing raw materials responsibly.
Sure, this is a big piece of the puzzle and we’ve seen many impressive results on that front. For example, our non-profit partner, PhytoTrade Africa, reports to us of thousands of families are now able to generate a sustainable income due to rising Baobab demand. In Brazil, we know from our local cooperative partners that vast areas of the Amazon are now under strict protection to preserve trees, curbing deforestation and the destruction of biodiversity. These are really fantastic things and you as our customers are all a very real part of it.
But for us it’s about running a sustainable business. Every detail of Organic Burst is designed with the big picture in mind – our prices are affordable, our products are of the highest organic quality, our packaging is fully recyclable, we make the products easy to understand and fun to take.
O: Why do you believe that going organic matters?
E: Because being organic calls for our products to be 100% pure – no fillers, additives, chemicals or controversial ingredients.
For example, high up the Andes Mountains (4,000m above sea level) where our maca comes from, the farmers grow four plant varieties together – this technique strengthens the plants and naturally protects against pests. Our spirulina is grown in pure mineral water without Chilean Nitrate – a controversial fertiliser widely used in algae cultivation however banned by organic standards as an environmental contaminant.
Organic standards also go beyond cultivation methods. They contain guidance on social responsibility, as well as environmental and agricultural principles. For instance in Malawi, where our Baobab powder comes from, the harvesters of organic fruit are paid a premium over and above the standard rate. Trees and the entire ecosystems in the organic certified areas are protected from being chopped down as opposed to those outside the organic reserves. This is crucial for the environment and the lives of the local people.
Always look for the EU Certification mark on the product – it is a guarantee that the product fully adheres to these strict organic standards.
O: How far do you think your personal ethics and beliefs influence the products you create?
E: Our key belief is ‘win/win’ – everyone in the chain must win. This allows us to strive for the best and enables us to deliver superior quality products and service. It’s what motivates us and what allows us to work even seven days a week.
As long as our customers continue to report such fantastic health benefits, and we continue to grow demand together, that helps the local communities we source our materials from. We are achieving ‘win/win’ together.
In terms of ethics, the most important aspects for us are being gentle, honest and proper in every possible way. That is the foundation of Organic Burst.
O: You work with Fair Trade cooperatives and non-profit organisations. What impact is this having?
E: All of our sourcing activities have positive impacts on both people and the environment.
We have reports from PhytoTrade Africa that millions of people have directly benefited from the increase in Baobab demand. Thousands of families were living on only £65 a year!
The best person to tell you about these very real impacts is someone directly affected. Patuma Msyenda, from Maldeco-Mechesi village, Southern Malawi tells us, “I have made enough money from the Baobab business to start a small kiosk in my village. I have also built a house for us to live in and bought a plot of land. I no longer have to depend on anyone else to take care of me or my children – I am a home owner and a businesswoman with big plans! I also sell fish and grow maize to feed my family and help neighbours in need. It is important to be respectful of the Baobabs and help preserve them for the women who come after me.”
O: You obviously do a lot of research into some very unusual ingredients. Tell us about some of the most weird and wonderful ones.
E: In our quest we have definitely come across many weird and wonderful creations of nature – some with amazing properties (watch this space) and some which we wouldn’t want to put you through…
One that particularly gets smiles raised around the OB office is the ‘Poo Fruit’. Somewhat childish of us – agreed!
It’s referred to by many as the Poo Fruit due to its very… umm… ‘special’ smell. There are even strict regulations in some Asian countries forbidding it on public transport and airplanes!
O: If you could sum up Organic Burst in a pop song, which would it be?
E: We want to bring light into peoples lives, so what better song to represent Organic Burst than Here Comes the Sun by The Beatles.
‘Here comes the sun…do do do do…and I say it’s alright…’
O: Good choice! Thanks for your time
On the sofa with… The Collective Dairy
On the sofa with… Painted Wolf Wines
On the sofa with… Natoora