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Sustainable Sourcing?  What It Is, Why It Matters & More...

Sustainable Sourcing? What It Is, Why It Matters & More...

Oct 20th 2020

By Charlotte Traas, New Chapter® Director of Education

New Chapter is committed to using ingredients you can trust—like whole fruits, vegetables, herbs, and mushrooms. We source sustainably whenever possible, nourishing body and soul with the healing intelligence of pure whole foods and herbs. The herb and ingredient sourcing process stories of some of our favorite ingredients—wild salmon oil, plant calcium, and potent Turmeric—are excellent examples of our focus on a responsible, ethical supply chain.

Why Does the Source of Ingredients Matter?

It matters a lot where ingredients come from, because if you know that, you can know whether you’re investing in something that is helping people and planet… or something that is potentially causing harm. As a certified B Corporation, it’s our job to meet the highest standards for social and environmental impact. New Chapter travels all over the world to find quality ingredients to put into our supplements. When we are looking for plants that meet our rigorous standards, meeting the numbers of phytonutrients and phytochemicals is only part of our sustainable sourcing process. We also work to make sure that our ingredients are grown responsibly and have positive environmental impact whenever possible.

What is Sustainable Sourcing?

Many people think that sustainability only refers to a resource’s ability to be harvested in a way that does not jeopardize that material’s potential to be a resource for future generations. True sustainability goes far beyond this definition. While ensuring future availability of plants or other resources is a main component of sustainability, there are many other factors that must be considered. For example, placing a larger focus on overall soil health and minimizing the use of soil damaging practices that deplete soil nutrients and structure are equally important. Furthermore, sustainability should also look at the chemical and synthetic inputs that can be used on the land, which can hinder its suitability for long-term use. Sustainability is also mindful of the sourcing strain at every node of the supply chain network. Ethical sourcing practices such as fair trade, willful employment, and safe working conditions are all a part of sustainability.

What is New Chapter’s Sourcing Process?

All of our major suppliers undergo a rigorous audit process in order to ensure that the ingredients we are using in our products not only meet our high quality standards but also stay true to our moral compass by being ethically produced. New Chapter sources organic, sustainable, and environmentally sound ingredients without placing the cost on the natural environment or on suppliers that violate basic human rights. No child or forced labor is allowed to be used when growing our ingredients and our suppliers must not participate in commercial bribery or regulatory non-compliance.

Each New Chapter ingredient is unique in its sourcing story. While some ingredients are sourced from the ocean, and the impact on marine wildlife must be considered, other ingredients need to be evaluated on their sustainability in other ways. We source our ingredients from where they grow best, looking at climate and soil conditions to help find plants that have been cultivated under the right conditions for them to flourish. Like sourcing our Elderberry from Austria, our Rhodiola from Siberia, and our Green Tea from China.

New Chapter partners with many third-party certifiers to gain verified accreditation on different ingredients.

Wholemega Fish Oil

Wholemega Fish Oil is a particularly unique story, because New Chapter only makes one kind of fish oil. While there are other fish oils available that have research that show health benefits, only one continues to meet the strenuous sustainability standards held by New Chapter.

Many fish oils are made from Pacific Sardines, which shows crashing numbers, and Peruvian Anchovies. Peru has some off the most heavily exploited waters and the viable fish numbers are dwindling. Also, ten illegal fishmeal factories were identified in Peru. The illegal fish trade impacts the monitoring and biological management of the anchoveta species. Peru’s Ministry of Production announced an early closure to the 2020 fishing season in January after fisherman marched in protest having found a high amount of juvenile species.

Wholemega’s Sourcing Process

Where can you source truly sustainable fish, as used in Wholemega? One place is Alaska. Sustainability is written into the Alaskan constitution and is managed by several departments and government agencies to ensure overfishing does not deplete our natural resources. No Alaskan salmon stocks are classified as overfished or approaching overfishing.

Alaska prohibits finfish farming, thus no farmed fish are used to make Wholemega, only wild-caught Alaskan salmon. While farmed fish have to be artificially colored for that famous salmon-pink hue, wild-caught salmon gain that color from their natural food source of algae that contains superstar carotenoid Astaxanthin.

Uses and Benefits of Sustainably Sourced Fish Oil

By not contributing to the farmed-fish industry, New Chapter is saying no to the use of pesticides often used to help control sea lice in aquatic farm operations. New Chapter proudly partners with the Alaska Responsible Fisheries Management to ensure that Wholemega third-party verified to be  made from sustainably caught fish.

Certified Sustainable Alaska RFM Logo

We specifically chose Alaska RFM certification because other third-party accreditors offer certifications on both wild caught and farm raised, despite the overwhelming science showing that farmed fisheries are without a doubt not sustainable.  Farmed fish are often times overfed in captivity. The uneaten food pellets and concentrated fish waste can become extremely detrimental to the ecosystem in which they are kept. Vaccinations, antibiotics, and artificial coloring agents can all be used in farmed fishing scenarios without jeopardizing their sustainability certification. That’s why New Chapter chooses wild Alaskan salmon and the honorable Alaska RFM certification.

It doesn’t end there though. Not one fish is killed specifically to make Wholemega. Salmon fillets are valued in high end seafood cases, and what is leftover is the trim. New Chapter uses the trim and presses it to produce Wholemega.

New Chapter Products with Wholemega Fish Oil

New Chapter’s sustainably caught fish oil products include Wholemega 1000 mg capsules clinically studied to support heart health, Wholemega Tiny Caps™ (which are smaller and easy to swallow), and Wholemega for Moms that is crafted for pregnant and nursing women.*

Bone Strength Take Care

New Chapter’s Bone Strength Take Care™ is another product that is truly sustainably sourced. Our wild-harvested Red Marine Algae (Lithothamnion), the source of plant calcium, is certified sustainable by Vottunarstofan Tún, an independent inspection and certification body for organic, sustainable production, and resource utilization in Iceland.

Plant Calcium Sourcing Process

Tún ensures that there is no bycatch during harvest. Bycatch are the innocent fish and other ocean species who are caught unintentionally by commercial fishing vessels. Almost all bycatch hold little to no economic value, are legally non-permissible, and are simply discarded as waste.  Tún also ensures no overharvesting. Each area where the Lithothamnion is gathered is meticulously mapped to avoid overexploiting the harvest area and to prevent disruption of the greater ecosystems. Our Lithothamnion is sourced from  natural deposits of non-living material, which reduces negative impacts on the living organism as well as the entire ecosystem as a whole.

New Chapter Products with Plant Calcium

You can find sustainably harvested plant calcium in Bone Strength Take Care slim tablets as well as our Tiny Tabs version (which is even smaller and easy to swallow). We also use plant calcium in New Chapter whole-food fermented multivitamins.

Turmeric Sourcing

New Chapter has long been known for being an herbal company. We specialize in sourcing quality herbs from where we feel they grow best. For example, we source our Turmeric from India, where the climate, weather, and soil support a virile Turmeric plant and harvest.  New Chapter partners with ingredient suppliers that utilize scientific life cycle assessments to help determine if growing practices and environmental conditions can be improved upon. Together we work to increase overall soil health, reduce emissions, eliminate waste streams, and improve water treatment systems.

Since it’s one of our favorite herbs for wellness (with a remarkable ability to support healthy inflammation response in the body*), you’ll find a LOT of New Chapter products contain Turmeric, from our potent Turmeric Force™ to our 10-herb joint-health blend Zyflamend™ to many of our multivitamins to Fermented Turmeric Booster Powder (boost that smoothie!).

Testing Herbs and Ingredients

New Chapter has demonstrated that we are leaders in supplement quality by committing to the rigorous testing of our ingredients for phytochemical constituent markers, as well as identity.

New Chapter uses HPTLC (High Performance Thin Layer Chromatography) to analyze the identity of our herbals and looks for plants that have levels of nutrients that match the natural profile of mother nature.

New Chapter tests for microbial contaminants, heavy metals, adulterants, and pesticides to deliver a quality product that works.

For our mushroom products, our ingredients are DNA verified to ensure that the mushroom you think you are getting is the one that’s in the bottle!

Our quality measures ensure a great product that is good for both people and planet.

That’s wellness, well done

Looking ahead, we know that the planet’s soil plays an important role in the health of our planet, so New Chapter is proud to partner with the Rodale Institute in Pennsylvania in working toward a regeneratively farmed future.

The Rodale Institute is leading important research on regenerative agriculture. Regenerative agriculture builds upon best organic practices by increasing soil organic matter that helps plants grow. It also supports the conservation and creation of healthy topsoil, restoring fertility to depleted lands and helping to create greater food security. Regenerative agriculture also enhances soil biodiversity and, at scale, has the ability to reverse climate change.

Healthy topsoil acts as a sponge, soaking up water and storing it. Every percent increase of organic matter soil will soak up between 20,000 and 60,000 gallons of water per acre, helping farms to be more resilient in the face of climate extremes like drought and flooding.

New Chapter is proud to support the work of the Rodale Institute to help regenerative agriculture farming practices become standard farming practices.


White outline of whole Alaskan salmon. Decorative illustration.
White outline of whole Alaskan salmon. Decorative illustration.