Echostore levels up organic brand | Inquirer Business

Echostore levels up organic brand

/ 05:02 AM January 31, 2020

Marco Schluter, Naturland international development manager. —PHOTOS BY LEO M. SABANGAN II

“Don’t panic, it’s organic,” is something one can soon say with conviction when they buy items from Echostore, the local sustainable lifestyle brand known for its selection of all-natural products.

Run by Chit Juan, Jeannie Javelosa, and Reena Francisco, Echostore is sealing a partnership with Germany-based Naturland Association for Organic Agriculture, one of the world’s leading organic culture groups which promotes organic farming along with fair trade and social responsibility. Such partnership, says Marco Schlüter, will place Echostore’s organic products on a higher standard.


“The certification is something that will encourage consumers’ trust. So having a Naturland certification means [Echostore is] willing to go to the highest standard [when it comes to selling organic products],” says Schlüter.


Founded in 1982, Naturland has 54,000 farmers, beekeepers, aquaculturists, and fisherfolk from 52 countries in its network. Aside from being a certifying body, the nonprofit has also developed standards for fair trade and social responsibility for its members.

“We have our own private standards, and we had standards even before there was even any government regulation. When Naturland was established in 1982, there was nothing. Now we have government regulations, but we still [maintain] our private standards,” says Schlüter, who is responsible for the international strategic development of Naturland. Before joining the association, he was director of the IFOAM EU Group (the European umbrella organization for organic agriculture), a post he held for over 12 years.

Espresso Campanero

Here in the Philippines, Naturland has around 3,700 farmer-members—a mix of individual farmers and cooperatives, says Schlüter. Because the nature of Naturland’s work is farmers-driven, the association, aside from providing certifications, also has programs geared toward their members’ development. Schlüter says they work closely with local groups, such as the League of Organic Agriculture Municipalities, Cities and Provinces of the Philippines, to provide additional support for farmers, many of whom are living in poverty.

“For us, it’s not just about certifying [the farmers]. The aim is to get them out of poverty. We want to make a roadmap to help develop organic farmers in terms of training and education, projects, facilities,” he says.

In fact, Schlüter looks at the Naturland-Echostore partnership as an exciting milestone for the association, as it provides their farmer-members that much-needed direct access to consumers. He also says it’s a first for Naturland to enter into such partnership.

”We don’t market ourselves, but we try to connect [our farmers] to the right people so, hopefully, they can also lead better lives. It’s really the first time for Naturland to work with a market partner. It’s a new way of working, you could say,” says Schluter.


The ultimate dream is not to just have more Filipinos patronize organic products—it’s to have them buy both organic and local, so that the country’s farmers aren’t limited to just exporting their produce, Schlüter adds.

“You have many organic products from [abroad], and I think, for value creation, the Philippines’ products should have a market here. That’s why we are partnering with Echostore,” he says. —ANNELLE TAYAO-JUEGO

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TAGS: Echostore, Naturland

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