“A business can be both profitable and fair” says Michael Bronner, Vice President of Dr Bronner’s, one of the oldest soap companies in the world and the Number One natural selling soap brand in the US, a company which is known as much for its commitment to fair trade practice and social responsibility as it is for the quality and effectiveness of its soap and personal care products.
At a time when city bonuses, unpaid internships and tax avoidance are hitting the headlines, Michael Bronner believes that this is a time when UK businesses can learn from companies like Dr Bronner’s which have set a socially responsible agenda with benefits to all.
Since Michael Bronner’s grandfather, Emanuel stood on his first soap box 64 years ago to sell his soap and spread his doctrine for a fairer, more caring world, the Bronner’s family hasn’t been afraid to push boundaries when it comes to raising standards and operating ethically in the natural products market. The rules which Dr Bronner’s operate by are:
1. Protect the world we live in and give to those less fortunate
Over the last five years, Dr Bronner’s spending on social and environmental causes and charities has roughly matched its total after-tax income. The Bronner family dedicates profits to ‘Human Projects’ from schools in the Chiapas region of Mexico to orphanages in Haiti and China; from helping organic farm projects to donating over 1,200 acres of land to the San Diego County Boys and Girls Club.
2. Make pay fair and balanced
Total compensation of executives is capped at five times that of the lowest-paid position.
3. Help your employees plan for the future
Employees annually receive 15% of salary paid into a retirement/profit-sharing plan, up to 25% of salary as a bonus and a no-deductible PPO health insurance plan for themselves and their families.
4. Help the people in your supply chain
Dr. Bronner’s sources it’s raw materials from Fair Trade projects around the world that ensure a living wage and community benefits for farmers, workers and their families in Palestine, Sri Lanka, Ghana, India and Ecuador. An estimated 10,000 people around the world benefit directly from participating in Dr. Bronner’s supply chain. To date, Dr. Bronner’s have contributed, through its purchases of raw materials over $1.5 million in fair trade premium. It has helped to build schools and fresh water wells, set up composting operations, purchase medical equipment and books for school children in developing communities around the world.
5. Fight for what you believe in
Dr. Bronner’s fights for and financially supports several causes they believe in, such as fighting for organic integrity in personal care, recommercialization of industrial hemp in the US and promotion of Fair Trade certification of product supply chains to ensure fair wages and prices are paid. Dr Bronner’s is currently running a campaign to label all genetically modified foods sold in the U.S.
Michael Bronner will be in the UK from 1st to 3rd April to speak at the Natural & Organic Products Europe Show (NOPE).
Dr Bronner’s products are available in the UK nationwide including selected Waitrose stores, Top shop, ASOS, Liberty and leading health shops including Planet Organic and Whole Foods. For nearest stockist visit www.kinetic4health.co.uk or telephone 0845 072 5825.