Beauty from the inside – Farming with Respect

We can’t claim ethical products if the people in the supply chain are treated badly. That’s why Weleda subscribes to the highest standards of farming– treating workers, as well as the Earth, with kindness and respect.

It’s often claimed that beauty starts from within – and as far as Weleda is concerned, that goes for the products themselves, too. It’s no good designing appealing packaging and claiming ethical credentials if we find our ingredients from sources using underpaid, exploited or unhappy workers.

Farming has a serious ethical meaning to us – we’ve looked hard to find an accreditation system that covers all the issues and can be trusted to guide us towards the right suppliers. A fair trade certifier should ensure farm workers have safe conditions and are paid fair wages. They should make certain that farmers have the tools and training they need to work safely, and they should give back to the local community with quality health, education and living schemes. We also look for sustainable, organic or biodynamic® growing practices, non-GMO ingredients and toxin-free production methods.

While some countries have national laws to protect workers, in others labour laws don’t exist or aren’t strictly regulated. It’s an unfortunate truth that some of the most desirable and exotic natural ingredients come from countries like these, and it would be all too easy to accept verbal assurances and good prices, without checking what’s behind the scenes.

Weleda chose to decided to partner with the Union for Ethical BioTrade (UEBT), a non-profit Fair Trade certifier that includes the perfect blend of both social and biodiversity criteria. As well as making sure all our suppliers are certified by this scheme, we add our own good practice in guaranteeing purchase quantities each year, to help farmers plan, pre-financing harvests and, of course, paying a fair price for crops. This way our farmers and the communities around them thrive, while the virtuous circle attracts more growers to the idea of producing crops to our ethical standards.

We now support 25 active projects following our principles to supply our needs. They include an African project which produces organic beeswax, using log hives in forest areas, and the rosa damascena project in Turkey, where Weleda sources rose absolute, the purest rose essential oil.

Increasingly, companies are finding that ethically traded makes good business sense. People are becoming more concerned about natural balance and ethical standards, and their consumer power is driving companies to think differently about human rights, biodiversity and fair trade. Yet, as with so many of the issues that we have put our minds to over 90 years, it’s Weleda that is leading the way towards future standards for the beauty industry.