Five Minutes With Dr Bronner

We catch up with Michael Bronner from the ethical beauty brand.

Tell us a bit about Dr. Bronner’s and how it started.

My grandfather, Dr. Emanuel Bronner was a third-generation master soap maker. He spent his life renouncing hate and war on a personal mission to unite mankind. He was born in 1908 to the German-Jewish Heilbronner family, which had been practising the traditional local craft of soap making since 1858. Later, in 1929, my grandfather immigrated to the United States working as a consultant soap manufacturer. But following the death of his family in the Holocaust, he embarked on a mission to spread this message of world peace by giving public lectures on these subjects. He also began making peppermint liquid soap, in 1948, this led to the creation of the “Dr. Bronner Magic Soaps” brand. He gave away the soap during his talks.  When he realised people were taking it without listening to him speak, he started writing his philosophy on the bottle.

Why is it important to you to be sustainable, vegan and eco in how you produce your products?

Our environmental commitment is one of our cosmic principles. We aim to treat the Earth like home! Since everyone needs soap, we’ve made it our mission to make the best, most ecologically and socially responsible soap possible. When we first committed to becoming Fairtrade and organic certified, many of the ingredients in our soap could not be sourced at the scale needed via existing fair trade organic supply chains. So, we decided to invest in small scale farmers and producers. As a result, we helped them make the switch to fair trade and organic models. We take pride in making soap from organic oils and other plant-based ingredients, and in ensuring our products are made free of animal tested ingredients – thus not contributing to unnecessary suffering.

Do you think the beauty industry needs to do more as a whole to be responsible and ethical, in how we help the planet?

I definitely think that social and environmental awareness is growing in the global beauty market. However, there’s still a lot more to be done. We think the most effective thing companies can so is take responsibility for their supply chains and ensure that ingredients are sourced organically. We ensure they use ecological farming methods and workers are paid well.

Packaging is also a major issue. In the short term, I think that the best thing brands can do here is move towards using 100 per cent recycled bottles – this is what we do to minimise the impact of our packaging as much as possible while we research other solutions.

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