WELEDA IS A BRAND TO TRUST HOW DOES YOUR BUSINESS MODEL REFLECT HIS VALUES?
We have 3 elements to our business. The first is that we look at how sustainable we are, in terms of all the ingredients that we use, all of our working practices. We also look at how we deal with people and making sure that the workplace is a good workplace, where you can fulfil your own potential. We also look at making sure that we pay fair wages, within our sourcing project all the way through to actually having lower prices for consumers to buy, so that the price is very low for the quality that you get. The third leg so there is the planet side and the people side is, of course, there is profit. We have to make a fair profit, but we ensure its fair, we are not there to take money, but we have to make money to be sustainable. So those three lenses that we look through when we look to how we run our business.
HOW DO YOU COMBINE SUSTAINABILITY WITH PROFITABILITY?
We are always questioning how to improve our methods. Even down to the vehicles that we drive, we should be driving electric vehicles, you know powered from carbon-neutral electricity, or whatever. But we have older vehicles, so what do we do with those older vehicles? Do we go and buy brand new ones? So, we kind of have to look at it and weigh it up is it right for the planet, is it right for the people and also is it right for our profit? In terms of sourcing, we will go work with partners, we will develop partnerships there we usually try and be cooperative with local farmers and we are usually with an educator there from a nearby university. We will work with a local distiller; there is no point in us shipping raw plants, ingredients, halfway around the world, just to distil it in France or Germany. So it is about being conscious of every single decision that you make. We’re just having a really big debate at the moment because actually plastic is really better for carbon offsets than glass so what do you do there?
You know, it’s really hard to know. If we had perfect systems, where 100% of plastics would be continually recycled then it wouldn’t be a problem. But we don’t have these perfect systems. Therefore, we are looking at glass and glass takes a huge amount of energy to recycle, versus plastic, massive, the carbon offset for carting glass around the world, products in glass bottles, is enormous, compared to plastic which is so much more lightweight. So, its really difficult and what makes me very cross, I wouldn’t say angry, but it makes me very cross, is when people seem to suggest there are easier solutions, because we all want a simple solution and I think that if its a simple solution then you’re not really looking at the real problem. At Weleda, we try to be as good as we can, but we know we’re not perfect.