Dr. Bronner’s – Organic & Fair Trade Pioneer

Photo: David Bronner, President, Dr. Bronner’s

Dr. Bronner’s started sourcing certified organic ingredients for its products in 2000 out of a desire to support sustainable agriculture without synthetic chemical fertilizers and pesticides. While this was a great first step towards sustainability, thecompany realized that questionable pricing, wages, and working conditions for farmers and workers producing our raw ingredients were not being addressed. Rather than support a supply chain motivated only by profit, Dr. Bronner’s wanted to create a supply chain that offered fairness and empowerment for its farmers, workers, and their communities.

In 2006, Dr. Bronner’s committed to sourcing major raw materials from certified Fair Trade and organic projects around the world that ensure fair prices, living wages and community benefits for farmers, workers and their families. Now, when customers purchase Dr. Bronner’s products, they are supporting these more just and vibrant producer communities around the world.

Dr. Bronner’s has created or partnered with various Fair Trade organic projects all over the world: in Sri Lanka for coconut oil, in Ghana for palm oil, in Palestine and Israel for olive oil, in India for mint oil, in Kenya for avocado, tea tree and coconut oils, in Ecuador for sugar cane alcohol, and in Zambia for beeswax. In fact, an estimated 10,000 people around the world benefit directly from Dr. Bronner’s various Fair Trade projects. Further, the company is supporting the development of domestic Fair Trade programs in North America as well.

To date, the Fair Trade premiums paid to Dr. Bronner’s projects have helped local communities realize various important efforts: drilling fresh-water wells, setting up composting operations that improve farmers’ soils and incomes, renovating schools, purchasing medical equipment for local health clinics, and providing mosquito nets to help prevent the spread of malaria – to name just a few.

Sourcing Fair Trade is one of the important ways in which the Bronner family’s current generation is able to realize founder Emanuel Bronner’s vision of constructive capitalism, in which “you share the profits with the workers and the Earth from which you made it!”