Dr. Bronner’s soap is not only made of organic, Fair Trade certified, vegan oils, but the product embodies the full range of sustainable policies and ethics supported by the brand. From exclusively sourcing materials from small family farms in developing nations to committing a portion of the soap’s proceeds for community development projects, Dr. Bronner’s is dedicated to ethical and transparent supply chain partnerships. The soap bottle is made of 100% post-consumer recycled plastic and the packaging is made from fully recycled paper. Buying Dr. Bronner’s soap means you are directly supporting fair trade, fair wages, developing farm communities, and other initiatives that work to forward more sustainable farming practices around the globe.
The soap itself is vegan, and made up of certified Fair Trade ingredients and organic oils. Apart from flavoring organic essential oils such as peppermint, the base soap ingredients are Water, Saponified Organic Coconut, Organic Palm* and Organic Olive Oils (w/Retained Glycerin), Organic Hemp Oil, Organic Jojoba Oil, Essential Oils, Citric Acid, Vitamin E.
Dr. Bronner’s soaps lack any preservatives, dyes, synthetics, detergents, or other harsh chemicals. The 18-in-1 liquid soap embodies sustainability in its multi-use versatility and longevity. Besides using the product for hair and body washing, the 18-in-1 soap can be used as an all-purpose cleaner, to wash fruit, to wash pets, to scrub toilets, to kill pests, and to even brush your teeth. The soap is able to accomplish many different things due to its minimalist ingredient list of organic oils. Additionally, Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap is famously concentrated so as to last for numerous uses when diluted. The company has long fought against other companies’ green-washing in using the USDA organic label. For the past 50 years, Dr. Bronner’s has fought against 13 companies for falsely claiming their products to be “organic” since there are few requirements for actually putting the word “organic” on the label. This is why Dr. Bronner is a big proponent for companies to go through the USDA organic certification process.
Dr. Bronner’s supply chain starts with sustainable harvests and ends with recycling products.Dr. Bronner’s exclusively uses 100% post-consumer recycled (PCR) polyethylene (PET) plastic bottles for all the liquid soaps. The company has been involved in using recycled plastic, specifically CarbonLite plastic from curbside pickups in California, for years before becoming common in the plastic packaging industry. Ensuring an ethical and sustainable product has been paramount to the Dr. Bronner’s founding principles.
Dr. Bronner’s has always been driven to raise the bar on sustainable farming & harvest, shown by its current undertaking alongside Patagonia and other organic allies in developing a Regenerative Organic Certified standard. Regenerative organic agriculture is the standard of practice at Dr. Bronner’s global farms; sustainable practices such as crop rotation, agroforestry, composting, and crop covering all help to capture tons of atmospheric carbon and increase crop yields. Dr Bronner’s has a Special Operations team which educates and guides local farmers on these regenerative organic farming techniques. Many palm oil farms rely on monoculture, pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, and deforestation to achieve large-scale production at the cost of toxic emissions and waste. Dr. Bronner’s is leading an agricultural movement to support small-scale family farms in organic farming that is equally beneficial to both communities and the environment.
Dr. Bronner’s is not only committed to the planet through its sourcing of organic materials, but also through the company’s dedication to waste reduction. After achieving the milestone of sending just one dumpster of waste to landfill each month, the company is on its way to being a “zero-waste” company which means throwing away less than 10% of what it uses. The company’s most recent “All-One!'” report (annual environmental/ethical impact report) releases the exact amount of raw materials used, how much waste is reused or put to landfill, the amount of revenue spent on Fair Trade projects or charities, energy usage, and activism involvement. Knowing exactly how a company spends its profits or operates its facilities is vital to building consumer rapport. Dr. Bronner’s is leading the way for beauty/health companies to be sustainable and transparent, while also supporting meaningful causes.
Dr. Bronner’s is a stand-out amongst beauty/wash companies, especially since sustainability has been engrained in the company’s ethos from its beginning. Dr. Emmanuel Bronner believed a company and its products should “share the profits with the workers and the earth from which you made it!”. This original motto has energized Dr. Bronner’s to emulate “Constructive Capitalism” throughout all aspects of the product line.
Dr. Bronner’s became a certified Benefit Corporation, a for-profit that contributes to positive social and environmental change according to legally-defined goals. The company goes through annual 3rd-party audits to publicly release their progress with social impacts, environmentalism, and labor ethics. Dr. Bronner’s goes beyond these goals and outlines its own extra public benefits:
- Expand public awareness of environmental and social issues.
- Make products and source ingredients that are fair trade certified and USDA certified organic whenever possible.
- Promote equitable compensation: pay executives no more than five times the total compensation paid to fully-vested, lowest paid employees.
- Bronner’s growth and our pursuit of public benefit are advanced by our environmental and social activism. To that end, our owners and officers cannot be sued for pursuing such activism.
The organic oils sourced for the Castile soap are all either certified organic or Fair Trade, and all Dr. Bronner’s soaps are classified as vegan. As part of several Fair Trade advocacy programs, Dr. Bronner’s is dedicated to ensuring fair working conditions, fair wages, and benefits for local communities. The various oils come from Ghana, Israel, Sri Lanka, Palestine, India, and Zambia. While palm oil is a controversial ingredient due to many large global companies funding deforestation projects for production, Dr. Bronner’s exclusively sources from small organic family palm fruit farms. The company also runs training and education programs on sustainable farming techniques - such as reduced tillage and crop rotation - which ensure rich, sustainable, and profitable soil conditions.
10% of the soap’s profit is guaranteed to go towards community betterment projects - community operated water supply systems, building public toilets, funding school supplies, etc. - within the local farming communities that produce Dr. Bronner’s organic oils. The workers of the oil mill are primarily local woman who enjoy the working conditions and compensation Dr. Bronner’s aims to help these local communities assume more autonomy within their communities by supporting infrastructure and social programs. Other large beauty and fragrance companies abuse both the environment and local developing communities with palm oil projects while Dr. Bronner’s transparently explains their values in sustainability and equity.