Regenerative Organic Agriculture:

Our path to climate positivity

We at Dr. Bronner’s produce natural cosmetics from regeneratively grown and Fair Trade as well as organic certified raw materials. In this way, we make a positive contribution within our value chain for our earth & the climate as well as for smallholder farmers & their communities.

Intensive conventional agriculture causes almost one quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions, making it one of the main drivers of climate change. We know that it can be done differently, and that the agricultural system can be transformed from a problem into a solution. That’s why we have set out to grow our raw materials according to principles of regenerative organic agriculture, thereby improving the health of soils and plants.

Healthy soils enable higher yields for smallholder farmers without requiring the use of agrochemicals, in addition to permanently absorbing excess carbon (CO2) from the atmosphere.

 

OUR APPROACH:

Our journey to a humane and sustainable value chain began in 2005 with the shift to certified organic and Fair Trade raw materials. We want to know exactly by whom and under what conditions they are grown. That’s why we produce our most important agricultural raw materials in close cooperation with smallholder farmers around the world, either in our own production or with partner projects.

In 2010, we began to grow our most important raw materials additionally according to the principles of regenerative organic farming:

1. SOIL HEALTH

  • Use of compost & mulching helps build humus and eliminates the need for synthetic fertilizers & pesticides
  • Cover crops sequester CO2 in the soil, turn nitrogen into soil fertilizer, and reduce erosion & weeds
  • Mixed forests with field & tree plants increase biodiversity
    • Minimal tillage protects soil life (e. g. roots, fungi) and prevents evaporation of water & release of carbon

2. SOCIAL FAIRNESS

  • Fair prices & living wages strengthen economic stability of smallholder farmers and their communities
  • Safe working conditions and long-term business relationships facilitate collaboration based on trust


3. ANIMAL WELFARE

  • Holistic grazing: animals return nutrient-rich manure to soil & systematically rotate to allow pastures to recover
  • No factory farming to allow natural behaviors to occur

OUR GOALS

1. CLIMATE POSITIVE BY OUR OWN EFFORTS!

Dr. Bronner’s aims at being climate positive by 2025, including our entire value chain. This means that, overall, we will avoid and sequester more greenhouse gas emissions from the atmosphere than we cause. Unlike most companies, we achieve this climate target through measures within our own value chain.

By increasing the amount of our raw materials grown according to principles of regenerative organic agriculture, we are improving our climate footprint in two ways: On the one hand, we foster soil health, because healthy, humus-rich soil acts as a carbon sink and sequesters excess CO2 from the atmosphere. For this purpose, we increase the humus content, establish mixed forests with field and tree plants and strong rooting of the soil, and use no/low tillage. On the other hand, we avoid emitting large amounts of greenhouse gases by replacing synthetic nitrogen fertilizers with compost and mulch. Compost provides nutrients, improves the water-holding capacity of soils and reduces their need for irrigation.

2. BETTER SOIL HEALTH – BETTER RESISTANCE

A central goal of our work with smallholder farmers is the regeneration of their soil. Due to decades of industrial monoculture farming with synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, as well as frequent and deep plowing, their soils are often depleted and poor in humus. The consequences are erosion, pest infestation, as well as drying out and nutrient depletion of the soil.

Years of experience have taught us that only humus-rich soils are suitable for organic agriculture. The principles of regenerative organic agriculture make soil healthy, rich in humus, fertile without agrochemicals and improve its water-holding capacity. This makes the land of smallholder farmers resilient to the increasing warning signs of climate change, such as long droughts.

3. HIGHER YIELDS – HIGHER STANDARD OF LIVING FOR SMALLHOLDER FARMERS

We source our raw materials from thousands of smallholder farmers and want to help make their soil more fertile, productive and resilient. This increases yields and farmers’ incomes, and also improves living conditions in the surrounding communities. Our Special Operations team advises and supports them in every way, including training in regenerative organic farming practices and the further development of their farms.

OUR CERTIFICATION

Regenerative Organic Certification™ (ROC™) is currently the most rigorous standard for organic agriculture. ROC combines the promotion of soil health, social fairness and animal welfare in a new standard that builds on existing organic, fair trade and animal welfare certifications.

Dr. Bronner’s is a founding member of the Regenerative Organic Alliance and developed the ROC certification together with other like-minded institutes and companies (e.g. Rodale and Patagonia). ROC designates products whose raw materials are grown in regenerative organic agriculture. We are proud that our three key ingredients are among the first ROC certified raw materials: our coconut oil (Serendipol, Sri Lanka), palm oil (Serendipalm, Ghana) and mint oil (Pavitramenthe, India). We are working to obtain ROC certification for all other agricultural raw materials as well.

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