The recent share on the Ecoholic FB page by the uber-vigilant Canadian green product watchdog Adria Vasil reminded me once again why we at Beautiful have made the commitment to be palm free in all of our products: (read article here)
Many people who have made the decision to move to natural products are faced with making some difficult decisions, not the least of which is where to draw the line about supporting sustainable ingredients and the companies who commit to using them. From a business standpoint, many of these commitments hurt the bottom line – deciding to use sustainable, ethical ingredients translates to higher ingredient costs. Those of us who have decided to do what is right regardless of the consequences know full well that a consumer will compare the price of our products with those who use cheaper ingredients, and that they may decide that their pocketbook can afford natural products, but cannot afford ethics as well.
So why do we do it? Some may say it’s because we want to sleep well at night, knowing that we didn’t knowingly contribute to widespread deforestation, slave labor, environmental damage… and leaving a toxic planet for our children in the name of natural products. I say that in my life, I HATE being an unwitting accomplice to any of the above – so I have committed at Beautiful to ensure that we are as transparent as a pane of glass about what goes into our products.
I have never been a full on environmentally aware person and I make no bones about the fact that I used to swill and spread chemical products with the best of them. I just had no idea they were bad for me, my children or my planet. I was a child of the culture that used disposable because it was easier and splashed chemicals everywhere because if a little was good… more must be better, right? Oh, was I wrong. I still remember the day that I sat, holding a bottle of Febreze and staring at my conglomeration of assorted toxic products, wondering what in the world to do with them? I felt so stupid that I had been using products for so long that had made my daughter sick and I didn’t want to put them in the landfill or down the sink now that I was headed to the health store to stock up on stuff that wouldn’t hurt my family. Even though I dropped an outrageous sum of money that day on safe items, it was still a gradual process of prying my favorite toxic junk out of my own hands…. and putting my trust in “safe” products.
My trust has been broken more than once during that journey, and at the end of some of the roads I went down I found that I would have to do for myself (the birth of Beautiful was one such road) but to tell the truth, the products that have held my trust have been so much more than worth it. I love the products that I use, and I feel so much more empowered to make new decisions because I have educated myself (boy, there were times when I wished I didn’t know what I now know about companies and their products) and I have great resources like Adria Vasil from Ecoholic who does much of the hard work for me. I have had to make tough decisions along the way, for instance having to ask myself where I will draw my own lines as I refuse to compromise effectiveness in the name of natural or homemade. In my business, I wrote several commitments down in the early stages to help direct and guide me in my decision making. Surprisingly, one of those was that I didn’t want to compromise beauty in order to be eco-friendly. This means I have to spend much more time accessing packaging, educating myself, and keeping my finger on new eco-friendly developments in the beauty industry.
Wherever you are on this journey, whether you are standing at the beginning or at a crossroads, do know that you are not alone. We all had to start somewhere, and we all made our fair share of mistakes – or as Patricia Briggs says: “We are, none of us, perfect…” The more you can remain open, ask questions, and make whatever decisions you can to take care of your planet and those who rely on it…. the more you can feel great about the path your life is taking.
We at Beautiful are proudly palm-free. I love that none of my soap ingredients are causing wide-spread devastation, and even though it has meant more work developing a standout soap recipe and has cost me more, I haven’t regretted the decision for one moment. Whenever I hear from satisfied customers, I do a little happy dance inside knowing that I am not encouraging someone to unwittingly hurt their planet or their loved ones. So next time you find yourself deciding between two products on the basis of price alone, if you can, ask yourself what you are supporting by choosing the cheaper of the two…. or whose ethics you are unwittingly endorsing.