“We’re systematically destroying the life in soil and bringing our crops to harvest with more and more chemical inputs and treating soil like dead dirt instead of the life-giving resource that it is.“
Eat local. Buy organic. Avoid GMO. Give back. Be of service. These are all great practices. Good for your health. Good for humanity. And good for the planet.
But it’s not enough.
The health and environmental problems we currently face are global epidemics of unprecedented scope and scale.
We simply cannot solve these issues with the mindset that created them.
What we need, now more than ever, is a revolution of consciousness.
There are few people more well suited for this conversation than David Bronner. By far the most unique ‘CEO’ I have ever met, this week’s guest is the Cosmic Engagement Officer of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, the top-selling brand of natural soaps in North America and producer of a range of organic body care and food products.
The Dr. Bronner story, which is amazing, begins in 1948 with Emanuel Bronner — a German immigrant, third-generation master soapmaker, master consciousness and generally far out dude — who used his ecological soaps to proselytize his “All One” philosophy, labeling product bottles with the key tenets of his teachings on self-realization and unity across religious and ethnic divides. Embraced by 1960’s counterculture for its ecological properties and spiritual sensibility, the brand soon found it’s way into most natural foods markets across the United States.
David and his brother Michael eventually took stewardship of the family business, shepherding their grandfather’s brand from counterculture cult status to mainstream embrace by growing revenues from $4 million in 1998 to over $111 million in 2017.
Along the way, David went to great lengths to respect, protect and ultimately deepen Emanuel’s vision, cultivating a thriving and truly conscious capitalistic enterprise making socially & environmentally responsible products while successfully pursuing its broader mission to create a better world for ourselves and future generations.
Environmental activist. Psychonaut. Visionary.These are but a few of the words that describe David, a man who very much shares his grandfather’s ‘cosmic hippie’ DNA but matches it with entrepreneurial flair, a degree from Harvard and the business savvy necessary to grow and sustain an ongoing concern at scale.
Under David’s stewardship, Dr. Bronner’s has championed a number of causes, many of which provide the foundation for today’s conversation — a free range exchange that explores David’s involvement in advancing animal rights, drug policy reform, GMO regulation, regenerative organic agricultural practices, fair trade projects and practices, medicinal applications for cannabis and psychedelics, as well as wage equality, including self-imposed caps on executive pay.
Backing up its mission statement, roughly a third of Dr. Bronner’s profits are dedicated to charitable giving and activist causes annually. Furthermore, the company is a founding partner in the Climate Collaborative, which leverages the power of the Natural Products Industry to compel action on climate change.
This is David’s story. And it’s sure to blow your mind.
Disclaimer #1: David expounds upon his personal experience with with psychedelics and cannabis in the context of spiritual growth. As someone who has been in recovery for substance abuse for the last twenty years, I am not endorsing his methods. His experience is his own. Take to heart only what resonates with you.
Disclaimer #2: This is not a branded podcast. I have no financial relationship with Dr. Bronner’s and was not paid to host David (to be clear, I have never accepted money to host a guest, and never will). I am simply a fan of the Dr. Bronner ethos and products, have followed David’s journey with admiration for some time and have always wanted to have this conversation.
And finally, check out Journey to Pavitramenthe, an amazing just released 8-minute documentary produced by David’s team that tells the story of the farming communities in Bareilly, India that supply the organic mint oil used in Dr. Bronner’s iconic peppermint soap. It beautifully embodies all the themes discussed today.
I love this conversation. I sincerely hope you do too.
Peace + Plants,
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Check out “Journey to Pavitramenthe – Dr. Bronner’s Fair Trade and Organic Mint Oil from India” on YouTube!
Background, Context & Reference:
- Dr. Bronner’s: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube
- Dr. Bronner’s Blog: All-One! | Articles by David Bronner
- Dr. Bronner’s: Why We’re Donating $5 Million to MAPS
- Climate Collaborative: climatecollaborative.com
- Make Your Own Zone: What’s Up With The Weird Label On Dr. Bronner’s Soaps?
- Huffington Post: Articles by David Browner
- The Wall Street Journal: Hemp Bets Grow After Crop Is Legalized
- The New Yorker: David Bronner, Cannabis Activist of the Year
- The Washington Post: Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps CEO arrested in hemp protest
- Forbes: Dr. Bronner’s Organic Discord
- Fast Company: Is Dr. Bronner’s All-Natural Soap A $50 Million Company Or An Activist Platform? Yes
- Business Insider: 14 Things You Can Do With Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps
- Adweek: How a German-Jewish Mystic Created an American Soap Company Determined to Clean Up the Planet
- Foodtank: Through Regenerative Agriculture, Dr. Bronner’s Is Setting a New Example
- Mental Floss: 15 Things You Didn’t Know About Dr. Bronner And His Magic Soap
- Dumbo Feather: David Bronner is a Cosmic Engagement Officer
- Into The Gloss: The Real Story Of Dr. Bronner and His Magic Soap
- Mother Jones: How Dr. Bronner’s Soap Turned Activism Into Good Clean Fun
- Mother Jones: How Dr. Bronner’s Got All Lathered Up About GMOs
- Pop Sugar: Get a Gleaming Bathroom Fast With This 1 Nontoxic “Magic” Soap
- NPR: ‘Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soapbox’
- Yerba Mate Tea: Guayakí
- Non-Profit: Regenerative Organic Certification
- Non-Profit: Fair Trade Certified
- Non-Profit: Fair For Life
Notable People Discussed
- Dr. Emanuel Bronner: was the maker of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps. He used product labels to promote his moral and religious ideas, including a belief in the goodness and unity of humanity
- Zach Bush M.D.: triple board-certified physician and podcast guest
- Bruce Friedrich: Executive director at The Good Food Institute, founding partner at New Crop Capital and podcast guest
- Uma Valeti, MD: Cardiologist, entrepreneur and CEO of Memphis Meats
- Michael Pollan: author, journalist, and professor of journalism at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism
- Allan Savory: ecologist, livestock farmer, environmentalist, and president and co-founder of the Savory Institute. He originated Holistic Management Agriculture
- Edmund Bordeaux Szekely: was a Hungarian philologist/linguist, philosopher, psychologist and natural living experimenter
Related Podcasts You Might Enjoy
- RRP #292: John Mackey On Conscious Capitalism, Building An Empire & The Power Of Plants To Heal And Thrive
- RRP #414: Zach Bush, MD On The Science & Spirituality Of Human And Planetary Transformation
- RRP #353: Zach Bush, MD On GMO’s, Glyphosate & Healing The Gut
- RRP #286: Bruce Friedrich is Innovating The Future of Food
- RRP #136: Ethan Brown: Reinventing How To Feed The World
- RRP #190: Gunnar Lovelace’s Mission To Make Healthy Food Affordable For Everyone
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