- Creating a sustainability-first business model that prioritizes minimizing our environmental impact
When companies engage in unsustainably sound practices, there's a "silent burden" that society pays. This comes in the form of pollution - from the air we breathe to the water we drink to all of the cost implications that we've relegated to the next generation to pay. We do our best to embed these "silent burden" costs into our business model so that you can shop with a peace of mind.
- Ensuring that we also address the various aspects of sustainability, beyond environmental.
Sustainability is most often defined as meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs. It has 3 main pillars: economic, environmental, & social and they are all deeply intertwined and equally important to us.
How we "live" our values...
When we started b.a.r.e. soaps, our intention was to create a sustainable cash flow to support non-profit initiatives, primarily in improving hygienic access. We focused on the "social" pillar of sustainability and our only requirement around the "environmental" pillar was that we needed to make sure our ingredients were sourced responsibly. That was 2012.
Fast forward to 2020 and our view on sustainability has drastically changed. While we recognize the need for improved hygienic access around the world, we believe even more that topics around environmental sustainability need to be addressed. Turning a blind eye to environmental impact further exacerbates social inequalities. We recognize that we are in a position to help influence current beliefs and challenge the status quo.
What does this mean? It means that we have a specific focus on minimizing our footprint in each of the following areas:
Our soaps are made of all natural ingredients. Our base blend of plant based oils includes Coconut Oil, Sunflower Oil, Safflower Oil, and Sustainable Palm Oil. Let's focus on conversation on palm oil.
All of our soaps (and products) are cruelty free. When we first started b.a.r.e. soaps, we tested our formulation on ourselves first and then on friends and family. We never test on animals. All of our bars are vegan with the exception of Home Sweet Home (uses honey) and Black Tie Affair / Jubilee Jam (uses goats milk for those with sensitive skin).
🌿100% American grown soy
🌿Lead and zinc free cotton wicks coated in a vegetable wax
🌿Paraben-free and phthalate-free fragrance and essential oils
🌿No additives, dyes, phthalates, parabens, suflates, or petroleum
Our candles come in recyclable glass containers. At the end of the candle's lifespan, you can easily clean the glass by dipping the jar into boiling water, which will melt the wax. You can wipe the wax away and scrub it clean for re-use.
- Bird's Eye (Gilia tricolor)- Annual
- Clarkia (Clarkia unguiculata)- Annual
- Black Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)- Perennial
- Catchfly (Silene ameria)- Annual
- Snapdragon (Linaria maroccana)- Annual
- Sweet Alyssum (Lobularia martima)- Annual
Carbon Offsetting / Shipping Footprint:We are cognizant that e-commerce businesses contribute to carbon emissions, especially through the shipping of packages. Starting in September 2019, we are carbon offsetting every shipment. Carbon offsetting is a way for individuals and companies to invest in environmental projects around the world in order to balance out their own carbon footprints.
After careful consideration of the various projects we could fund to offset our e-commerce shipments + flights to visit our non-profit partners in Uganda & India, we settled on reforestation. In addition to helping sequester CO2, reforestation helps protect and encourage biodiversity.
One of the driving forces behind our sustainability mission came from the realization that the demise and/or threat of various civilizations in the past was due to deforestation. Wood continues to be one of the most important resources throughout the world, especially in developing countries where it is still a primary energy source to make charcoal. The loss of forests has a tremendous impact because we depend on forests for our survival. Forests supply the air we breathe, provide the wood we use and watershed protection, prevent soil erosion, and of course help fight against climate change.
We are currently supporting reforestation efforts in the Carpathian Mountains in Romania. This project supports:
- The planting of native tree species that supports biodiverse forests. Bio-diversity isn't just about having abundant wildlife. It's a critical component to developing rich soil which also helps sequester CO2 and helps prevent against soil erosion.
- The GPS tagging of each planting to replacing any trees that are lost in the first few years of planting.
- Employing locals in the planting initiative.
There's alot more about carbon offsets, our view on them, and how we selected the reforestation project and our partner in this effort. You can read more about that here.
Giving back: Integrating Economic, Social and Environmental Sustainability
Because b.a.r.e. soaps is a part-time initiative, all proceeds are either reinvested into our non-profit initiatives or back into the business. That means none of us at b.a.r.e. soaps need to take a salary. Currently, the profit from each purchase is invested in our socially conscious vision. "b.a.r.e." stands for bringing antiseptic resources to everyone, and your purchase helps fund:
Employing fair wages for women in India to take used hotel soap and re-purpose it into new soap to be distributed to slum children. These women are paid 3x the local wage and work less hours than the average worker in India, allowing them to take care of their children and household.
In the past, we helped provide funds for Immediate needs such as vitamins, vaccines, and soap for a Carepoint in Kaberamiado, Uganda. We have currently discontinued this as there are significant changes going on with our partners there.