When it comes to shopping mindfully, a good place to start is understanding how your go-to brands take care of people – after all, that’s where a product starts and ends.
In this article we explore:
- Asking the important questions
- How we identify our Socially Responsible Mindful Brands
- 10 questions to ask your favourite brands
- How companies can become more socially responsible
- 5 Socially Responsible Mindful Brands leading the way
Putting people first is more important than ever. When you consider your favourite products, do you know where they have come from, whose hands have helped to make them, and where their ingredients are sourced from? If not, do you trust the brand to have steps in place so that they know this information? Sadly, to this day there is unethical sourcing of ingredients and labour happening and it needs to stop. Using our consumer dollar to support responsible brands is one way we can do that and asking brands the important questions is a fantastic way to ensure they are being accountable to you.
Fortunately, there are an inspiring number of brands who are mindful about making things better for people. Increasing demands from conscious consumers means more brands are making positive changes every day. And we’re here for it. Just as much as you want to find out more from your favourite brands, we want to celebrate those brands making a positive difference so you can make informed choices every time you shop.
At HealthPost we love building aligned partnerships with ethical supplier partners. It’s one of the ways we grow our footprint as a responsible and ethical retailer. When a brand is engaged in having a high level of corporate social responsibility it means they are conscious of the impact they have on the environment or society and put initiatives in place to enhance society instead of impact it negatively. It usually means they know that the people who work for them are an integral part of being able to achieve their mission, so they take care of their team, and offer their team opportunities to be part of the meaningful interactions that the brand has engaged within the community, enhancing their work-life.
While technology is at our fingertips, it’s not always easy to find out the ins and outs of what a brand stands for. And these days, we are demanding more transparency than ever before from our favourite brands.
That's where our Mindful Values and holistic criteria are here to help.
Asking the important questions
For HealthPost to even consider stocking a new brand, we ask a lot of questions to see if they meet our value alignment standards.
Brands are sent a survey where they are asked to provide detailed information about how they embrace our four Mindful Brand values within their business – Transparency, Eco Packaging, Environmental Sustainability, Social Responsibility. These values ask:
- How much integrity, transparency, responsibility is there in their supply chain?
- In what ways are they considering the environmental impact of their packaging? We won’t stock some items, for example single use daily wellness shots.
- How do they show they care for the people involved in their business or the people in their community?
- In what ways are they using their brand to improve the health of the planet?
These answers are assessed by our Mindful Brand Committee. We review the answers given, and then do our own research across the brand’s publicly available information – including their website, any reports, and their social media platforms. We take a holistic approach to see whether they meet our standards.
These are the questions we ask during this review:
- Are the products manufactured to high standards?
- Do the ingredients meet our strict criteria?
- Can they provide proof of their values?
- Do they tell their community about their commitments?
- Are they following legislative guidelines for limits on nutrients and marketing claims for their product, to keep people safe?
- Is this product a better option to what is available that is similar?
- What certifications does the product or brand have?
- Is the product likely to work based on the ingredients?
- Are people looking for this product?
- Is there another brand that’s similar who is doing a better job?
- How engaged is the brand with being on a journey to doing better?
- How close is this brand to NZ? If it’s an international brand, is there a local brand we could support?
Once we’ve got a thorough understanding of the brand’s values, we score them based on information we’ve been provided or information we’ve found to see if they meet our standards. These standards cover our four Mindful Values, but also other things that are important to us, like how are they to deal with as a company? Can they freight the products to us minimising plastic and other waste?
How we determine our Socially Responsible Mindful Brands
When it comes to social responsibility, we want to know what a brand is doing to be a beautiful business that makes a positive impact on people. Brands can do many things in this area.
We look out for:
- B Corp certified
- Education programmes
- Research funding
- Investment into staff or people
- Paying a living wage
- Charity support
- Community commitments
- Or a declaration that their products are Fair Trade, and free of child and slave labour.
Looking after the wellbeing of people is at the heart of everything they do.
10 questions to ask brands about social responsibility
So what can you do to ensure the brands you choose source their ingredients and labour ethically? Using your consumer dollar to support them is one way – and asking them the important questions is another. Questions like...
- Where do they source their ingredients from and whose hands have helped to make them?
- Do they have steps in place to share this information with their customers?
- Does the company have a social responsibility policy? If they do, you should be able to find it easily on their website.
- Do they confirm that they don’t use child or slave labour in the manufacturing of their products?
- Do they have relationships directly with farmers/growers or go through a broker?
- Do they pay farmers/growers the equivalent of a living wage in that country?
- Do they have any charity commitments? What are they?
- Do they pay staff a living wage?
- What do they do to support staff wellbeing?
- How do they support people in their local community or country?
5 Socially Responsible Mindful Brands leading the way
Organic India was created to support the livelihood of thousands of farmers who were poverty-stricken. The founders provided education that enabled self-sufficiency and skills that developed into an organic and biodynamic farming movement. Organic India now works with thousands of small family farmers.
Solgar’s core values include giving back to the community and people in need, with a focus on improving food and nutrition insecurity for children and adults. Each year they work with an organisation to provide 4.6 billion meals to people through food banks, food pantries, and meal programs.
NOW Foods gives to charities directly and seeks out those that encourage self-sufficiency rather than reliance, teaching new skills in order to take care of themselves. There are at least 18 charities in America and around the world that they regularly engage with that support people and communities and many other charities that have environmental causes. NOW Foods also supports their team with volunteer days so that they too can be engaged with giving back.
NZ family-owned Clinicians make people a priority by taking care of their employees through access to personal counselling, health insurance, and training and development. Their staff are paid a living wage, including in Fiji where many of their products are manufactured. Their raw ingredients are free from child and slave labour and they support many charities through the Douglas Charitable Trust.
Ethique are leading the personal care industry with waterless products. Their inspiring aim to rid the world of plastic bottles has led to their products replacing 13 million plastic bottles so far. They support people by partnering with City Mission, have donated nearly 30,000 soaps to people in need through their Super Soap Project, and have direct partnerships with the suppliers providing their ingredients helping to ensure a fair price is paid.
How can companies become more socially responsible?
Just make a start! Choose one area to focus on improving at a time, it’s about progress, not perfection.
Complete an audit on your supply chain – ask your suppliers the important questions. Start planning for any change that’s needed.
Consider how you can build support for your team into your profits or look at small ways you can start supporting your favourite cause. Align the purpose of your product with a meaningful community cause.
Most importantly, be transparent about your process. People understand that things can be a journey, but they want to know that you are on one. Don’t strive for perfection, just keep progressing and doing better with every step you take to transform your brand to be good for people.
And remember, " People don't buy what you do; they buy why you do it." - Simon Sinek
Social responsibility is second nature here at HealthPost
So what are we doing at HealthPost to be mindful of people you might ask? For starters, as a family business for over 30 years (and Golden Bay’s largest employer), we’re a recognised ethical employer, and we're committed to giving back to our local community with over $1 million donated community and charitable causes to date.
For our customers, we promote only natural, ethical products you can trust. We won’t – and don’t - stock any products that negatively impact on human or environmental health – including products that are free from harmful chemicals and surprise sugars. What’s more, because everyone is unique, you can Shop Your Way with 40+ filters whether you’re looking for Certified Organic or Carbon Neutral products - it’s up to you.