Love our new show tune in the intro/outro? It’s talented Australian independent artist Melanie Horsnell’s song “Birds”. So proud to support this wonderful Aussie artist and have her grace the show with her wonderful words and song!
And onto this week’s show!
So David Bronner’s not your average soap company CEO and today on the show we talk everything from Hemp legalisation to regenerative Ag, from LSD, to Burning Man to soap making – it’s a big interview indeed.
David Bronner is Cosmic Engagement Officer (CEO) of Dr. Bronner’s, the top-selling brand of natural soaps in North America and producer of a range of organic body care and food products. He is a grandson of company founder, Emanuel Bronner, and a fifth-generation soapmaker. Under David and his brother Michael’s leadership, the brand has grown from $4 million in 1998 to over $111 million in annual revenue in 2017. David and Michael established Dr. Bronner’s as a sustainable leader in the natural products industry by becoming one of the first body care brands to formulate with hemp seed oil in 1999 and to certify its soaps, lotions, balms, and other personal care products under the USDA National Organic Program in 2003. Both actions resulted in high-profile litigation with government agencies, DEA and USDA respectively, that Dr. Bronner’s ultimately won, cementing Dr. Bronner’s activist orientation in the natural products marketplace. Over the years, David and Dr. Bronner’s have been key leaders in fights for GMO labeling, industrial hemp farming in the U.S., high-bar organic and fair trade standards, cannabis reform, and a fair minimum wage.
Today, David is helping to lead the effort to establish the Regenerative Organic Certified standard, dedicating time and resources to creating an integrated, comprehensive program that addresses soil health, animal welfare, and fair labor practices to advance sustainable and ecological alternatives to industrial agriculture. In addition to his support of advocacy for regenerative organic agriculture, David directs Dr. Bronner’s resources to support animal advocacy, wage equality, and drug policy reform. One of his passions is the responsible integration of cannabis and psychedelic medicine into American and global culture and he is a board member of the Multi-Disciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies. His activism embodies the company’s mission — which encompasses a commitment to making socially and environmentally responsible products of the highest quality, and to dedicating profits to help make a better world.
I hope you enjoy deep diving into the mind of one of the world’s most purpose-driven CEO’s.
The Questions I asked David:
- We’ve had your sister Lisa on the show back in 2016 who shared the wonderful story of your grandfather’s soap making and sermon giving. The sermon on the bottle is one of my favourite marketing examples of business needs to be about starting helpful conversations to truly connect with people… I’m keen to hear: What was your relationship with your grandfather as a boy and how do you believe it shaped who you’ve gone on to evolve into at this point in time?
- Do you think your desire to fight for certain causes was lit up by his example?
- You’re championing medical usage of psychedelics now to be legalized… let’s speak about your experience and others’ on that front both as a user and activist.
- Love to look at some of the things you’ve championed so far: Hemp / Equal Pay / Drug reform, how they’ve progressed / political obstacles encountered / work still left to do and then bridge into Regenerative Ag Certification. Will probably include a couple of philosophical questions around how we start to be more accepting members of society when people do differently to us – the outrage people express towards each other online seems to be a huge hampering of progress; obstruction in government for the sake of obstruction and ‘winning’ seems more important than doing good for the people – how do we remind ourselves as a species that we have more in common than we have differences etc. Would love to explore this…
- How did the conversation and collaboration come about to establish the Regenerative Ag certified standard?
- Feels like through this certification you’re embodying what we talked about before in realising that we have more in common than we have differences. You’re vegan and yet, you’re advocating for ‘well if people are going to eat meat, they need to know there’s a path to doing so that gives more back to the planet than it takes”.
- Let’s talk soil rehabilitation: What have you learned in the conversations you’ve had with the brightest minds on the subject?
- When it comes to climate change and regenerative thinking and action, what are your favourite things to recommend to people as their next steps in their daily lives?
- How do you see Dr Bronner’s and yourself personally in the next decade in terms of what you want to achieve in business and as a champion for change in so many things?
Other helpful links:
Our show supporter this month is…
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Low Tox. Happy us. Happy planet