When I went to New York last year, I stayed at my friend’s friend’s place in Brooklyn and in the shower, I discovered a bottle of soap wrapped in a label covered with tiny text. I was puzzled by the sprawling rants—I just wanted to see what the name of the product was and figure out whether it was shampoo, body wash or something else. I finally found the name “Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps” on the label and I was pleased to discover that it was an all-natural, organic, multi-purpose and ethically sourced soap. It smelled like peppermint and left my skin felling tingly.
Fast forward to this week when I listened to the latest episode of the WTF Podcast, featuring an interview with David Bronner, the grandson of founder Emmanuel Bronner. As he described the business’s history and corporate governance philosophy, I knew I’d found another company that deserved to be lauded and emulated for making a positive contribution to society in addition to make a profit (which Ralph Bronner calls “constructive capitalism”). Though run as a for-profit business, the company donates about 70% of its profits to charities and the salaries for upper management have been capped at a 5-to-1 ratio relative to the lowest ranking employee. They’ve also been known to phase out items that they couldn’t source in organic or ethical ways.
You can learn all about the incredible story of the man and the business by watching Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soapbox on Hulu.