Celebrating 75 Years of Soap and Stories

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Our Cosmic Principles in Action Over 75 Years

It was never just about the soap. When Emanuel Bronner founded Dr. Bronner’s in 1948, his not-so-secret mission was to spread a message of transcending divides and uniting the human race.

Seventy-five years later, CEO David Bronner, Emanuel’s grandson, asks, “How has Dr. Bronner’s served the world? What do we have to offer to the challenges of our time? We are driven to honor our legacy and live our mission by supporting myriad movements for social and environmental justice while making the best products for caring for home, health, and body.”

As we reflect on the past seventy-five years and look to the future, we invite you to join us in our mission to fight for what’s right!

We have six Cosmic Principles that have guided us as soapmakers and peacemakers since our inception:  

1: Work Hard! Grow!

Number one in Dr. Bronner’s Moral ABC: Work hard! Prosper! Learn, grow, improve. Success is the engine that makes everything else possible. 

The tradition of soapmaking in the Bronner family goes all the way back to 1858 in Laupheim, Germany. In the 1920s, Emanuel Bronner received his Soapmaking Master certificate and emigrated to the U.S. after his strong ideals led him to clash with his father and uncles. In the 1950s, Emanuel moved to Pershing Square and began his public lectures on uniting the human race, giving out his signature recipe of Peppermint Soap on the side. After realizing most people were showing up for the soap and skipping out on his message, he started printing his lectures on the soap bottle label. With help from his sons Jim and Ralph, Dr. Bronner’s soap grew in popularity and became iconic in the 1960s and ‘70s. 

In the decades that followed, Dr. Bronner’s furthered its practice of “Constructive Capitalism” by sharing profits with employees, charitable giving, activism, and establishing ethical supply chains. In 2015, Dr. Bronner’s became a certified Benefit Corporation, which is a for-profit corporation that positively impacts society and the environment.

Read the full Dr. Bronner’s story 

2: Do Right by Customers

First ingredient: love! Lead with heart, take time, give best—serve customers as you would serve mother-daughter-son. 

Our products contain only organic and fair trade ingredients – no synthetic preservatives and fragrances or foaming agents. Our independent certifications ensure that we’re meeting the highest standards for social and ecological sustainability. As many body and home care products continue to use synthetic ingredients and non-renewable petroleum, organic integrity has remained central to our principle of “Do Right by Customers.”

Read the history of our fight for organic standards 

3: Treat Employees Like Family

Be kind, reward generously, support good and healthy living. Seek and encourage the best in one another. For whatever unites us is greater than whatever divides us! 

Being a family business, we consider everyone who works for us to be a family member. Our progressive business practices have garnered the attention of Forbes and several industry leaders, we currently provide:

  • 100% free health care for employees and their families
  • 5 to 1 cap on executive salaries
  • Yearly bonuses
  • Profit sharing
  • Childcare financial support

Check out: Love, justice, and other progressive business practices and View our open positions

4: Be Fair to Suppliers

Build relationships with organic farmers and producers to create equitable supply chains. Fair prices for farmers, living wages and excellent working conditions for workers, investment in communities, respect for land and people! 

We have fair trade partnerships around the globe, including in Ghana, Sri Lanka, Samoa, Kenya, Palestine, India, Ecuador, Indonesia, and Brazil. Building equitable supply chains, providing fair pay and good working conditions, and utilizing regenerative agricultural techniques is central to honoring Emanuel’s legacy and ensures what’s in the bottle reflects what’s on the label.

Learn more about building equitable supply chains and our projects and partnerships.

5: Treat Earth Like Home

Make humble and mindful use of the earth’s gifts. Do not waste, do not harm the land or people or animals. What comes from the earth must go back! 

Soil is essential to life and our wellbeing. Pioneering the use of regenerative organic agriculture, a practice that improves soil health instead of over-cultivating it, combats climate change and leads to a healthier planet.

See also our packaging innovations and how we’re reducing our footprint.

  6: Fund & Fight for What’s Right!

Be an engine for positive change—share profits, share talent, share muscle, share voice—give & give, fund & fight! 

Activism has been just as central to our cause as making soap. For decades we have been devoted to

How You Can Support Our Mission

We’re known as the “fighting soap company,” and as Cosmic Principle 6 states – Fund & Fight for What’s Right – we believe in using our resources to accomplish the change we wish to see, and we can only do this with your support!

Vote to End Failed, Archaic Drug Policies
Dr. Bronner’s led the fight to legalizing hemp cultivation, which culminated in the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill. However, numerous policies are still in place that adversely affect marginalized groups and people grappling with mental illness and disease. Like the recently passed Measure 122 in Colorado, which legalized psychedelic plants and fungi, you can make a significant difference by voting in favor of decriminalizing cannabis and other psychedelics in your local elections.

Vote to Raise the Minimum Wage 
Today’s minimum wage isn’t enough to cover the cost of living. Voting for a higher minimum wage for all would reduce inequality, decrease job loss, help the economy, boost small businesses, and end corporate welfare.

End Factory Farming
Factory farms generate large amounts of pollutants – an estimated 15% of global greenhouse-gas emissions are cause by animal agriculture. On top of this, many commercial farms contribute to needless animal suffering. We can all transition to better means of production through supporting local farms and shifting to a more plant-based diet.

We can’t wait to see what the next seventy-five years have in store. As Emanuel Bronner stated, “In all we do, let us be generous, fair & loving to Spaceship Earth and all its inhabitants. For we’re All-One or None! All-One!”

Author Profile

Dr. Bronner's

Dr. Bronner’s is a family business committed to honoring the vision of our founder Dr. E.H. Bronner by making socially and environmentally responsible products of the highest quality, and by dedicating our profits to helping make a better world. “All-One!”

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