Top-Selling Natural Brand of Soap Dr. Bronner’s, Partners with Ecosia to Fund Dynamic Agroforestry Expansion in Ghana
Partnership to Finance Purchase of 200 Acres of Land for Conversion to Regenerative Organic Agroforestry of Cocoa and Palm Trees
April 11, 2022
VISTA, CA – Dr. Bronner’s, family-owned maker of the top-selling natural brand of soap in North America, has partnered with Ecosia, the search engine that plants trees, to finance the expansion of dynamic agroforestry in Ghana. Coordinated with on-the-ground support from Dr. Bronner’s sister company in Ghana, Serendipalm, this project will convert 200 acres of arable land in Ghana to a mixed dynamic agroforestry model for product and full-scale demonstration of the concept to farmers and visitors. Managed and farmed by Serendipalm staff, this land will be used to cultivate cocoa, palm trees, and other crops to the highest bar fair trade and Regenerative Organic Certified standards. This will help equip and empower the rural community near Asuom, Ghana with the tools to diversify their crops, expand farmer incomes, and improve food security in the community while sequestering carbon in soil and trees, thus helping mitigate climate change impacts.
“We’re thrilled to have found a like-minded partner in Ecosia, a fellow B Corp with whom we share core values of environmental stewardship and the commitment to embracing real, tangible actions to combat climate change,” said Michael Bronner, President of Dr. Bronner’s. “Serendipalm is an exemplary regenerative organic agriculture project, and this expansion of acreage will achieve significant positive impacts for farmers, soil, and community.”
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report, West Africa will see an increase in prolonged droughts, higher average temperatures and periodic flooding, threatening food security and ecological resiliency while exacerbating rural poverty. In addition to necessary actions to reduce consumption of fossil fuels, and the pursuit of carbon capture technologies, regenerative agriculture remains a key solution for restoring and sequestering atmospheric carbon in soil, and nurturing a broader economic shift away from extraction-oriented production models.
In sharp contrast to chemical-intensive monocrop models that are pervasive to the palm and cocoa industries worldwide, dynamic agroforestry is a farming model that simulates a natural forest. Dynamic agroforestry entails the stratified cultivation of a variety of trees and ground crops with various needs for sunlight, soil nutrients and other inputs, which are carefully planted together to optimize the output of the entire system, rather than the yield of a single species. The biodiversity of dynamic agroforestry models reduces the pest infestation that comes with monoculture plantations, thereby eliminating the need for chemical pesticides; and the dense and diverse plantings produce considerably more biomass per acre than do monocultures, resulting in sequestration of significant amounts of carbon dioxide in wood, also termed “carbon farming.”
Founded with support from Dr. Bronner’s Special Operations team in 2007, Serendipalm is a fair trade and Regenerative Organic Certified project in Asuom, Ghana, composed of more than 800 farmers who cultivate and produce the palm oil used in Dr. Bronner’s bar soaps, as well as cocoa for the brand’s Magic All-One Chocolate. Cultivation of an additional 200 acres, funded by this Dr. Bronner’s and Ecosia partnership, will allow for expansion of farmed crops to include food for local markets such as plantain and cassava, thereby increasing food security and long-term financial resiliency for farmers and their community. These crops are also sought by brands in the global North that need to source Regenerative Organic Certified ingredients for their products. Such brands pay a premium for fair trade, ROC ingredients and furthermore, they promote the concept of dynamic agroforestry to their customers.
“Serendipalm demonstrates the best of what agroforestry systems can achieve: the combination of more than 20 different trees can result in a considerable increase in income opportunities for farmers, soil quality improves significantly, the risk of crop failure is reduced, and large amounts of carbon are stored in the soil,” said Katharina Spethmann, Head of Social and Economic Sustainability at Ecosia. “The IPCC continues to sound the alarm that now is the time to take action on the climate crisis. For the agriculture industry, Serendipalm is a prime example that an investment in agroforestry is an investment in the community’s long-term economic health and climate resiliency.”
Environmental stewardship, climate responsibility, and regenerative organic agriculture are guiding principles at the core of both Ecosia’s and Dr. Bronner’s business models. By teaming up to support the expansion of agroforestry to bolster local communities and farms, they hope to help to advance the movement to shift our economy towards more sustainable practices and continue to always put community and climate action at the fore.
Headquartered in Berlin, Germany, Ecosia is the world’s largest not-for-profit search engine. It has planted more than 145 million trees across over 30 countries worldwide. In 2014 Ecosia was accredited as a B Corporation and in 2017 it built the first of its four solar plants to ensure it is 100% renewable, reaching more than 200% renewable in July 2020. In 2018 Ecosia gave away its shares to the Purpose Foundation, to assure that it can never be sold and that no one, including the founder, can profit or receive dividends from the company. Ecosia was founded by Christian Kroll in 2009.
About Dr. Bronner’s
Founded in the U.S. in 1948, Dr. Bronner’s is the top-selling natural brand of soap in North America and a leading brand worldwide. The company is an independent, family-owned business based in California, committed to honoring the vision of founder Emanuel Bronner by making socially and environmentally responsible personal care and food products of the highest quality, and by dedicating profits to help make a better world. Dr. Bronner’s commitment to social justice, environmental sustainability, and progressive business practices is part of the company’s mission to put into practice the “All-One” philosophy printed on the company’s iconic soap labels. The company caps executive salaries at 5 times its lowest paid fully-vested position and donates all profits not needed for business development to causes and charities it believes in. Dr. Bronner’s generated nearly $170 million in revenue in 2021 and donated an estimated one third of profits to activist and charitable efforts. A bottle of Dr. Bronner’s soap was sold, on average, every 1.7 seconds last year, and a bar of Dr. Bronner’s soap was sold every 2.8 seconds. For further information, go to: https://info.drbronner.com