This week I’ve been seeing new ways that Weleda lives up to their motto – ‘In harmony with nature and the human being.’
As I leave the Weleda France team in Huningue, I can’t help but reflect on my journey over the last two months. One thing that I see time and time again in each country is new ways that Weleda shows their commitment to treating humans and nature in a responsible and caring way.
This week wasn’t all production and garden tours, I also visited two very special places at Weleda that I’d love to share with you.
Weleda Crèche – ‘The Heart of Kids’
The human family is the center of Weleda, it comes naturally to them to want to meet the needs of parents and offer them a childcare option that adapted to their needs. Weleda decided to create its own nursery, not just for plants but for children too, near its headquarters in Huningue, in the Haut-Rhin.
The crèche name means ‘heart of Kids’ and is designed in the shape of a heart.
The crèche opened in September 2010 with places for 25 children from 3 months to 3 years. It was designed in organic architecture style to provide a warm, well rounded and protective envelope for the kids – it was designed from a heart-shaped plan by architect Mathieu Winter.
The building was built according to the principles of bio-climatic architecture and the activities that take place inside are just as nature centric. 8 employees teach the children a range of activities in a free format way, the kids choose what they would like to participate in. I love this! I wanted to join in too.
Whilst I was there the kids were playing with organic modelling clay that they had made themselves (tumeric or curry flavors – no wonder the kids wanted to eat it) and painting flower gardens using recycled wine bottle corks. I loved that these were created as fun and informative ways to teach children from such a young age the importance of nature and sustainability in our day to day lives.
The building practices what it preaches and was built in respect for the environment.
- Pure wood lines the floors,
- natural organic paint covers the walls,
- solar energy provides the energy requirements
- large windows fill the center with natural light.
I love that a company is living up to their motto and supporting the families of their employees.
70% of the Weleda staff are women with many workers offered part time working conditions – it must be such a load of parents mind to have a center as supportive for the parents as for the children only two minutes away from the office.
Opportunity for all – AFAPEI
‘Since 1987, any French enterprise employing more than 20 employees is required to employ at least 6 % of disabled workers.’
This week I also went to visit the 300 residents and workers at AFAPEI – a shelter for disabled people that provides them with fair and protected working environments.
Since the day it opened in 1980, Weleda have been working with AFAPEI to create ways to support people with mental disabilities independence, ability to participate in all acts of everyday life to promote their full development and their integration into society.
As I walked around the building the workers shared their work with me – from packaging the Weleda Arnica body wash, to assembling kettles, to creating point of sale displays for a hosiery company they were proud of what they were achieving.
My mother and my brother both worked with people with mental disabilities so seeing the care and protection that was offered at AFAPEI made me think of them. Lots of special people are working here and are doing such a wonderful job. Thank you for sharing your work with me.
This week I really loved seeing that Weleda treats their employees as partners. No matter what level people work at, there is support and care for all of them. No wonder people hang around here so long… so many people I have met on my travels have been at Weleda for 20+ years! That says a lot in my book.
How does your workplace live up to their values?