‘Lead plants’ are the heart of Weleda’s plant-rich skin care and natural medicines.
Today I went to the Veraloe gardens in São Paulo Brazil, just one of Weleda’s local suppliers of the lead plant Bryophyllum. People call it ‘The Life Plant’ or ‘The Miracle leaf’ due to its wide range of medicinal uses and also the wonderous way it self-reproduces, even without soil. That’s miracle enough!
Weleda aims to unlock the inner benefits of Bryophyllum, and each unique lead plant so it can work in harmony with our bodies and our own restorative abilities.
It’s nature helping nature.
This relationship between nature and people is the key to understanding the plant’s beauty, balance and restorative benefits. To make these products, Weleda sources top quality medicinal plants from all over the world. These precious raw ingredients or ‘lead plants’ come from the Weleda gardens, longstanding partner farms and certified wild collection.
Sourcing ethically since 1921.
Since the beginning Weleda has respected the environment and our natural resources. It’s not just a bandwagon they have jumped on now when people are making eco-friendly lifestyle choices and wanting to know where their products come from. That’s why most of Weleda’s ingredients come from organic or biodynamic farms like VeraAloe or from a controlled wild collection whenever possible.
The highest quality ingredients make sure Weleda can keep making the highest quality products whilst making minimal impact on our planet.
‘Sustainable sourcing for Weleda is sourcing raw materials respecting the nature, the environment and the human being. Just in accordance with the principles of biodynamical agriculture. So, we can assure the sourcing in a durable way, for many, many generations. This has been true for Weleda since 1921.’ Rodolfo Schleier, Weleda gardener.
Ways Weleda sources with respect
- biodynamic cultivation in our own gardens
- worldwide cultivation projects and partnerships
- certified wild collection
- fully traceable ingredients
What is ‘The miracle leaf’ or ‘Life plant’.
Bryophyllum is an African plant that actually grows better in Brazil. The seeds are sewn from November to May by five local IBD certified suppliers in São Paulo with a vital and nature-friendly approach to agriculture.
Each leaf can spawn 20 new plantlets on the fingers of the leaf that drop and grow, even without soil. Plants that preserve their own vital forces and can self-reproduce like this gives a good indication that they can be used in natural therapies to help strengthen these same forces in the human being.
Weleda uses Bryophyllum in their natural medicines to treat anxiety, depression, exhaustion and even prevent miscarriage.
The five local Bryophyllum suppliers were chosen through the UEBT (Union for Ethical Biotrade) selection process. They need to be located close to the Weleda lab in São Paulo as the plants are processed in under 4 hours to make sure all the vitality of the ‘live’ plant is locked in.
The suppliers produce 1 ton of Bryophyllum leaves annually – enough to supply Brazil as well as the European requirements for Weleda’s natural medicines. Weleda grows the plant in an exclusive way, cultivating it in silver laced soil with very high dilution to add to the medicinal potentecy of the plant.
Weleda is a member of the Union of Ethical Bio Trade (UEBT)
– a non-profit organization that has been developed as a globally recognized standard for the sustainable procurement of use of new materials. It places a central focus on the conservation of biodiversity and compliance with Fair Trade criteria. Since 2015 Weleda has applied the UEBT standards to all of it’s suppliers and raw material partners.
Weleda uses many raw materials for their products and they are well aware this has a significant impact on the environments biodiversity. With this in mind, Weleda embraces their responsibility to keep natural eco-systems as intact as possible.
Weleda aims to put back more than they take out.
Weleda’s formula for sourcing their ingredients:
Social + Environmental + Economic responsibility and Sustainability
Investing in the farmers who invest in our health
Weleda supports the growers through the whole process from planting to harvest. Weleda Agronomist Luzia Natalina visits the São Paulo gardens each month to monitor the progress of the crop, working together with the growers to ensure the high quality of the plants.
Support when things aren’t growing so well
Weleda supports the farmers through the good times, and the not so good times. If a farm has environmental difficulties with an unsuccessful crop – eg: if droughts or floods strike etc. Weleda will still pay for the damaged crop- but not use it in their products. This makes sure the farmer is financially sustainable when things out of their control happen.
The promise of quality.
Quality is Weleda’s highest priority. It’s their promise that the high standards are met at every step of the production of their natural body care products. They never have and never will use synthetic fragrances, colourants or preservatives.
‘Weleda ensures quality control through a very careful analysis and documentation of at all phases of medicines production, the cultivation until the final product. Quality for us is a whole process.’ Rodolfo Schleier
The Weleda promise is to:
- Use the highest quality natural ingredients
- Never buy ingredients on the open market from unknown sources
(82% of Weleda plant based raw materials are sourced from controlled organic and biodynamic cultivation and certified wild collection)
- Growing without chemicals, in a traditional way
- Maximize the active ingredients in the plant
- Ensure the ingredients maintain their innate potency by harvesting them quickly and processing them onsite as much as possible.
- Comply and exceed quality requirements: pharmacultical, internal specifications, as well as from regulatory bodies.
- Never use chemicals –pesticides, parabens, heavy metals
- Only source form trusted, biodynamic or organic certified suppliers.
And this is more than just a paper: the supplier must be committed with sustainability.
Sustainable and ethical business pays off and Weleda was awarded with the Swiss Excellence Prize for the “Ethical Procurement of Natural Raw Materials”.
But just because Weleda have been committed to being eco-conscious since it was born it doesn’t mean they rest on their laurels. Weleda is committed to continuing to research and evolve new solutions in our efforts to make their footprint on the planet as gentle as possible.
‘You do the best you can until you know better’ right?
What are ways you make your footprint on the planet as light as possible?