I came to realize, gradually, but with increasing clarity, that living the gift I was given as the fifth generation of this soapmaking family was the best way to be of service to the world. This is a vision we all share at Dr. Bronner’s: our company as an engine to create positive change in the world. The causes we fund and fight for grow every year.
Our family company, Dr. Bronner’s, donates a lot of resources to social justice NGOs and campaigns, including over $1 million to various state-level cannabis legalization campaigns in 2016. Collectively, well north of $40 million was raised in the 2016 election cycle alone to end prohibition and stop the enormous waste of taxpayer and law enforcement
At Dr. Bronner’s we don’t say to our consumers: if you bought a bottle of our soap then we’re going to help a coconut farmer in Ecuador. We don’t say: if you buy a bottle of soap we will then donate to sustainability efforts in Sri Lanka. We don’t say: if you buy a bottle of soap we’re going to contribute to hemp farming in the US. By the time that bottle of soap has reached the shelf where you can buy it, all of that has already happened—because it’s in the soap. Now, your purchasing the soap means that we can continue to do it.
Dr. Bronner’s was founded in the U.S. by Emanuel Bronner who, after losing his parents in the Holocaust, promoted a message of love and unity, not hate and revenge. In what he would call the “Moral ABC,” Emanuel urged us to realize our unity across religious & ethnic divides or perish: “We are All-One or
One of the most significant highlights of 2016, for me, was the phone call I received the night before Labor Day to inform me that Familias Unidas por la Justicia and Sakuma Brothers Farm had signed a legally binding agreement outlining how the two parties would settle a four-year-long labor dispute on Sakuma Brothers’ berry
Uncle Ralph embodied the heart and soul of our company. While my grandfather inspired from the mountaintop, Uncle Ralph grounded himself on the earth, among the crowds, leading them in song, entertaining them with story, showering them with soap. He could instantly connect with people from all walks of life: everybody was a kindred spirit.
Dr. Emanuel (or Emil) Bronner was a third-generation master soapmaker born into a German-Jewish soapmaking family that had been making soap since 1858. By the turn of the century the family enterprise had expanded to three factories, the largest of which was in Heilbronn, where Dr. Bronner was born in 1909. He was trained in