David Bronner, Fifth-Generation Soapmaker and Activist, in Australia to Talk Regenerative Farming, Climate Change, Ethical Entrepreneurship… and Psychedelics
January 28, 2020
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – David Bronner, CEO (short for “Cosmic Engagement Officer”) of Dr. Bronner’s, the top-selling brand of natural soaps in North America, will be in Australia this February to speak at a series of events on Regenerative Agriculture and Climate Change, Ethical Entrepreneurship and his support of Psilocybin Therapy.
Speaking at events as part of the National Sustainable Living Festival in Melbourne (19 February), Byron Bay (22 February) and Sydney (24 February), David’s focus is on establishing the Regenerative Organic Certified standard and the legalisation of psilocybin-assisted therapy for the treatment of a range of mental health issues.
David is the grandson of Dr. Bronner’s company founder, Emanuel Bronner, and is a fifth-generation soapmaker. Much like his eccentric grandfather, David is no ordinary CEO.
In 1999 under David’s guidance, Dr. Bronner’s was one of the first body care brands to include hemp seed oil in its formulas because of its superior skincare benefits. In 2003, the company certified its soaps, lotions, balms, and other personal care products under the USDA National Organic Program for food. Both actions resulted in high-profile litigation with government agencies, the DEA and USDA respectively, that Dr. Bronner’s ultimately won, cementing Dr. Bronner’s activist orientation in the natural products marketplace.
Under David and his brother Michael’s leadership, Dr. Bronner’s annual revenue has grown from $4 million in 1998 to more than $129 million in 2019. In fact, one bottle of Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Pure-Castile Liquid Soap is sold somewhere in the world every 2.2 seconds.
David and Dr. Bronner’s have been key leaders in fights for GMO labelling, industrial hemp farming in the U.S., high-bar organic and fair trade standards, a fair minimum wage, and drug policy reform. During a demonstration in 2012, he notably locked himself in a cage with industrial hemp plants in front of the White House in Washington, D.C., to protest outdated and unjust drug laws in the United States.
Today, David is helping to lead the effort to establish the Regenerative Organic Certified standard, dedicating time and resources to creating an integrated, comprehensive program that addresses soil health, animal welfare, and fair labour practices to advance sustainable and ecological alternatives to industrial agriculture.
“Industrial agriculture and the factory farming of animals are top contributors to climate change, but these are also two practices that we can comprehensively improve through specific ecological and ethical approaches to farming. And that model, regenerative organic agriculture will bring real, immediate results,” says Bronner. “It’s imperative we act now to mitigate climate change. We need to shift our food production system to make regenerative organic agriculture the new model, both locally and globally.”
Dr. Bronner’s partners with certified Fair Trade projects to source all of their major ingredients, including olive oil from Palestine and Israel, coconut oil from Sri Lanka, peppermint oil from India, and sustainable palm oil from Ghana.
They are committed to certifying their Organic Virgin Coconut Oil as well as the main ingredients in their soap products, including coconut, olive, sustainable palm kernel and mint oils (95% of the brand’s agricultural volume by weight) to the new Regenerative Organic Certified standard. Furthermore, Dr. Bronner’s is a founding partner of the Climate Collaborative, which leverages the power of the natural products industry to compel action on climate change.
In addition to his support of advocacy for regenerative organic agriculture, another of David’s passions is the responsible integration of cannabis and psychedelic medicine into global culture. He is also a board member of the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies.
Dr. Bronner’s recently donated $150,000 USD to the 2020 Psilocybin Service Initiative of Oregon. The intent of this initiative is to pass the Oregon Psilocybin Services Act and legalise psilocybin-assisted therapy for the treatment of a range of mental health issues.
“The Bronner family is no stranger to severe depression and anxiety,” says Bronner. “We share the frustration of most people that current treatments don’t work and that pharmaceutical drugs are a mere band-aid, often with terrible side effects. We yearn for better solutions, and we firmly believe that the integration of psilocybin therapy, to which the FDA recently granted a special “breakthrough designation,” is crucial to healing epidemic rates of depression, anxiety, and addiction.”
David’s activism embodies Dr. Bronner’s mission, which encompasses a commitment to making socially and environmentally responsible products of the highest quality, and to dedicating profits to help make a better world.
David was born in 1973 in Los Angeles, California, and earned an undergraduate degree in biology from Harvard University. He is a dedicated vegan and enjoys surfing and dancing late into the night. He currently lives in Encinitas, California.
David Bronner is available for interviews on a range of issues including:
- Regenerative Organic Agriculture: Dr. Bronner’s is taking a lead role in the development and piloting of Regenerative Organic Certification. The company has also pledged over $1 million in 2018 to support a variety of organisations and efforts working to promote regenerative organic agriculture to increase soil health and mitigate climate change.
- Drug Policy Reform: David works with organisations and campaigns across the U.S. to alleviate the worst harms of prohibition and create safe legal access to cannabis and psychedelics for patients and responsible adults. Dr. Bronner’s also continues to play a key role in working towards the re-commercialisation of industrial hemp farming in the US.
- Reducing the carbon footprint of manufacturing: David pioneered the use of 100% post-consumer recycled bottles for packaging the liquid soaps, as well as a hemp and recycled paper blend to package the brand’s bar soaps. Under David’s leadership, Dr. Bronner’s has transitioned to solar power at its manufacturing headquarters that now provides approximately 50% of electricity needs annually.
About Dr. Bronner’s
Dr. Bronner’s is a family business committed to honouring the vision of founder Emanuel Bronner by making socially and environmentally responsible 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 principles that inform the philosophy printed on the company’s iconic soap labels written by founder Emanuel Bronner. The company is the top-selling natural soap maker in North America and a major brand worldwide.
Visit drbronner.com.au and follow @drbronners_australianz on Instagram.