According to the powers that be in our Communications Department, this blog is way overdue. The reason for my tardiness is, well—work! I know this sounds shocking to the digitally inclined, since social media is supposed to bring us closer, and in our case, bring Weleda closer to you. So what was this “work thing” that kept me from my blogging duties?
At Weleda, this is the time of year when we prepare our budgets for the next year. The financial crisis has largely defined 2009, and while the jury is still out on whether we have indeed made it through the worst, our industry has certainly not been spared by the economic downturn. Many natural foods stores have seen sales decline as consumers choose cheaper, conventional products. The growth rate in sales of natural cosmetics has also slowed this year.
Fortunately, Weleda has weathered the economic storm fairly well. Unlike most natural cosmetic brands, we continue to grow in North America. We see our market share increasing in almost all categories. I think this shows that when the going gets tough, people turn to products and brands they can trust. Weleda has worked hard over the past 80-plus years to earn that trust. Our knowledge of nature and the human body is unrivaled by any of our competitors. Many of them make wonderful products, but they cannot match the quality of ours.
The trust that many of you have in our company goes beyond our products. In recent years, issues like corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability have been embraced by many companies, whether for reasons of publicity or from true feelings of responsibility. Again, these issues have been at the core of Weleda since our inception. The sustainable use of resources and the responsibility towards our partners, people and our natural environment are as much a part of Weleda as the products you see on the shelf and, hopefully, in your bathroom or nursery.
Of course, we are not perfect. There are many areas we still need to work on. Some are small (we don’t use energy-saving lightbulbs) and some are big (we still create too much packaging waste). We have started an initiative that will take stock of all our potential areas of improvement in the fields of CSR and sustainability. We will develop plans to tackle these issues and set clear goals. We will devote an area on our website to communicate our progress and the areas where we lag behind. We will be transparent throughout the process and hope that you will keep us on our toes—just as the Communications Department keeps me on mine.
Photography Credit: Angelika Solomon