A global, award-winning leader in Organic Health & Beauty since 1981, Neal’s Yard Remedies began with the passionate belief that beauty should be natural. We caught up with them to find out more about their ethos and why they believe we should all be reaching for organic beauty products.
Can you tell us a bit about the Neal’s Yard Remedies story and how it was first established?
Neal’s Yard Remedies was founded in 1981 by natural health advocate, Romy Fraser. Tucked away in a colourful corner of Covent Garden, central London, is our iconic flagship store. Formerly a fruit and vegetable marketplace, Romy kitted out her shop with reclaimed materials – discarded wood from local theatres for shelves, old sweet jars to store dried herbs – her aim was simple: to sell health and beauty products that are kind to the planet and kind to people. In 2006, the Kindersley’s bought Neal’s Yard Remedies from Romy and we continued to lead the way in natural, organic and ethical health and beauty. Anabel and Barnabas Kindersley are passionate advocates of organic living and have reinforced our holistic approach to health and beauty.
How does the Neal’s Yard Remedies ethos make the brand stand out from others?
We’re the modern apothecary which simply means we fuse the apothecary’s ancient expertise with cutting-edge innovation to create award-winning, natural and organic health and beauty that deliver results our customers love. From small beginnings, we’re now a global leader with a growing presence across five continents – but remain grounded in our belief that outer beauty and inner health should be in perfect balance.
In 2008 you became the first high street retailer to be certified CarbonNeutral®. What does this mean and how difficult is it to maintain?
Ten years ago we became the first UK high street retailer to be certified CarbonNeutral® by Natural Capital Partners, having reduced our net carbon emissions to zero. We’re constantly looking for new initiatives to maintain our status as a CarbonNeutral® company. For example, through them, we purchase annual carbon credits in support of their Makira Forest Protection Project in Madagascar. This helps protect one of the world’s top five biodiversity hotspots by limiting deforestation and working with communities to support low-impact farming practices. Closer to home, having installed 700m2 of solar panels at our eco-factory in Dorset, we now generate more than 5% of our own electricity, topped up by a 100% UK sourced renewable tariff. We also choose 100% renewable electricity and gas for our stores. In 2017 we became the first national company to commit to the ‘Refill’ scheme, actively encouraging customers to come in and refill water flasks, to reduce the usage of single-use plastic bottles.
Why should people choose organic beauty?
With no harmful pesticides and all of their natural antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, we believe that organic products are kinder to the earth – and kinder to you. We certify our products with the Soil Association, internationally recognised for their incredibly high standards for organic food and beauty. This guarantees that a product contains the highest levels of certified organic ingredients. We also follow the Precautionary Principle – you won’t find anything in our products we believe could cause you or the planet harm, just lots of ethically sourced, natural and organic ingredients.
How important is it for you to make sure all ingredients are ethically sourced?
Using ethically sourced ingredients is incredibly important to us. As the world’s first health and beauty company to be awarded 100/100 for ethics (in an independent audit by the Ethical Company Organisation), we always trade sustainably and ethically. We believe that our mission to enhance and protect people’s health and well-being starts with the very first seed, long before our ingredients arrive at our eco-factory in Dorset. That’s why we build strong, lasting relationships with growers who use organic, sustainable and wild-harvesting practices.
If someone was discovering Neal’s Yard Remedies for the first time what product should they choose?
A great product to start with if you’re new to Neal’s Yard Remedies is Wild Rose Beauty Balm. Loved by our customers and beauty editors alike, this one-pot wonder balm enhances your skin’s radiance for a natural glow. Not only is it ideal for all skin types, it’s a multipurpose must-have and can be used as an exfoliating cleanser, intensive nourishing boost or a complexion highlighter, what’s not to love?!
What’s planned for Neal’s Yard Remedies in 2018?
We’re constantly developing new products to help our customers look and feel good naturally. Our eco-factory in Dorset, England is a constant hive of activity – it’s here where we manufacture 90% of our products. While we can’t give away too many secrets, we can say that this year is going to be exciting in terms of bringing innovative new skincare products to the market for our customers to discover.