Nothing Up Our Sleeves – Transparency and Third-Party Certification


Most of the time, we’re busy making and selling soap. Even with growth and expansion, our job stays pretty much the same. Still, the nature of our business can find us in the middle of global environmental issues – palm oil, GMOs, the integrity of organic standards. For many, these are abstract, theoretical issues. For us they are also very real and everyday. They are part of making and selling soap.

In our blogs and social media, we weigh in regularly on sustainable palm oil, organic standards, greenwashing, and GMOs. But the issues we keep returning to – the ones that affect everyone along the supply and production chain – are transparency and third-party certification, being honest about what we make and sell, and committing to independent standards that confirm we’re being honest when we say we are. When there are rules to be followed and there’s an independent organization ensuring compliance, consumers have a basis for trust.

Because We Use Palm Oil

It’s hard to find an issue that’s more of an environmental train-wreck than the palm oil plantations of Indonesia, Southeast Asia, and most recently, Africa. Because we use palm oil, we’re committed to sustainability. And because we’re committed to sustainability, we can’t help but be aware of the conditions we’re trying to change, and how easy it for those conditions to lose visibility – deforestation, decimated animal populations, permanent environment destruction, displaced local cultures, global market corruption, and human trafficking.

All of these issues are, to some degree, part of our world. If we didn’t acknowledge them and participate in the global insistence on change, we wouldn’t be true to our own organic commitment. What’s missing from all aspects of the palm oil controversy is accountability, for the costs of production now and into the future. At the core of accountability is committing to an agreed-on set of standards and remaining honest about adhering to those standards.

Because We Use Chemistry Every Day


Science is everywhere, especially in corporate marketing and PR. Despite consumer demand for transparency, we’re assured by the interests of corporate agriculture and food that the science behind GMOs is sound and the FDA will soon be able to assure us about the safety of triclosan.

Behind these claims are two failures by the FDA. GMOs were initially approved for use without independent scientific verification of their safety, in direct violation of the FDA’s own regulations. The GMO industry’s own research was accepted for approval. In light of some very real doubts about the quality of GMO science, consumers overwhelmingly want labeling on product packaging. In response to consumer demand, the GMO industry has spent tens of millions of dollars to defeat labeling initiatives in several states. The second failure by the FDA is being 42 years late assessing the claims of antibacterial soaps and triclosan, a primary ingredient that is regulated as a pesticide but found in Clearasil, Solarcaine, Farberware cutting boards, nine different Playskool toys, and a variety of mattress pads and ironing board covers, all in the name of protecting us from bacteria, while failing to provide any evidence it does.

Because We Make Organic Soap

Choosing to be organically certified isn’t a small thing. The process of certification itself can be daunting and expensive, and once you’re certified, the process of maintaining certification begins, annual inspections and audits but also daily adherence to regulations with the systems in place to record the ingredients and processes we use, to prove adherence and compliance.

No one forced certification on us. We choose this way of doing business because it’s the right thing to do, make the best product we can, do it every day, and by committing to third-party certification, assuring customers that our science and our marketing are true.

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