The September issue of Green Energy Times had an article about a solar array at W. S. Badger, a company in New Hampshire that specializes in personal care products (https://bit.ly/2FU0kzu). We thought it might be a good idea to go a bit further into the company and how it is run, with a particular view to sustainability.
W. S. Badger came about because Bill Whyte, a carpenter, had problems with the skin on his hands when he worked in the cold New Hampshire winter. He created a balm that worked so well he wanted to share it with everyone else. To do that, he created the company W. S. Badger in 1995. Since that time, the Badger product line has expanded to include well over a hundred personal-care products, along with a few related offerings ranging from outdoor candles to T-shirts.
W. S. Badger has always been a family-oriented business. It is also a benefit corporation, or B-Corp, meaning that while it is allowed to be profitable, it must operate for the public good, with care for the environment, and it has to do these things transparently. The company’s mission, stated at its website, www.badgerbalm.com, consists of two things.
- To create fabulously pure and effective products of the highest natural quality, based on simplicity and thoughtful preparation, with the intention to protect, soothe, and heal.
- To run a business that is fun, fair, and profitable; where money is fuel, not a goal; and where our vision for a healthier world finds expression through the way we work and through the way we treat each other and the people we serve.
The company also operates according to a stated set of principles. They speak to personal responsibility and working as a team, respect for both employees and those outside the company, charity, and healing. Working for a sustainable environment and organic agriculture are both stated goals. The principles also go to other issues, including honesty and integrity. One in particular stands out to me, because I cannot think of seeing it before as a business principle: “Fun is good.”
The quality of a personal-care product is heavily dependent on the quality of its ingredients. W. S. Badger has taken the approach that its products should be certified organic where applicable, natural, biodegradable, and gluten-free. In some cases, other criteria apply, such as a guarantee of the particle sizes of zinc oxide in sun screens.
There are also other important issues, and W. S. Badger has put attention onto these. Products are certified to be cruelty-free and to use fair trade certified ingredients.
In those regards, it is interesting to see that Badger is very open about where it buys source materials. The company does not buy in a market where anything answering a generic description of a product will do. The rose essence all comes from one farm in Bulgaria. The olive oil all comes from one source in Spain, where it is milled within three hours of the time the olives are picked.
As if that is not enough to set W. S. Badger apart, there is more, and it is locally important. Badger’s employee benefits are not just good. They are extraordinary. We all have heard the saying, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” Not only does that saying turn out to be untrue, when employees eat the free lunch, they are paid to do it. That is just one of a long list of benefits. Important others are more-than-generous maternity, baby, and child care assistance. Life insurance is included, also. But the grand-scale benefits are complemented by some that show careful consideration to smaller needs, such as free long-distance calls of up to ten minutes.
It should not be surprising to anyone that W. S. Badger has won awards for corporate practices. Year after year, the company has won the Certified B Corporation Best for the World: Overall and Best for the World: Environment awards. And in case you go to the Badger website to find the list, I should mention that they haven’t had time to add those awards in 2019 yet. But they did win them. The other awards and honors make an impressive list.
We would remind everyone that W. S. Badger’s products are all now made with electricity from the company’s own solar array. And you can read about it at https://bit.ly/2FU0kzu.
W. S. Badger’s website is badgerbalm.com.