Brands Addressing Global Poverty
Cosmetics is a booming industry, with an estimated value of $532 billion, it continues to grow. However, for a long time, many beauty brands have been associated with unconscionable practices as a means to drive profits and sales — such as the use of child labor and unethical sourcing of materials. However, brands addressing global poverty may have an impact not only on worldwide poverty but also on themselves.

Business Structure & Social Impact

In a joint study by The Donor Committee for Enterprise Development and Oxfam, researchers concluded that “business structure can influence the social impact of a company…,” meaning that how a business is operated, keeping the supply chain in mind, can have either positive or negative effects on the social environment that the business engages with.

Inclusive businesses aim to incorporate impoverished people into the supply chain — as suppliers, manufacturers, retailers and customers which encourages economic growth. For a beauty brand addressing global poverty, working with an inclusive business model in mind and working towards more ethical and sustainable practices in the industry — are crucial steps in uplifting and collaborating with emerging markets. Here are five beauty brands addressing global poverty, today.

5 Beauty Brands Addressing Global Poverty

  1. Human Nature: A beauty brand based in the Philippines with compassion at its core. Human Nature creates products with raw materials from community-based suppliers. Working with fair trade principles in mind, the brand ensures that it pays appropriate (sometimes above-market) prices for suppliers’ goods. Human Nature also pays its employees fair living wages to combat poverty in the region.
  2. The Body Shop: The Body Shop believes that business can be a force for good with the motto “Enrich Not Exploit.” The brand engages in ethical trade practices, where retailers and suppliers are accountable for the conditions of their workers. Part of The Body Shop’s global commitment is to help economically, vulnerable people find work. The brand also pledges to invest 250,000 hours of skill-building in the communities where it operates.
  3. L’Occitane: L’Occitane is an eco-friendly, beauty brand addressing global poverty through its philanthropic efforts. The brand maintains a key partnership with women in Burkina Faso who produce shea butter for certain products. L’Occitane provides literacy programs, business training and microcredit opportunities to support women’s leadership and economic empowerment. Since 2006, more than 26,000 women have benefited from the brand’s support.
  4. Karité: Founded by three sisters from Ghana — Karité specializes in ethically sourced shea butter, palm oil and coconut oil from Ghana. Manufacturing is located in New Jersey. This international partnership works with women-run, co-ops supporting economic activity in both Ghana and the U.S. The brand has developed various projects (e.g., the Shea for Soles Initiative) that benefit Ghanan communities. Karité observed the needs of the women who work on the co-ops, noticing that many only wore flip-flops. Subsequently, the brand launched a campaign to provide shoes to the workers.
  5. Conscious Coconut: Conscious Coconut is another international, beauty brand addressing poverty through its fair trade and sustainable sourcing practices. Working globally — growers and workers are paid fair wages, ensuring that employees in poor communities can meet their basic needs. Conscious Coconut advocates against the use of child labor and human rights abuse. Moreover, the brand cultivates close relationships with its suppliers to make certain that they have dignified working conditions. Packaging for the company occurs in Florida at the MacDonald Training Center — which gives work opportunities to adults with disabilities.

An Admirable Business Model

While not all brands follow the same principles that guide these five previously mentioned — each additional brand that joins the cause represents progress. As the world becomes more connected, the global economy plays an increasingly significant role in fighting global poverty. Brands like the five mentioned here are taking an admirable, active role in addressing their business objectives and global poverty, simultaneously.

Melanie McCrackin
Photo: Pixabay

Helping others is the smart thing to do – literally! Recent studies based on the surveying of public opinion in America seems to indicate that there is a direct link between an individual’s intelligence and their capacity to trust others.

The question posed to thousands of Americans asked, “Generally speaking, would you say that most people can be trusted or that you can’t be too careful in dealing with people?” The responses gave some very positive evidence to indicate that a trusting community is a stronger one.

Why it might be that intelligence and trust are so entwined remains a mystery. Possible theories from the study’s lead author, Noah Carol of Oxford University, speculate that it might have something to do with their character judgments and interpersonal perception skills. The root cause is not nearly as significant, though, as its manifested benefits to society.

On a personal level, a trusting nature is proven to bring more health and happiness to one’s life. Those smart individuals who venture to trust are ultimately more adventurous, as well, as they are more willing to embark into the unknown, such as opening a new business or signing up for extensive volunteer work.

This means that there are more men and women actively taking risks upon themselves, thereby contributing to the social and economic well being of their communities. Fostering a broad sense of trust then is an excellent investment for all society’s and institutions.

Carol’s study also argues that the foundation of trust operates more on the broader societal level, meaning trust of unknown strangers, and not so much trust of those we know best, such as family or friends (not that we don’t trust them, too). This is wonderful news, in terms of creating harmony between communities and bridging boundaries, whether racial, ethnic, religious, national or gendered, so as to increase humanitarian aid and charitable good will for all.

If trust is so smart, though, then why is the common culture frequently caught up in an attitude of skepticism, especially when it comes to helping others. Efforts in philanthropy are all too often met with cynicism and uncertainty, revolving around several over emphasized points. Isn’t solving global poverty too big of a problem to solve? Won’t all my donations just go into the pockets of corrupt leaders? Aren’t our own country’s issues more important? False, to all of those!

Corruption unfortunately becomes the mental image too many people conjure up when they think of aid, but this is honestly quite misinformed. Yes, it exists. It even exists in the United States. However, there are many strategic measures that can and do safeguard against such criminality. Most foreign aid funds and policies are actually preceded by regulations and expectations that prevent corrupt leaders from siphoning off amounts of cash for their own personal gain. Also, for every corrupt government official, there are several benevolent ones, who want just as much as anybody else to see an end to the world’s ills. All we have to do it have a little bit of faith in them.

As for poverty’s solvability, this is another area that gets severely mischaracterized. Poverty is a challenge, but one that humanity is surely up for, given a bit of confidence. $30 billion a year is the number estimated by the FAO that is needed to solve poverty worldwide, and though it is large, it is a fraction of what the United States spends on the military. Just like those individuals who turn their trust into entrepreneurial yields, we too should have a spirit for new financial projects in the name of humanitarian undertakings, because we might just get the profit that we want.

It’s not as though the benefits of our trust wouldn’t come right back at us, for solving poverty would have enormous benefits for the health and happiness of our country. For one, national security would cease to be an issue, due to the new international friendships forged in the trusting process. Instead, we could spend out defense budget on other things, like education, healthcare, urban renewal, and more.

Do you see now? A trusting approach to foreign aid and international affairs most definitely seem like the smartest idea, benefiting everyone involved! Turning away from the world’s poor would be, aside from other things, simply unintelligent. Trust in Foreign Aid!

– Stefanie Doucette

Photo: Watoday
PsyBlog, The Borgen Project

According to the United Nations, more than nine million Syrians are in need of “urgent aid” and the United Kingdom will have “abandoned its humanity” if it does not open its doors to Syrian refugees, former Lib Dem leader Sir Menzies Campbell said.

The BBC reports that the U.K. has declined to join a U.N.-backed program to accept victims of the vicious Syrian civil war. Only 10 European Union member states have been willing to take part in the U.N.-led resettlement program.

In September 2013, a spokeswoman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees said: “Resettlement of refugees, whether formal resettlement or expedited location… is a vital and potentially life-saving tool for helping particularly vulnerable refugees.” Amnesty International has said E.U. leaders have “miserably failed” to provide a safe haven to Syrians.

Despite the fact it is believed more could be done, the U.K. has provided 320,000 people with food in Syria and in neighboring countries; 244,000 people have received medical assistance. Most of these citizens look forward to returning home as soon as it is safe to do so and protection is provided in the region. Sir Menzies Campbell of the U.K. suggested the government was afraid of political backlash from rising immigration levels.

Recent reports from The Guardian explain that Syrian government officials could face war crimes charges from the large amount of evidence smuggled out of the country showing the systematic killing of approximately 11,000 detainees, according to eminent international lawyers. The UN and independent human rights groups have documented abuses by both Bashar al-Assad’s government and the rebel forces. The difference between this evidence and the past 4 months is the large scale killings taking place now.

Professor David Crane, who indicted President Charles Taylor of Liberia at the Sierra Leone court during those war crimes, said “Now we have direct evidence of what was happening to people who had disappeared. This is the first provable, direct evidence of what has happened to at least 11,000 human beings who have been tortured and executed and apparently disposed of.”

Everyone who has been killed was photographed in a horrific manner. The Guardian says the reason for photographing the people who had been executed was twofold. The first reason is because of the photograph families do not have to see the body in person and the authorities are left out of the situation. The second reason is to confirm the orders to execute an individual were carried out.

With appalling conditions such as these transpiring in Syria, it is no wonder refugees are hastily leaving everything they have behind.

Lindsey Lerner

Sources: BBC, The Guardian

“Poverty in Africa,” “more than 500 million people live on less than $2 per day,” and “ every three seconds a child dies.” These messages appear every day across the globe on television and social media but they attract little to no attention from the viewers.

One common excuse that might make this so, is that viewers may assume they cannot make a difference because of their social status or income levels. Even when people do not have a high social status, there are opportunities where they are still able to make a difference by  influencing Congress.

Money is a major factor in reducing global poverty but it is not everything.

Others can even save their unused clothes or contribute a tiny portion of their income. With the exchange rate between United States currency and developing currency, every dollar helps.

Another common reason may not consider global poverty to be their problem. This concept is known as “Not In My Backyard” thinking. Since it may seem that global poverty does not affect people in developed countries directly, they are more likely to ignore the problem. However, global poverty indirectly affects people in developed countries.

When people are living in poverty, they have less access to education and limited livelihood options lending them to be prone to and easily convinced to join threatening groups such as terrorism, which is an international issue-a concern for developed countries.

In addition, farmers in developing countries lack proper knowledge or access to advanced farming equipment. The food supply has a high risk of being unhealthy and contains many toxic chemicals. The lack of health care in poverty regions can increase the risk of dangerous diseases spreading through other parts of the world.

Another possible excuse is that global poverty will disappear on its own. This perception is extremely misdirected. Global poverty, just like any other problem, will not disappear if nobody takes action to eradicate it. If no action is taken, global poverty will only going to get bigger and eventually reach its hand to developed countries.

The last and biggest problem is people assume global poverty is not a current issue because it would take a long time to erase global poverty. Even though it is true that global poverty is not going to disappear overnight, to speed up the process, help is always needed. The more help global poverty gets, the faster the world will eradicate it.

– Phong Pham

Sources: Productive Flourishing, Dear Bono, Global Issues
Photo: Tandem Post