november 2014 newsletter
On this warm, full-moon Friday, I think back to November 2002, when I first discovered a gathering of green business owners at the San Francisco Green Festival, a community unlike any I had encountered in my previous work in academia, Hollywood, the non-profit world….
What these individuals valued most wasn’t the brilliance of their ideas, the marketability of their fantasies, or the goodness of their missions and deeds. Nor was it the greatness of the products or services they offered or profits they made.
Around this time, I learned about theTriple Bottom Line, a concept in which I believed, but had not yet heard named. The idea was that values-based companies engaged in their business to achieve not one goal—profits—but to advance the interests of three:Planet, People and Profit. Profit (a dirty word to some) was essential to keep businesses sustainable and better able to achieve their visions of a better world.
In our community, this vision encompasses concerns about our Planet—not as some anonymous cosmic sphere that will outlive all life and probably be here for another trillion years—but the Earth we call home, our mother and mother of all life. Caring for the diverse ecosystems that support all life, green businesses understand what so many who’ve suffered through devastating weather catastrophes--hurricanes, tsunamis, droughts and fires understand: thatthe economy is a SUBSET of the environment.
Without healthy air, water, and an atmosphere that supports the interdependent ecosystems of life that also keep us alive, our lives will experience unprecedented disruptions, beyond even those we think of as 10 on the scale. We haven’t been caring for the Earth, so she’s turning up the volume.
Green businesses care about the People who make those businesses possible. When vital hemp made clothing in China, I spent all our profits funding a trip to visit the factory, hiring a reputable company to conduct a social and environmental compliance audit of the place that had been supplying our clothing. While the factory owners seemed nice, the results of the audit weren’t encouraging. I changed factories, but within a couple of years, decided to move production to Los Angeles, where I can work closely with the patternmakers, graders, cutters, sewers, and dyers who make our clothing. All of these vendors specialize in what they do. They work in family-owned businesses that survived the wholesale export of the garment industry overseas, decimating this sector of our local economy for more than a decade. I visit these businesses multiple times each week, monitoring production, moving it along, and witnessing how garment-making operations that respect working conditions can run.
Beyond the triple bottom line, what’s best about this growing green community of ours is that we passionately care about not just our piece of the solution, but others’ pieces too. I revel in our collaborations with superfood companies, green networking groups, aligned educational institutions and individuals who share our vision of healthier, more humane, interdependent world, a hempier world.
On this note, a couple of upcoming events, one TODAY, so come if you can.
Saturday, November 8th, we’ll join the wonderful people of the MUSE school at their annual Lavender Faire, a family-friendly celebration of the fall harvest. Eat local, seasonal and organic food, have fun at the booths on the big fields, find some eco-friendly gifts, and enjoy the hills of Malibu. Here’s the link:
Next weekend (November 14-16), we return to the San Francisco Green Festival. I could write so much about this great event, but if you’re in the area, you probably know all about it. Here’s the link:
I look forward to seeing your smiling faces at one of these events, in the shop, or even online. Visit us atwww.facebook.com/vitalhemp - we always announce new styles there. Thanks for letting us hemp you out. And thanks for all that you are.
Thanks for being vital,
Ron and the vital hemp crew
~satisfy your hemptations~