We need biodiversity for a good life on earth
Why is biodiversity so important? It is the rich variety of life on earth at all levels: from the diversity of ecosystems such as forests, meadows and lakes, to the diversity of plants and animal species. The system of different life forms affects all of life on our planet and is highly sensitive. Its balance ensures our wellbeing. That’s why we are working hard to preserve, protect and increase biodiversity.
Biodynamic cultivation: a healthy way of farming
Everything that grows and thrives in our gardens is cultivated according to the principles of biodynamic farming. Of course we don’t use chemical fertilisers or pesticides. We see our gardens as ecosystems, with plants, soil and animals thriving both above and below ground. We want these organisms to be healthy and in balance: it’s the only way to ensure that nature and people are healthy, too. Our founders helped bring the idea of biodynamic agriculture to life. Now we are helping our raw material partners to adopt this sustainable way of farming.
Life always strives for diversity.Ueli Hurter, Biodynamic farmer and member of the Weleda Board of Directors
The origins of biodynamic agriculture
In 1924 on the Koberwitz estate near Breslau in present-day Poland, a group of farmers asked advice of the scientist and philosopher Rudolf Steiner, one of the founders of Weleda. The farmers were worried: the quality of their produce, the fertility of the soil and the health of their plants and animals had noticeably declined. At the farmers’ request, Steiner gave a series of lectures on the “Prosperity of Agriculture”. This marked the birth of organic farming.
Our commitment to healthy soils
At Weleda, our sustainability commitment goes beyond sourcing high quality, organic raw materials. We also care about how they are grown. The soil plays an important role: it is a prerequisite for plants’ healthy development. Our natural farming methods keep the soil healthy and full of nutrient-rich humus, providing a home for plenty of beneficial organisms, like earthworms. They make the soil fertile so that healthy plants can thrive. We extract nourishing substances from these plants for our natural skin care products and medicines.
Our gardens are ecosystems where biodiversity thrives
Our eight Weleda medicinal plant gardens are spread across different contents and are centres of biodiversity. This is where we grow healthy plants for our medicines and natural cosmetics. By applying the principles of biodynamic farming we have created resilient ecosystems that cope well with heat, rain and drought, where biodiversity can thrive.
With our seed strategy, we want to help ensure that organic seed will continue to be available to farmers in the future.Anette Engel is Head of Raw Materials Purchasing at Weleda
We are committed to seed diversity
Seeds must be open-pollinated. This is because plants with the same characteristics, such as resistance, can only be grown again from open-pollinated seeds. With our seed strategy, we are working to preserve biodiversity and safeguard the existence of natural raw materials. As part of this effort, we are supporting other initiatives as well, like Save our Seeds. We are a founding member of the Sunflower Initiative for Bio-Seeds (IBS, Initiative Bio-Saatgut Sonnenblumen), which aims to breed open-pollinated organic seeds from hybrid seeds. We are also a member and co-founder of Hortus officinarum, an association that promotes biodynamic cultivation and propagation of medicinal plants.
We grow our plants with care, for your wellbeing
Compost, fermented nettle tea, and other preparations play an important role in biodynamic farming: they ensure that the soil is fertile. Our goal in caring for the soil isn’t to exhaust the soil through overuse but rather to aerate the soil and enrich it with natural nutrients. Here are three ways in which we naturally strengthen our plants and improve their resistance to pests:
Horn silica requires elaborate preparation. Finely ground quartz, which is a light-storing mineral, is filled into a cow horn and then buried in the earth, exposing it to the effects of the sun and heat. Our gardeners then take a small amount of the Horn Silica preparation and stir it rhythmically in water. This dynamised preparation is then sprayed over our plants as a fine mist. Horn silica strengthens the plants and stimulates their healthy development – just like when humans eat a healthy diet to boost their immune system.
Compost is where everything both ends and begins again. Everything that is left over from tending and harvesting our garden beds and fields is put to good use. Composting transforms garden waste into nutrient-rich humus.
Fermented nettle tea
To strengthen the plants, we use a stinging nettle preparation in our gardens. It is both a natural pest repellent and a plant-based, liquid fertiliser. The nettle tea is prepared by placing fresh nettle plants in water, where they are allowed to ferment in the warmth of the sun for about two weeks. The resulting preparation is diluted with water and then sprayed over the plants.
What sustainability means to us
Sustainability is part of our identity. Our pharmaceuticals and natural skin care are not only good for you. We are striving to make our business even more future-proof and sustainable and care for the climate.
We strive to continuously improve our packaging
Why do we use plastic packaging? Because so far, there’s no perfect solution for all our products. But we are working hard to make our packaging even better, to reduce its impact on the environment.
Our raw materials are sourced ethically and sustainably
We are committed to ensuring that our raw materials are ethically sourced. That’s why we have been certified since 2018 by the Union for Ethical BioTrade.
How Weleda is changing the world
Weleda is now a certified B Corp. In this interview with Dr. Stefan Siemer, Head of Sustainability at Weleda, we speak about the certification process, the high standards of the issuing organisation, and the reasons that led us to take this step.