Weleda pays it forward for coming 100 years

Weleda is celebrating its centenary but the company is paying it forward rather than spending too much time looking back.

Weleda NZ is part of a Swiss-based world-wide business that makes natural skincare and health remedies using ingredients that are organically and biodynamically grown. Some are over-the-counter products, while others are registered medicines.

Its skincare and remedies all align with anthroposophy, which is based on the harmonious connection between people and plants, taking a holistic view of the human being and promoting a healthy balance between body, mind and spirit.

This philosophy is reflected in the company’s name, Weleda, which originates from “Veleda” – a title once given to wise, healing women.

Weleda NZ’s Brand Manager Sylvie Morton says the company grows as many of its own ingredients as it can, in eight gardens that are in Switzerland, Germany, France, the UK, Netherlands, Brazil, Argentina and New Zealand.

The New Zealand headquarters and garden are on an idyllic rural property in the Hawke’s Bay, making it a pleasure to come to work.

“We even have our own cows, which keep the grass down and provide manure used for making compost and biodynamic preparations, and improving soil health.

“It brings a different energy to a workplace when you have animals.”

The company grows all manner of plants for its preparations: “Most people would say we grow weeds when they see the likes of nettles and calendula flourishing in our gardens!”

Although most of Weleda’s skincare products are made by its European parent company due to economies of scale, nearly all of the natural remedies sold in New Zealand are locally made from locally-grown ingredients. Weleda as a whole is as self-sufficient as possible. Where that is not possible, then it only buys from supplier partners who are ethical in what, how and where they produce, and in how they treat their people.

Weleda NZ has a small export market but is mainly locally-focused because Weleda has commercial distribution branches worldwide. However, Weleda Australia sells Weleda NZ’s baby teething powder – its second biggest selling product.

“We are very proud of the fact that the Kiwis have conquered Australia in this segment,” quips Sylvie.

She says this year marks the 100th anniversary of the company’s foundation in Switzerland. While it has been nice to look back, Weleda is more intent on the coming 100 years.

“Our 100th-year birthday present to ourselves involved working hard to get B-Corp certification for the whole group worldwide.

“This is not a one-off; it’s an ongoing commitment to ourselves, our planet, society, our customers and those we work with. We are striving to get better and better all the time – in the near future and over the coming century.”