Human Nature produces a line of all natural cosmetic products in the Philippines. It combines eco-friendly business practices, fair trade and policies that benefit the poor, so that farmers and workers receive above-average wages and full benefits.
Focus: Agriculture, Employment
Geographic Area of Impact: Philippines
Model: Social Business
Annual Budget: US$ 2.7 million (2011)
Percentage Earned Revenue: 100%
Recognition: Social Entrepreneur of the Year, 2012
In the Philippines, 90% of the population lives on less than US$ 2 per day. It is still largely an agricultural country where the main crops are rice, sugar, coconut products and vegetables. Many farmers belong to the poorest economic class, working as tenants for large landowners. The few poor farmers that do own land are often forced to borrow money for farming expenses, trapping them in a vicious cycle of heavy debt. Farming is no longer seen as a lucrative source of livelihood, since the prices of agricultural products are often dictated by highly volatile global commodity prices. To address this issue, it is usually necessary to diversify by adding more high-value agricultural products, and/or to process raw materials into commercial goods.
Innovation and Activities
Human Nature is a for-profit business with three social goals: strengthening the Filipino economy, supporting the poor and caring for the environment. While the Philippines has a wealth of natural resources and abundant raw materials, it does not produce many world-class goods. Human Nature has created a truly Filipino brand by using locally sourced materials to produce its line of beauty products. To further support the development of Filipino companies, Human Nature serves as a mentor (providing funding and strategic advice) to other Filipino social enterprises that produce and offer local goods.
To support farmers, Human Nature works with community farming cooperatives and provides training, equipment and funds to produce high-value crops like lemongrass, citronella and virgin coconut oil. As the capacity of these cooperatives develops, they become sustainable community-based enterprises that are integrated directly into the Human Nature supply chain. The company also collaborates with community development organizations to provide additional support to the local cooperatives in the areas of education and health. Human Nature has partnered with seven community cooperatives and pays farmers a living wage for their work, superior to the market wage.
Human Nature products are all natural, organic and free from harmful chemicals, demonstrating the promotion of environmental awareness through its brand. It has a main flagship store and 23 franchise branches, run by individuals who are passionate about improving the country by reviving the agricultural sector. Human Nature currently has 40,000 registered dealers selling its products through an Avon-style model.
Anna Meloto-Wilk earned her Bachelor’s degree in Communications from Ateneo de Manila University. She was always passionate about social issues, but the desire to improve the environment blossomed after the birth of her first child. Together with her husband, Dylan, a successful British entrepreneur, and her sister, Camille, they founded Human Nature in 2008. With Human Nature, they were responding to the growing need for affordable, all natural, organic, Philippine products. Prior to starting Human Nature, Meloto-Wilk worked for Gawad Kalinga, an internationally recognized community development organization in the Philippines.
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