In conversation with Anabel Kindersley: Planting Seeds for Change at Neal’s Yard Remedies

Since 1981, Neal’s Yard Remedies has been leading a movement towards responsible beauty and wellbeing. In a way that nurtures skin, body and mind while preserving our planet’s biodiversity. That’s why when Anabel Kindersley suggested joining Earthed as one of our Founding Partners, we knew it was a perfect fit.

The brand has a long history of campaigning for the protection of the natural world. This includes creating the first certified organic skincare line, helping to ban plastic microbeads, and most recently their Stand by Bees campaign. And as the world’s first CarbonNeutral® high street retailer, Neal’s Yard Remedies continue to pioneer ways of supporting people and our beautiful planet.

To celebrate the launch of our first collaborative course, Activating your Activism: Planting Seeds for Change with Tayshan Hayden-Smith, we chatted with Neal’s Yard Remedies co-founder, Anabel Kindersley.

Discussing nature-based solutions, activism, and the role of business within communities. Learn more about Neal’s Yard Remedies and why they’re the perfect partner of Earthed.

Neal’s Yard Remedies joined Grow to Know for a planting day, transforming an urban space into a pollinator-friendly garden. Find out more here.

Q&A with Anabel Kindersley

Q: Here at Earthed we are so honoured to have Neal’s Yard Remedies as a Founding Partner. Your long history of campaigning for the protection of the natural world really made Neal’s Yard Remedies a perfect partnership from our perspective. In your opinion, what is it about Earthed that resonates with Neal’s Yard Remedies and the work you do?

Anabel: We are delighted to be a founding partner of Earthed. Our partnership means so much more than just a collaboration. Instead symbolising a shared journey dedicated to fostering a healthier, more sustainable planet.

What deeply resonates with us in Earthed’s work is the emphasis on nature-centred solutions. Earthed not only serves as a platform for learning nature skills but also as a community builder. Uniting individuals driven by a shared passion for the environment. This communal spirit, paired with education and positive action for our planet is what so perfectly aligns with our core values.

At Neal’s Yard Remedies we firmly believe in using our platform to set positive examples, paving the way for others to learn about and embrace sustainability. From pushing the boundaries in organic formulation proving that you can indeed have both sustainable and efficacious skincare, to becoming the first UK high street retailer to become Carbon Neutral. Akin to Earthed’s mission of creating a platform that empowers experts in their field to use their voices to create a positive ripple effect.

Neal’s Yard Remedies’ eco-factory and organic gardens in Peacemarsh, Dorset.

Q: As a Founding Partner, Neal’s Yard Remedies have made possible our upcoming course, Activating your Activism: Planting seeds for change with Tayshan Hayden-Smith. Within the course Tayshan talks about how activism can look like different things to different people. From starting a community garden to being the person who brings cups of tea to community members. What does activism look like to you?

Anabel: “Planting seeds for change” is a phrase we worked with Earthed on for the title of this course. It encapsulates what activism looks like to me. Sometimes it can be as small as making a simple swap of a product that you use daily to organic that can be a form of activism.

Using our collective voice and where possible, platform, also serves as a valuable tool towards making change happen. Since 2011 we have been campaigning to Save the Bees, hand delivering a petition with 117,000 signatures to 10 Downing Street lobbying the government to ban 3 toxic neonicotinoid pesticides within the EU – and won.

However, for the past four years the government has granted yearly derogations for the lethal bee killing neonicotinoid ‘thiomethoxam’ for the sugar beet crop. So I gathered together a coalition of over 100 businesses and organisations. For the past two years we have been lobbying the government to implement a pesticide-reduction strategy. We won’t stop until we see true change happen.

Supported by Neal’s Yard Remedies, you can now learn from Grow to Know founder, Tayshan Hayden-Smith in his Earthed course.

Q: At the 2023 Earthed Summit, Neal’s Yard Remedies presented the panel discussion on Growing Community. We also see community playing a huge role within the learnings of Tayshan’s course. What do you see as the role of Neal’s Yard Remedies and other businesses when it comes to community?

Anabel: Just like Earthed, we see community, and in particular our community’s wellbeing, at the heart of all corners of our business. From our global network of suppliers to our employees and customers.

We’ve maintained 30-year-long relationships with many suppliers and growers, prioritising their welfare and helping local communities. Such as working with our organic supplier of Palmarosa in Uganda to help him set up a distillery, creating valuable employment for the local community, or our FairTrade Argan Oil supplier, a female cooperative in Morocco, which was the very first women’s Fair Trade Argan Oil cooperative in the world.

This commitment to wellbeing extends right through to our customers, where we create a holistic approach to community engagement. Our stores provide a trusted space for our community to come together and foster a deeper understanding of the power of natural and organic products for health, beauty and wellbeing needs. Whether it’s providing a personalised service to create your very own herbal blend to help you destress, to tailoring a skincare routine to tackle dry skin holistically.

For us, it’s about making a meaningful contribution to the wellbeing and happiness of the communities we’re privileged to be part of.

Neal’s Yard Remedies continue to pioneer ways of supporting people and our beautiful planet.

Q: Earthed is a learning platform, committed to helping anyone anywhere access the skills and knowledge to start regenerating ecosystems and communities. What would be a key skill or piece of knowledge that you have learnt through your work with Neal’s Yard Remedies that you’d like to share with our members?

Anabel: Learn from your mistakes as there will be many. Resilience is key.

Stand up for what you believe in. For me, putting nature first is a priority. That’s why we use organic ingredients which are better for your skin and kinder to the environment.

Collaborate, as no one individual or business can tackle the issues the planet faces alone. To affect real change, we have to work together.

As a Founding Partner, Neal’s Yard Remedies is supporting Earthed’s mission of increasing access to nature skills. Enabling a wide audience to engage with ecosystem restoration, and raising the profile of nature leaders and regenerative farmers from across the planet. Access our collaborative course led by Tayshan Hayden-Smith and start taking action for biodiversity and community.

Neal’s Yard Remedies is a Founding Partner of Earthed