Janelle StephensThe founder of Camille Rose Naturals started her own company to solve the invasive skin diseases of her children. A former physician and mother of five, it all began in early 2010 when Stephens was horrified by the list of ingredients in skin and hair care products for children.
Fast forward 11 years, Camille Rose Naturals is now a household name. The beauty and wellness entrepreneur recently partnered with sustainability consultant and activist, Dr. Tanya Ravali, To develop a sustainability plan that sets attainable and accessible targets for the brand so that small but significant steps can be taken for a sustainable future to serve as an example for other small BIPOC-owned businesses. Tanya worked with Jenelle to create a plan that would have clear goals for the next decade, as well as immediate partnerships and steps for the brand. The plan includes:
Brand donation to Planted a tree, A non-profit organization that has a dedicated mission to help with global afforestation efforts, changes to FSC-certified paper on all packaging, dedication to recycling, and the announcement of other attainable and accessible goals.
Bet Talked with Jenelle and Dr. Tanya about their plans to provide awareness and spark conversations about diversity within the sustainability community.
CONDITION: How did your “One Step Matters” initiative go?
Janelle Stephens: The “One Step Matters” initiative was successful because I really wanted to commit to lasting change, choices and work within our Camille Rose production. It is clear that we as individuals, but even more as companies and brands, play an important role in the current global climate crisis. Our team began to consider and reflect on ways in which we could implement more sustainable practices, although this became a bit overwhelming as we began to navigate the volume of environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues Taxed, especially as a small black-owned business.
Although Camille Rose is one of the leading natural hair care brands, we are one of the few major brands where a black woman still owns 100%, an easy feat to navigate in a heavily funded space. Is not. We partnered with sustainability consultants and activists, Dr. Tanya Ravali, To develop a comprehensive sustainability initiative that took immediate steps for our brand as well as set realistic goals to become more sustainable within the next decade.
More than anything, we hope that “Small Step Matters” serves as an example for other small black-owned businesses that may be overwhelmed to take small but important steps toward a sustainable future .
Prerequisite: What challenges do you face as a small business owner when it comes to being more sustainable?
JS: I would say that one of the challenges facing small business owners is the lack of support and limited options of vendors when it comes to being more sustainable. As a small business owner, dealing with the amount of ESG issues that companies are increasingly asked to deal with can be overshadowed by overhaul and implementation without resources or funding. However, it is no secret that our future depends to a large extent on sustainable practices being implemented in India. All business. It is very important for us to take steps that we can set for ourselves and our brands so that they can move forward. Our future depends on it.
CONDITION: What steps can small brands and business owners who are BIPOCs take to become more sustainable?
Dr. Tanya Rawal: Embrace what you already know. As a result of structural racism, BIPOC people are more likely to be exposed to practices of doing less, which is actually the goal of sustainability campaigns. The small conservation practices that we have seen in our homes and our communities are exactly what the earth needs right now, which is why it is so important for us to own brands and businesses that are BIPOC in your business Circular economy embeds the approach. Sample. Proactively rebuild resources on which your brand / business depends. Camille Rose is setting a great example – business relies on paper packaging, so not only is it quickly converting using permanently sourced FSC certified paper, but they also support agroforestation efforts Also working with One Tree Planted.
CONDITION: Why is it important for global corporate brands to engage in sustainable action?
TR: With the environmental crisis staring at us, big brands have no choice but to engage in sustainable action. We need to accept our responsibility in making sustainability affordable and accessible to these big brands. No one should be in a situation where they can only buy toxic products. Big brands also have the capital strength to ensure that raw materials are obtained ethically and sustainably. This is important, because a lot of big brands are making false promises right now. And in a world full of cameras, consumers have more opportunities to realize these promises that almost always break. Apart from the obvious ethical issue here, these broken promises also undermine stability overall. This can be wildly unfair to small brands and businesses that are either designed around sustainable practices or use their limited resources to prioritize sustainability.
CONDITION: How can we become more sustainable consumers in our daily lives?
JS: There are several ways by which consumers can become more environmentally conscious. As a devoted vegetarian, I encourage consumers to cut their meat consumption. Not eating red meat – even if it is only two or three days a week – can have a significant impact on reducing your carbon footprint. Also, wasting food is a big deal! Waste of food increases the amount of CO2 produced in landfills. But, buy more consciously and also recycling. Recycle, recycle, recycle. Part of our immediate actions was to have a recycle link within our website to encourage our consumers to recycle.
TR: I’m going to say something you’ve probably heard before: buy less. The second thing we all need to do is research. Know your power as a consumer and know what you are buying. I understand that doing research can be overwhelming. So a great way to create a consumer-research practice is to make a list of your environmental priorities. If you are an ocean-lover, look for companies that are actively improving our oceans. Then make a list of companies you want to support as well as a list of companies that you feel you should avoid.
CONDITION: How can we continue this conversation about living an environmentally friendly life?
JS: Working hard everyday to live an environmentally friendly life and openly interacting with the people around you to encourage change, even if it is only one step at a time.
TR: Part of being a more permanent consumer is being a more vocal consumer. When you research and find companies that support your sustainability goals, share that information with your community! Just as we need companies to be more transparent about their supply chain, we also need to be more transparent about our consumption practices.
This article has been edited and condensed for clarity.
(Photo courtesy of Janelle Stephens / Camille Rose)