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  • Writer's pictureJennifer Scales

Friendship over Certifications

We often talk about how hard it is for smaller companies and independent producers to get certifications. The problem is usually not meeting the standards but investing the time and money that is needed for these processes.


That is the reason why askBelynda suggestions show you more than the certifications a brand or product has. A brand can be vegan and cruelty-free without carrying the PETA label or non-toxic without being EPA Safer Choice - the plugin will tell you about these brand values.


What we haven’t included yet is a category called “good karma company”, but maybe we should.


 

Sustainable Shopping Made Simple

 

Good Karma Company


GuruNanda is a company dedicated to making ayurvedic wellness and high-quality aromatherapy widely available. The story of the founder Puneet Nanda is a classic modern fairytale: A highly successful entrepreneur who puts business before everything else in life, a downward spiral of stress and unhealthy behavior, and the inevitable crisis that leads to the realization that something needs to change fundamentally.


As Puneet Nanda was going back to his roots and healing himself, he decided to bring that access to wellness into the world. As he became “the Guru of his own health”, he founded GuruNanda to enable you to do the same. The pillars on which he built this new company are Authenticity, Quality, and Good Karma. These are all great marketing buzzwords, but my in-depth research of the company showed how they are filled with life and substance.



Global Farm Alliance


Let’s look at the sourcing of the ingredients to see what I mean. With the wide variety of essential oils available at GuruNanda, there are a lot of different plants that need to be cultivated, harvested, and processed. So why not just find the best price for each one on the global market? Or maybe cooperate with one big farm to produce all those plants?


Well, this is where the pillar of quality comes in. Just like an expert can taste a wine’s terroir, the quality of essential oil is specific to its location. It depends on the quality and composition of the soil, the climate, the amount and timing of rainfall, and farming practices.


Therefore, GuruNanda sources each ingredient from each plant’s native environment, and from farms with a tradition of cultivating these treasures.





Good Karma Pricing


Fair pricing has two sides to it. The first thing that comes to mind is paying fair wages to the people involved in the production. In our globalized economy, paying a living wage, especially to workers in the global south is unfortunately still the exception rather than the rule.

The other aspect of fair pricing however is making the product affordable to a wide audience. So how do you make sure both goals can be met? Through direct partnerships with the producers:


…because I do not use middlemen, I am able to pay my farmers more money directly. I am passionate about working with farmers who are making a positive social, economic, and economic impact. In fact, we only purchase from farmers who build schools for the children in their communities. Every time you purchase from GuruNanda, you too are helping their efforts.


The Quality of Friendship


Having a personal relationship with all the farmers comes with additional benefits. Since most of the farms are too small for formal organic certification, only close personal friendships can build trust that all the requirements are met. Or as GuruNanda puts it:


… because I know all of our farmers personally, I can guarantee that they are growing our plants from non-GMO seeds and without pesticides or chemicals.





Of course, they also ensure the quality of their essential oils through thorough testing. “Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry“ is a procedure that can both guarantee purity and detect possible contamination. All oils are tested both in-house and through third parties.



What I like most however is that the Global Farm Alliance is a network of real people who are connected through the passion they have for their work, a deep respect for one another and the idea that plant-based wellness and health is a basic human right.




 

Jennifer Scales is a photo artist and train travel enthusiast. When she is not vetting companies for askBelynda, she spreads her love for sustainable travel by capturing the beauty of nature seen through the train window.

Check out her website Landscape in Motion and follow Jennifer Scales | Fine Art on Instagram to see her artwork.

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