World Fair Trade Day - 11th May 2024 - We are calling for a business revolution!

World Fair Trade Day - 11th May 2024 - We are calling for a business revolution!

The theme of this year's World Fair Trade Day is - "We are calling for a business revolution"

In a world where traditional business models are centre stage, the question of how to reach a sustainable economy without changing this ‘for given’ fact has emerged as a crucial conversation. If we want to achieve the 2030 Agenda,  it is crucial to reconsider the very fabric of these models, as they are one of the main causes of the environmental and social crises we are facing in the world. As we grapple with issues of sustainability, social impact, and environmental considerations, designing better business models becomes a crucial endeavour for a future-proof society.

We wanted to share with you what local company Nature's Laboratory is doing to put into practice  a new way of working which is 3 dimensional, including not just economic, but social and cultural -

Who are we?

Threes Company is an initiative which evolved out of the work of Nature’s Laboratory, a company in Whitby, North Yorkshire, which researches and makes herbal and bee medicines & natural skincare.

The team at Nature’s Laboratory are developing a threefold way of working -  a more sustainable model for businesses and organisations in the future.

The ethos of Three’s Company is that to be truly healthy, organisations must support the three dimensions of their being – Social, Economic & Cultural. Unless all three are in balance, an organisation and therefore the people who work within it will not experience true health.

How does it work?

It might help to explain how we at Nature’s Laboratory experience the concept of Threes Company:

At Nature’s Laboratory, as a business, we primarily operate in the economic world, but we also balance this with focusing on the social and cultural aspects of life.

Economic – We pay the Real Living Wage to our employees & provide meaningful work for local people, researching & producing natural medicines & skincare to support real health. We use some of our finances to support a local not for profit social initiative, Common Cause – more on this below.

Social – Our team at Nature’s Laboratory is engaged with meaningful work in a friendly and dynamic environment. We also support a local not for profit Community Interest Company, Common Cause, by covering staff costs for its health shop & hub, The Dispensary. Again, providing meaningful work for local people, engaging customers with not only what contributes physical & emotional health but also in a wider context encompassing social & cultural health.

Cultural – We support the development of the BeeArc, a project to build a research & discovery centre in North Yorkshire dedicated to the wonderful honeybee. The honeybee is integrally linked with human health through the therapeutic effects of honey and propolis. It is also essential to our existence through pollination of plants on which we all ultimately rely. The honeybee also holds a very special place within many cultures, as an ancient being, the holder of wisdom, and part of the hive – an incredibly complex and evolved organism.

With each element we are working towards an inter-relatedness in which each can support the other.

If we look at our own human immune system, we know it is affected by many things. It is not only affected by physical elements such as disease or illness, but also by our emotional state and our feeling of what it means to be human. If we suffer an emotional trauma such as bereavement or separation our immune system’s effectiveness can be radically compromised. Or if we have an existential crisis, question our meaning in the world or experience a spiritual crisis, our immune system can be significantly affected. We need health in all our aspects to be truly healthy.

This is the same for businesses and organisations. If we focus on one element such as economics to the diminishment or exclusion of the others such as social & cultural, our organizational immune system is open to compromise. But if we provide a wider focus, our systems are more balanced and more able to adapt and thrive. Our organisations become more sustainable. A healthy business or organisation has a greater chance of sustainable health too for those people engaged with it, whether they be workers, collaborators, customers or members.

Businesses and organisations must reflect this threefoldness of being if they are to thrive and create an environment which is sustainable. An entity which focuses solely on money is a dead source, capable only of operating in terms of finance with no wider input into what makes a real sense of well-being and health.

It is this focus solely on economics which has brought us to the place we are now in the world, where many companies put profits above worker health, animal health & environmental health. This way of operating is not sustainable, it will erode our relationship with animals and the environment and with each other, leading to devastation. When people work in exploitative & degraded ways it diminishes what it is to be human. We are far along that path already, but there may be time to change course. And we can all play a part.

As a Native American Cree proverb tells us

 “Only when the last tree has died, and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realize we cannot eat money.”

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