It all began with a cosmetic junkie, a radical Englishman, a harassed new mom and a baby.
Human Nature was the brainchild of Anna Meloto-Wilk, Dylan Wilk and Camille Meloto. All three were Gawad Kalinga volunteers who were exposed early on to the harsh realities of poverty in the Philippines and now burned with the desire to do more for the country.
Anna’s passion for the environment blossomed with her first child in 2005. Together with her husband, Dylan, the successful British multi-millionaire who gave up his fast cars and wealthy lifestyle in England to work for the poor in the Philippines, the couple decided to use cloth diapers after reading that it takes 500 years for disposable diapers to biodegrade and that many of the chemicals in them are toxic. Anna struggled with the decision (especially when washing squishy nappies!) but initial reluctance became a conviction that their inconvenience was a small price to pay for their kids to know a world that is still intact and beautiful. Their desire to live a more sustainable and ethical lifestyle extended to the products they used on their children and themselves, opting for fewer chemicals and less stuff in general, resulting in less waste and a smaller carbon footprint.
Camille, on the other hand was already experimenting with cosmetics as early as elementary school! She eventually became a freelance make-up artist and joined a cosmetics company after college. However, her longing to merge her passion for cosmetics and her conscience to help the country was still waiting to be fulfilled.
Anna and Dylan spent a year in the US between July 2007 and June 2008, where Dylan was setting up a network of volunteers for Gawad Kalinga. Whilst in the US, Anna observed a growing trend of natural and ethical products penetrating the mainstream market, making them more accessible to ordinary Americans instead of just being products for the wealthy and the elite. They were now present in supermarkets and drug stores at more affordable prices. She wondered whether this phenomenon could be replicated in the Philippines. Were Americans the only people who could have the privilege of enjoying a healthier lifestyle and saving the environment?
Camille joined the couple halfway through their US assignment. Soon the sisters started doing more research on how to bring affordable, natural products to the Philippines, work that they continued even after coming home to the country. Their persistence finally paid off and the Human Nature brand was born.
Human Nature was launched in November 2008. Today, it has become the country’s leading and trail-blazing social enterprise, hailed by Entrepreneur magazine as “the game-changer of the decade,” and studied as a successful working model for a social enterprise by students at Berkley University, California and Lee Kuan Yew in Singapore. It has sold almost 3 million products through its network of 16,000 dealers and its 19 branches all over the country. This year, it started selling its mineral makeup line Love Minerals at Beauty Bar, the only Filipino cosmetics brand carried by the premiere personal care chain. A selection of Human Nature’s best-selling products is available at Rustan’s Supermarket and Shopwise. Human Nature is also distributed in the US and Singapore, with more plans of expansion on the way.
Human Nature employs Gawad Kalinga residents as part of its full-time staff and has started work on a Human Nature Organic Demo Farm at the GK Enchanted Farm in Angat,Bulacan. Guided by the principles of being PRO-PHILIPPINES, PRO-POOR and PRO-ENVIRONMENT, the company continues to strive to provide prosperity to the Philippines through successful and sustainable social enterprise and quality natural products for all Filipinos.
Gandang Kalikasan, Inc.,the company that brings you the Human Nature range of natural personal care andbeauty products is founded on three core principles of being PRO-PHILIPPINES, PRO-POOR, & PRO-ENVIRONMENT.
From the beginning, the company was set up with the goal of providing more livelihood to Gawad Kalinga residents and communities. The dream is to set up GK communities as globally certified organic farms which can produce world-class raw materials for Human Nature products. Work has already started on the very first Human Nature GK Organic Farm in Bulacan in partnership with NGOs that specialize in organic farming and processing. As firm believers in fair trade principles, Human Nature buys raw materials from its community-based suppliers at fair trade prices, and sometimes even above market prices if the market price is not enough to provide a good quality of life for the farmers.
The company employs GK residents from nearby communities in Quezon City and provides a fair living wage which is much more than the minimum wage required by law. It also provides warehouse staff with full benefits and overtime pay in order to promote dignity of work.
Human Nature products are 100% made in the Philippines. It sources as many raw materials as possible from the Philippines and will only import if there is no local availability. All too often, multinational companies (or even Philippine-owned ones) will source their products and raw materials abroad if the price is cheaper by even a few centavos, costing Philippine jobs and sending that money out of the local economy forever. Human Nature wants to invest in Philippine-made products because it believes in the country and its people.
During the product development stage, potential raw materials are evaluated based on two criteria: Can the plant/herb/raw material be sourced locally? If not, can it eventually be grown in the Philippines so that the company can find ways to start an industry producing it? Only when an ingredient meets these qualifications is it used. For example, Tea Tree Oil is a very popular ingredient but it can't be grown in the Philippines so it is not used in Human Nature’s formulations. Lemongrass is widely grown and produced in the Philippines so it is in many Human Nature products and the company continues to seek ways to use it.
Human Nature believes that Filipinos can produce world-class finished goods. Other countries have reached prosperity by buying raw materials cheaply from poor countries and turning them into expensive finished goods. Think of Switzerland – they produce some of the finest chocolate in the world, yet not a single cocoa bean grows naturally in Switzerland. They buy cocoa from around the world, turn it into chocolate and sell it back to the country that grew it for many times the price! The only way for the Philippines to become prosperous is for it to produce not just raw materials, but world-class finished goods and for Filipinos to start buying Filipino products.
Let’s face it, the Philippines will be mostly agricultural for a long time to come and for as long as they only grow rice, its farmers will always be poor. But other countries have developed first-world economies from agriculture. Think of France – what do they produce? Fine wine, champagne, the best cheeses, expensive natural fragrances... some of the most valuable natural products in the world come from France. If our farmers grow okra, they can often only get 50 centavos per piece or less. But by switching to, say, organic aloe vera, they can earn as much as P50 per leaf – a hundred times the value. This is how Human Nature aims to help the country – by sourcing locally at fair trade prices, producing world-class finished goods and exporting them around the world.
Human Nature takes its responsibility of being nature’s steward very seriously. It carefully deliberates on the impact of all its business decisions on the environment. For example, all raw materials are thoroughly researched to ensure that they are naturally derived, are not processed using environmentally toxic processes and do not become toxic when released into the environment after the user has finished with the product. It also uses recyclable bottles in its packaging to minimize its impact on the country’s overburdened landfills.
Human Nature is about loving the Philippines, loving the environment and loving people as it provides only the safest and purest world-class ingredients for them. These are effective AND affordable organic and natural personal care products that feel as good on your skin as they do in your heart. We hope that you will find a sense of peace and purpose knowing that your everyday choices have a positive impact on the poor, our country and our planet.
Gandang Kalikasan Inc was created by Anna M. Wilk and Camille Meloto, two of the daughters of Tony Meloto, founder of Gawad Kalinga (GK). GK has already transformed more than 2,000 slums in the Philippines into beautiful, peaceful communities that are on their way to becoming productive too.
Gawad Kalinga is recognized globally as a world-class Filipino movement for nation-building by everyone from Harvard University to the National Institute of Education in Singapore. In 2006, GK won the Magsaysay Award, Asia’s Nobel Prize. Human Nature’s vision is that as soon as GK villages are capable of producing its ingredients to the highest standards, the company will equip and empower them to grow and process the raw materials needed for its products.
Beginning October 2010, 100% of all profits earned by Human Nature from the sales of its best-selling Citronella Bug Spray have gone to the farmer’s cooperative in Labo, Camarines Norte, Bicol, which supplies the organic citronella oil used in the product through the Philippine Federation for Environmental Concern (PFEC). This contribution has not only funded new extractors to improve their production, it has also uplifted their community by funding a school renovation and providing healthcare for the farming families.
Human Nature’s certified organic lemongrass essential oil is sourced from the Alternative Indigenous Development Foundation Inc. (AIDFI) in Negros Occidental. AIDFI provides renewable and cheap technologies to rural folk to help supply the basic needs of water, sanitation and energy. In 2010, AIDFI won the BBC World Challenge with its perfection of the hydraulic water pump that provides water to remote villages. With this technology, the lemongrass farmers in Negros were able to produce organic lemongrass essential oil for Human Nature.
Through its partnerships with these noble organizations, Human Nature hopes to bring sustainable livelihood to Gawad Kalinga communities to fulfill its vision of creating hundreds of world-class community organic farms in the Philippines, providing livelihood for thousands of its poorest people.
Human Nature is available through Human Nature dealers and branches. To learn more about Human Nature products, contact a Human Nature dealer or Visit Human Nature Naga Branch at G7A Ground floor DMG Bldg. Peñafrancia Avenue Naga City and find out how to be a Human Nature dealer, visit www.humanheartnature.com, or call 472-1174.