Eco beauty brand legally appoints ‘nature’ to its Board of Directors

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Natural body and haircare brand Faith In Nature has become the world’s first company to officially appoint Nature to its Board of Directors, giving the natural world a voice and a vote on the future of the business.

The brand has worked with leading environmental and corporate lawyers to turn an idea into reality and have now officially amended their company constitution to include Nature as a director, with all the same voting rights as any other company director.

Established in 1974 by aromatherapist Rivka Rose, Faith In Nature believe in harnessing the power of nature without harming it in the process. They also believe that natural, ethical products should be available to all, which is why they have always been priced with accessibility in mind. From soap to shampoo, these products are completely free of harmful parabens and SLS, instead using only the highest quality, naturally derived, cruelty-free ingredients, which are of course, vegan.

Faith In Nature are now putting this change into practice using the legal ‘guardianship’ model. Nature will be represented through a proxy role whereby a human who is legally bound to speak on behalf of the natural world, acts on behalf of Nature. This representative will speak and vote on behalf of Nature, much like a guardian acts on behalf of a child in the courts of law. This decision extends a growing legal precedent around environmental personhood (the attribution of legal rights to non-human entities) and presents a fresh opportunity for businesses wanting to reduce their environmental impact.

Simeon Rose, Faith In Nature’s Creative Director and driver of the initiative, said: “We’re delighted to be the first to do this but we don’t want to be the last. Our hope is that other businesses who take their responsibility to the natural world seriously will follow suit – and we’re really happy to share details of how and why we did this. We’ve always wanted Nature to be at the heart of what we do and this felt like this is the next serious step we could take to make that a reality. This is much more than spin: by changing our governance structure we are making sure we’re legally accountable and that what’s good for Nature informs our strategy.”

Paul Powlesland and Brontie Ansell from Lawyers for Nature, and Grant Wilson from Earth Law Centre have helped pioneer the concept of environmental personhood and are integral to this groundbreaking decision by Faith in Nature. Earlier this year, the Earth Law Centre assisted with the high profile legal case to attribute legal rights to Nature in Panama. The legal process with Faith In Nature also received significant support and expertise from a pro bono team of corporate experts at international law firm Shearman & Sterling LLP.

The position of board representative for Nature will be on rotation, but will begin with Brontie Ansell, Director and Co-Founder of Lawyers for Nature. Ansell said: “This will hopefully spark a big change in how the business world perceives and acts on its responsibility to the natural world. For too long Nature has been seen purely as an expendable resource: this kind of thinking has led us to the brink of ecological collapse. It can and must change.”

The designated board representative will be supported by a committee of environmental experts, who will make the case on behalf of Nature for all major board decisions. In a move that encourages other businesses to follow suit, Faith in Nature has decided to open-source the legal process.

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Grant Wilson at the Earth Law Centre, added: “The movement for the Rights of Nature is picking up momentum across the world, but businesses have been slow to recognise that they are a crucial part of this story. Making Nature a Director is a tangible step that businesses can take to ensure that their operations take into account the rights and needs of the natural world.”

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