A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Weleda's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Weleda is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles


Highlighting best practice
Jayn Sterland, managing director
Weleda’s 13-acre biodynamic
garden in Derbyshire
What can a century-old company, that relies on
old-fashioned farming methods and ancient herbal
traditions, teach the modern beauty industry of today?
Ilkeston-based Weleda is living testament to the fact that the old
paves the way for the new; it continues to drive and influence
its industry. From their humble beginnings in a village pharmacy in
Switzerland, they are, today, the world’s leading manufacturer
of certified natural and organic cosmetics and anthroposophic
pharmaceuticals. Managing director of Weleda’s UK operations,
Jayn Sterland, elaborates on their journey and development.
Our unique heritage
Originally founded in 1921, we have since grown to become a leading light in
holistic skincare and medicine. Almost 100 years on, our workforce is 2,500
strong, operating across five continents and 50 countries. We offer a wide product
portfolio of pharmaceuticals and tailor-made remedies for doctors, alongside 130
natural and organic cosmetics. We are regarded as a global player in our market,
despite our relatively modest turnover of less than half a billion euros, because of
the quality of our products and our groundbreaking sustainable business practices.
Ninety-seven years ago, however, things were very different. It was then that we
were founded by the Austrian spiritual scientist and philosopher Rudolf Steiner,
the father of all Steiner Schools and organic agriculture, together with a true
medical pioneer, Dr Ita Wegman. Anthroposophic medicine is another one of the
areas in which Steiner was a leading light; it serves as an extension to conventional
medicine in its science-based holistic approach focusing not just on the illness itself,
»Managing director:
»Established in 1925
»Based in Ilkeston, Derbyshire
»Services: Manufacture of
natural and organic cosmetics
and anthroposophic herbal
»No. of employees: 60
»Founded by philosopher
Rudolf Steiner
»Still owned by founding “not-
for-profit” organisations
Weleda UK
»Weleda uses over
seven tonnes of fresh
calendula flowers in
the babycare range
»Weleda has been
making baby skincare
products since 1959
»Weleda has the widest
range of natural and
organic baby care
products on the market
»A tube of Calendula
Nappy Change Cream
sells every ten seconds
»243 tonnes of nappy
cream are made each
year – that works out
at over 225 million
»Weleda baby skincare
has won hundreds of
awards in the UK alone
over the last ten years
but on the human being as a whole. It
aims to stimulate the natural healing
forces of the individual and to bring
mind, body and spirit into balance.
When he founded it in 1921, Steiner
named the company Weleda, inspired
by the ancient title of distinction given
to Celtic wise women and priestesses.
They would advise their tribes about
family, health and community matters;
in keeping with this sentiment, the
business is still today owned by the
not-for-profit foundations of the two
founders. This uniquely underpins
Weleda’s purpose and all actions; in all
we do across the world, we look at the
good of humanity rather than numbers
on a balance sheet.
Growth, successes and
In the UK, the company currently has
a turnover of £9 million, employs
60 people and manufactures liquid
medicines, tablets, ointments and
cosmetic products. We grow plant
ingredients in our Demeter-certified
organic 13-acre herb garden, and
are also a “specials” medicine licence
producer. Over the past few years,
our UK business has grown exports
to other Weleda companies in France,
the Netherlands, Japan, USA, Israel,
Australia and New Zealand.
The Weleda product range is wide and
varied, from baby skincare through to
heavy-duty medicines prescribed by
doctors and yet they all work upon the
same principle: a unique understanding
of people and nature to holistically
support health and wellbeing. They
are 100 per cent natural, organic and
In the UK, we lead the natural
and organic baby market with a
comprehensive range of products
for both babies, from birth onwards,
and pregnant mothers, for whom we
develop our offering in collaboration
with midwives. This range is distributed
widely across the country in leading
pharmacies and supermarkets.
Our most famous product is
undoubtedly Skin Food. It is a staple
in every make-up artist’s beauty kit,
and is regularly seen on models during
London Fashion Week. It is used by
many celebrities, including Victoria
Beckham, Julia Roberts and Adele.
Another example is our best-selling
arnica product range, optimal for both
sporting and medical conditions, such
as stiff and achy joints. Arnica Massage
Balm is made today to the same recipe
it was in the 1920s, and contains
biodynamic arnica grown in the Black
Isle in Scotland.
Quality and sustainability
The use of high-quality, raw plant
ingredients is essential to our growth.
Currently, we farm 22,000 hectares
organically and biodynamically,
nurturing the soils and promoting
biodiversity. Biodynamic agriculture is
a far more sustainable form of organic
growing. Biodynamic farmers strive
to create a diversified, balanced farm
ecosystem that generates health and
fertility as much as possible within the
farm itself. It is a three-part spiritual,
Weleda Iris products –
1921 to 2018
Highlighting best practice
ethical and ecological approach, and
aims to bring life back into the soil, so
that the farm produce has increased
life force, vitality and nutritional value.
We also ensure that as much of our
farming as possible is done by hand,
as this undoubtedly produces the best
results. Quality, authenticity and purity
are three of our key objectives.
Sustainability is a real focus, and
our approaches in kind are focused
around Steiner’s principles of
economic development, which entail
environmental, social and economic
responsibility. These values underpin
our corporate behaviour and decision-
making, as seen in our strapline:
“working in harmony with nature
and the human being”. The Weleda
Sustainability Flower positions our
employees appropriately in their daily
work to deliver using sound business
practices that are both good for people
and good for the planet.
Unscrupulous competitors
Natural and organic cosmetics are big
business in the UK; natural beauty is,
in fact, the fastest growing area of
this monumental £7 billion industry.
Unlikewith food, however, there is
minimal legislation governing the
use of terms such as “organic” and
“natural”; there is, for example,
little to stop an unscrupulous brand
claiming a product as organic when it
contains only a marginal percentage of
these ingredients.
Truly natural and organic ingredients
are both expensive and difficult to
source when compared to synthetic
“nature-identical” ingredients or
mineral oils derived from crude
oil. Certification standards such as
ECOCERT and NATRUE help the
consumer to navigate products in
the industry, but it is difficult to
differentiate the good from the
“greenwashed”. We have managed
to scale up production with both
organically farmed ingredients and
those collected from the wild in
remote parts of the world sustainably
and fairly; this has resulted in healthy,
symbiotic relationships with our
farmers that are built on mutual trust
and cooperation.
Continuing along ethical
We align annual sustainability targets
with our corporate strategy. These
have included, but are not limited to,
increasing the amount of organic plant
materials available, a figure currently
at 80 per cent, the reduction of
carbon emissions, an awareness of our
water consumption and management
Steiner’s holistic philosophy underpins
every decision we make; from growing
plants biodynamically through to
paying farming partners fair wages, we
set high environmental standards and
constantly monitor and challenge them
purely through hard work. We are
always focused on creating an ethical,
sustainable business with profit as the
result, rather than the centralgoal.
every decision
we make; from
growing plants
through to
paying farming
partners fair
Weleda organic lavender
in Moldova


This article was sponsored by Weleda. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from The Rt Hon Theresa May MP.

The Rt Hon Theresa May MP's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By The Rt Hon Theresa May MP

This foreword from the then Prime Minister appeared in the 2018/19 Parliamentary Review.

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review. For Her Majesty’s Government, our task in the year ahead is clear: to achieve the best Brexit deal for Britain and to carry on our work to build a more prosperous and united country – one that truly works for everyone. 

The right Brexit deal will not be sufficient on its own to secure a more prosperous future for Britain. We also need to ensure that our economy is ready for what tomorrow will bring. Our Modern Industrial Strategy is our plan to do that. It means Government stepping up to secure the foundations of our productivity: providing an education system that delivers the skills our economy needs, improving school standards and transforming technical education; delivering infrastructure for growth; ensuring people have the homes they need in the places they want to live. It is all about taking action for the long-term that will pay dividends in the future.

But it also goes beyond that. Government, the private sector and academia working together as strategic partners achieve far more than we could separately. That is why we have set an ambitious goal of lifting UK public and private research and development investment to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027. It is why we are developing four Grand Challenges, the big drivers of social and economic change in the world today: harnessing artificial intelligence and the data revolution; leading in changes to the future of mobility; meeting the challenges of our ageing society; and driving ahead the revolution in clean growth. By focusing our efforts on making the most of these areas of enormous potential, we can develop new exports, grow new industries and create more good jobs in every part of our country.

Years of hard work and sacrifice from the British people have got our deficit down by over three quarters. We are building on this success by taking a balanced approach to public spending. We are continuing to deal with our debts, so that our economy can remain strong and we can protect people’s jobs, and at the same time we are investing in vital public services, like our NHS. We have set out plans to increase NHS funding annually by an average by 3.4 percent in real terms: that is £394 million a week more. In return, the NHS will produce a ten-year plan, led by doctors and nurses, to eliminate waste and improve patient care.

I believe that Britain can look to the future with confidence. We are leaving the EU and setting a new course for prosperity as a global trading nation. We have a Modern Industrial Strategy that is strengthening the foundations of our economy and helping us to seize the opportunities of the future. We are investing in the public services we all rely on and helping them to grow and improve. Building on our country’s great strengths – our world-class universities and researchers, our excellent services sector, our cutting edge manufacturers, our vibrant creative industries, our dedicated public servants – we can look towards a new decade that is ripe with possibility. The government I lead is doing all it can to make that brighter future a reality for everyone in our country. 

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review 
The Rt Hon Theresa May MP
Prime Minister