Esther: "Hi! This is Esther here, the founder of Lovethical. I recently spoke to Geoff Kerouac from Friendly Soap to get to know him and his brand a little better. Here's what he had to say..."
Geoff: "Hi! My name is Geoff, co-founder of Friendly Soap, a natural soap manufacturer based in Yorkshire. Our aim is to continually push to produce a sustainable yet affordable natural soap without compromising our ethics in the pursuit of profit."
Question: How did you come to create Friendly Soap?
Geoff: "Rob Costello and I worked at the UK's largest workers' cooperative for a decade. We fancied a change, but wanted to continue promoting a healthy, sustainable and ethical lifestyle. We decided on manufacturing soap so that we could control every aspect of the business throughout the process, from sourcing ingredients to choice of outlets, making sure ethics come before profit at every stage."
Question: What are Friendly Soap's values and ethical focuses?
Geoff: "Our ingredients must be vegan, cruelty-free, free from chemical nasties and produced sustainably. Packaging must be plastic-free, recycled, recyclable or produced to FSC standards. Team members are paid above the working wage for a 35 hour week, and our tax is paid fairly and fully. Waste is minimized at every stage and our production method creates zero by-products. Energy consumption is minimized at every stage, and human power is used wherever possible. We are sustainable, ethical, eco-friendly, cruelty-free, vegan and fair. We are accredited with the Vegan Society, Cruelty Free International, Ethical Consumer, Living Wage and Fair Tax. We've won a Green Parent magazine gold award and Ethical Consumer's Best Buy."
Question: Friendly Soap is certified under Cruelty Free International's Leaping Bunny programme. Why is that important to you?
Geoff: "We believe that no animal should be used to test a product that is used solely for human vanity. Cruelty Free International helps us to audit every supplier we use and is working tirelessly to end the use of animal testing across the globe. They are vital in the push to end animal cruelty and help consumers identify products that are on board."
Question: Why did you decide to be a plastic-free company?
Geoff: "Plastic, and the petroleum industry that creates it, is a major issue for the environment, poisoning the earth and its life. We believe that there is no need for plastic packaging or ingredients in anything, and by applying some thought all packaging can be plastic-free and recyclable."
Question: What are you most proud of when thinking about Friendly Soap?
Geoff: "I'm very proud of our team, who make it all possible; like-minded people concerned about doing things the right way."