Seeds of Change

Beauty companies spread hope to communities around the world.
By Cara Lucas

It is both a rarity and a pleasant surprise to discover any corporation that emphasizes the importance of “giving back” to the communities that support them. When those charitable acts originate from an aesthetically minded company, the message leaves a thoughtful impression that defines the word “beautiful” on a deeper level and in more meaningful terms.


The following companies represent the total package; they tread lightly on the earth, maintain a close relationship with the natural world, and make significant effort to invest their profits back into causes and communities that they believe in.


Canus Goat’s Milk Skin Care Products

Close your eyes and envision a pastoral scene: goats grazing contentedly in the pastures, does (mother goats) and their kids (baby goats) side-by-side, scattered among the rolling hills of picturesque farmlands in rural Canada. This is the image that Canus strives to maintain, and seemingly succeeds in doing, as their natural message comes across in the soothing products they create for their customers.


Canus congruently works with a cooperative of family farms across Canada to house, care for, and milk six different breeds of dairy goats to produce their ever-evolving line of fresh, all-natural goat-milk products. They are careful to raise the goats in the most humane way possible, paying special attention to the diet and nutritional needs of the animals. To make it an enjoyable time, the does are fed special grains and hay as they are gently machine-milked. Canus also inspects their farms regularly to insure the goats are happy and healthy in their environment.


Why goat’s milk, you ask? Canus believes that goat-milk compounds are the best type of product to incorporate into your skin because of the built-in surplus of protein, vitamins, and minerals. The short protein strand of goat’s milk allows for easier absorption, immersing your skin in all of the “goodness” that it often misses with other moisturizing concoctions. Fresh goat's milk contains capric and caprilic acids, which are triglycerides that naturally balance the alkalinity of the human epidermis and allow the skin to better assimilate nature’s built-in nutrients.


Canus has a knack for spotlighting the direct relationship between the goats and their customers. Taking the attention off of themselves and crediting the goats as the true philanthropists helps them maintain a humble position as a company, and this image is only reinforced as they integrate their goats into various events, causes, and charities around the world.


The following four causes strike a conviction with Canus, explaining why they go to great lengths to further the undertaking of each:


Canus For A Cure

The goats “created” Canus for a Cure, their very own campaign that distributes soothing products for cancer patients and their families. The battle against cancer is near to the hearts of the Canus family, as is the ongoing effort to continue to find a cure for this devastating disease. Canus commits to doing their part by donating products to numerous cancer-related organizations and special events that support their affiliated objective.


“About five years ago, we received a ton of great response from customers that said our products really helped their skin during their cancer treatments,” said Lisa Lazarczyk, Director of Marketing for Canus. “These testimonials inspired us and made us want to create a program where we could distribute our products to a larger number of people.”


They have done just that. This growing campaign is designed to help alleviate any extra unpleasantness for cancer patients. Chemotherapy and radiation are physically exhausting. Not only is the body affected internally, but the patient’s sensitive skin can become dry and cracked with the depletion of moisture-sustaining nutrients. This is what motivates Canus to put goat-milk products in the hands of as many cancer patients as possible. Canus currently donates its products to:


• 13 American Cancer Society Hope Lodges, which provide free accommodations for cancer patients and their caregivers while undergoing treatment

• 10 Cancer Hospital Oncology Departments by gifting new patients with a package of skin-care products to use during their upcoming treatment

• Over 45 Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure events around the country


“We were so happy that our customers vocalized how our products impacted their treatment. It goes to prove that when customers reach out to us, our company can respond accordingly and provide products that really help,” says Lazarczyk. “If our products can provide relief for cancer patients, it’s a wonderful thing.”


The Canus for a Cure logo combines five uniquely colored ribbons: pink for breast cancer; green for kidney; light blue for prostate; gold for childhood cancer; and lavender, the universal color for cancer awareness. Canus continues to add other related cancer causes to their list, providing resources and relief in whatever way they can.


Heifer International

According to Canus, this is the goats’ favorite charity! Heifer International is a riveting organization that, interestingly enough, donates farm animals to families in third-world countries. This technique provides people with much-needed autonomy by empowering self-support. The organization adheres to several strictly followed “Animal Well-Being Guidelines” to ensure that the donated animals receive proper care.


Canus, obviously, sponsors the gift of goats. A single doe can offer up as much as a gallon of milk a day, full of necessary vitamins and minerals for nutrient-hungry families. “The US is the only place in the world where the majority of people consume cow’s milk over goat’s milk. Most people in other countries use goat’s milk because it is easier to digest,” states Lazarczyk. If excess product is generated, families can make butter or cheese. Each family is required to pay it forward by sharing any animal offspring with other needy families.


Strolling of the Heifers

Inspired by Spain’s running of the bulls, each year in Battleboro, Vermont, you can see heifers, accompanied by an assortment of farm animals and equipment, parading down the town’s historic Main Street. The intent is to promote the idea of sustainable agriculture in hopes of slowing down (or even reversing) the decline of New England farming. Canus backs local family farms and the health of their consumers. Each year the goats walk to show their support for New England’s agrarian landscape and culture.


The University of Vermont

With its US headquarters located in Burlington, Vermont (the same city as the University of Vermont), Canus is a proud supporter of UVM’s Center for Sustainable Agriculture. The Small Ruminant Center strives to educate local family farms on topics ranging from sustainability practices and animal husbandry to marketing tactics.


Derma e

The term “science” doesn’t always initiate visceral thoughts of wholesomeness and purity; but blended together with some of nature’s best elements, it has the ability to produce unique, beneficial, and therapeutically effective skin treatments. This is the mission of derma e, a beauty company committed to maximizing both science and nature throughout their products’ manufacturing journey.


Such sophistication is rare in the natural skincare marketplace. To set the bar high, they consider the latest substances (after carefully reviewing related literature and scientific studies), then determine its potential as an ingredient for future formulations. If used, the formulation then goes through a variety of tests to ensure that all information is accurate, effective, stable, of the highest quality, and never harmful. They use essential oils when fragrance is required and never use animals or animal by-products in the formulation of their products.


“We are very much committed to giving back when and where we can,” says Dr. Linda Miles L.Ac., D.O.M and vice president of derma e Natural Bodycare.


With nature loaning so much of its bounty to derma e’s products, they feel they have a responsibility to contribute back, both locally and worldwide. The company regularly donates to various organizations including:

• Special Olymipics

• World Wildlife Fund (WWF)

• Heal the Bay Santa Monica

• Brittany Foundation

• The Coalition to End Family Violence

• Meet Each Need with Dignity (MEND)

• Beauty Bus


The Paraguay Project

One of derma e’s most passionate causes is called “The Paraguay Project.” This close-to-the-heart program was created specifically to support the people of Paraguay by doing business with, as well as donating to, many organizations in Paraguay.


“The Paraguay Project is derma e’s effort to help at a global level, and we have adopted Paraguay,” says Miles. “My daughter served as a Peace Corp volunteer in Paraguay and saw and felt the needs of the Paraguayan people for educational opportunities, sustainable incomes, and empowerment—especially empowerment of women and youth. She also observed the rapid destruction of the forests and other natural resources, and felt the need for these resources to be protected for future generations.”


The Paraguay Project is three-tiered:

>>First Tier: For a reasonable price, derma e buys handcrafted “spiderweb lace” directly from the women of Paraguay, who sell their crafts at the markets in their country. Selling the “nanduti,” as it’s called in Paraguay, gives the women and their families some income and, in turn, independence. Derma e then offers their own customers the opportunity to buy these products, and gives 100 percent of the profits back to the following two Paraguayan non-profit organizations.


>>Second Tier: Derma e handpicked two specific causes to sponsor with the money from the sales of the women’s spiderweb lace. The first company is called Guyra Paraguay. In Guarani, one of the official languages of Paraguay, “guyra” means bird. This organization focuses on the conservation of birds in order to preserve the bio-diversity of their country, assuring resources for future generations. Promoting environmental causes betters the overall quality of life for Paraguayans. Guyra Paraguay accomplishes this through conducting scientific research, launching environmental education campaigns, and promoting sustainable developments.

The second organization that benefits from derma e’s efforts is Global Infancia. This yout advocacy program works to protect the rights of children and adolescents in Paraguay while simultaneously providing educational and empowerment opportunities for their youth. With derma e’s generous donations, Global Infancia is able to create a better, safer environment for Paraguay’s youth.


>>Third Tier: The final puzzle piece to The Paraguay Project is The Clyde E. Bay Foundation, which originated as an organization to help men and women gain an education and find work. Today it contains a full-service medical clinic and pharmacy that provides low-cost services.


The foundation also focuses on pre- paring women for the work force and ensuring they receive gender-specific medical attention. Currently there are two technical nursing schools that prepare graduates for careers in their community—all the while encouraging their students to further their education with a baccalaureate degree in the nursing field. In 2008, with donations from derma e, the Clyde E. Bay Foundation built a nursing school in a small village with full accreditation from the Paraguayan government.


In 2010, the community of San Pedro, Paraguay, asked derma e to participate in a joint project where donations would allow the community to buy building materials and fund labor costs in order to build a classroom. “We were extremely proud of our involvement in this work that helps support the growth of the community and educational opportunities in San Pedro,” says Miles. By combining efforts with derma e, the San Pedro community built an additional brick classroom for their school that educates 80 students, ranging from grades one through nine.


A percentage of all derma e sales are contributed to the Paraguay Project. So, that means that you can directly contribute to this great fund by simply buying a derma e product.


Giving Back to the Environment

Derma e not only gives back to the previously mentioned charities, but the company has a serious conscience concerning environmental donations—or more accurately, reductions.


Currently, derma e manufactures its products using wind energy, replacing 100 percent of conventional electricity with clean, renewable energy. This furthers their goal to completely offset their carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. They also purchase Renewable Energy Certificates from Sterling Plant Inc., which contributes to Sterling Plant’s mission to build a market for renewable electricity, increase energy diversity and security, reduce dependence on foreign energy sources, support domestic economies, and, ultimately, create US jobs.


Tangible conservation efforts around derma e’s office include a recycling program for employees and being members of the Green America Business Network. They also use 100-percent recyclable packaging and soy ink printing whenever possible.


True Beauty

Both of these companies do an exceptional job of showing the meaning of true beauty. Oftentimes beauty companies can get caught up in a surface philosophy—to do anything necessary to make their customers look good. This means making products that can compromise your health, testing those products in ways that are cruel to animals, and wasting our communities’ resources in the production phase. Every living entity feels the results of those companies’ actions, and yet, that is the price we pay to be “beautiful.”


As these companies give quality products to their consumers, they, in turn, allow their consumers to give back to charities, causes, and organizations that rely on gifts as a means to further their missions. It is a pay-it-forward cycle and we are all participants who have an impact at some point in the chain, perpetuating the ultimate meaning of true beauty.