A visionary business
The tragic events of September 11, 2001 altered the life path of one determined Kiwi businessman.
New Zealand-born Kim Larking was all set to open a modelling agency in New York and was preparing himself for his first appointments when the world crumbled around him. From the ashes of September 11th, Larking, and several like-minded souls, laboured for ten long years, developing the charity Vision for Humanity (VfH). VfH sets out eleven goals for key sectors of society; what we could and should aim for in sectors like education, politics, the media and business.
Vision Products (high-end skincare, eco apparel and gift cards) and the Biospherically Correct rating system, are the physical manifestations of the ‘Vision for business’.
“Imagine a product which creates more biodiversity, cleaner water, healthier people”
Each product is rated under the Biospherically Correct system from Generation One (lowest) to Generation Three (highest) in terms of their eco-socio-impacts.
The biospherically correct breakdown on Vision Products’ website lists each product’s pitfalls (often reflecting current systemic limitations such as a reliance on fossil fuels for transportation) alongside positive aspects like the fact that 30% of harvest fruit is left on the ground as fodder for wild animals or soils. Vision Products also diverts 15% of all proceeds to other charities.
The biospherically correct. org website acts as a how-to guide and a database for innovative businesses who want to develop products and services that are actually good for our planet.
“Imagine a product which creates more biodiversity, cleaner water, healthier people,” says Larkin. “If all the goods in the world were biospherically correct, it would solve global warming, a lot of disparity issues and social justice issues.” Vision Product’s best sellers are its skincare range, made with natural ingredients, including natural preservatives from the totara tree. Wild harvested ingredients are prioritised over organics, emphasises Larkin.
“People are stuck on organics. Organics can still be a monocrop, still be grown on the side of the road, on land being deforested. With our ingredients from the Amazon, the indigenous people go directly into the Amazon and wild harvest the ingredients.”
Extreme care, and eight years of product development, ensures ethically sourced ingredients. Vision Products’ coconut oil (wild harvested and cold pressed) comes from Lambasa, Fiji; a rural village “trying to reconnect people with the land, teaching them to farm organically and sustainably.”
Vision Products’ ethos is ingrained in every product. The gift card range, which depicts non-Photoshopped snaps of nature at its finest, is printed on recycled card using soy inks. Clothing is created from organic bamboo and cotton.
Skincare products are packed in a corn-based material, polylactic acid (PLA), which has the potential to eventually replace plastic. PLA is commercially compostable and infinitely reusable in countries with the correct infrastructure; infrastructure we currently lack. Travel-sized bottles are still made from plastic, designed to be refilled from bulk PLA containers and reused.
Labels are crafted from wood cellulose or PLA. “It’s a little bit more expensive, in terms of cents, to create the labels that we’ve got; but we’ve got to start thinking of intergenerational equity. We’ve got to stop passing things off as externalities and take responsibilities for our choices,” asserts Larkin.
Skanty wrap tags are preferred over boxes and all minimal packaging touts the values of VfH with the words ‘love, forgiveness, compassion, tolerance and integrity’ etched, printed or embroidered onto products. These hint at the charity’s wider goals; raising awareness around human values required to form healthy relationships “with ourselves and with all other species on the planet.”
When you’re ready to walk away with your goodies, they’ll be handed to you in an organic cotton bag or a compostable vegetable-oil based bag. Online order? No problem; their potato packaging filler is made by Friendlypak. “It’s not hard to get,” states Larkin. “It’s just choosing to get it.”