A vi­sion­ary busi­ness

The tragic events of Septem­ber 11, 2001 al­tered the life path of one de­ter­mined Kiwi busi­ness­man.

Element - - Beauty - By So­phie Bar­clay.

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.”

Kim Larkin. Photo: Ted Baghurst

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.