Aaron Perry


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  • Episode 111 – Gero Leson, “Honor Thy Label” on Dr. Bronner’s Global Regenerative Relationships
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Stewardship & Sustainability Series
Episode 111 – Gero Leson, "Honor Thy Label" on Dr. Bronner's Global Regenerative Relationships

[HONOR THY LABEL] Gero Leson, Dr. Bronner’s VP of Special Operations, discusses his new book, Honor Thy Label, chronicling the company’s development of farm-direct regenerative organic supply chains around the world. Gero shares the challenges and opportunities of working with diverse communities “on the ground” to source coconut oil, olive oil, chocolate, hemp, peppermint oil, and a variety of other ingredients from regenerative farmers in Sri Lanka, the Holy Land, India, Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, and elsewhere. He also discusses the creation of the Regenerative Organic Alliance – the leading certification body that incorporates land stewardship, fair trade practices, and animal welfare into its three-pillar framework. 

Dr. Bronner’s is “cleaning up the world with soap” and leads the regenerative organic movement alongside organizations like Patagonia, Demeter, and the Rodale Institute. Instituting advanced internal mechanisms for regeneration, sustainability, and equitable treatment of its stakeholders, Dr. Bronner’s has voluntarily imposed an executive pay cap and allocates its profits to taxes, philanthropy, and activism. In Gero’s Honor Thy Label you’ll find vignettes by key Bronner family executives: Trudy, David, and Mike, and their colleague Michael Milam , as well as a very touching account of Gero’s work to help heal the Jewish Bronner (originally Heilbronner) family’s connection to its ancestral German roots.

Gero Leson is Vice President of Special Operations at Dr. Bronner’s. Since 2005 he has managed Dr. Bronner’s shift to sourcing its main ingredients from organic and fair trade projects. These ingredients are hemp, coconut, palm, olive, several essential oils, sugar, alcohol – and now cocoa beans.

Gero’s Special Operations team of 8 has built and operates, several integrated farming and processing projects with local partner teams. These involve hundreds to thousands of smallholder farmers, processing operations with 200-300 staff, and significant social impact through hands-on engagement in education, health care, and infrastructure development. The Special Ops team also works closely with and purchases from other projects not owned by Dr. Bronner’s, such as Canaan Palestine in the West Bank. In recent years, all projects are emphasizing the shift to regenerative agriculture to improve soil productivity, resilience – and carbon sequestration.

Born in Cologne, Germany, Gero has a master’s degree in physics from the University of Cologne and a doctorate in Environmental Science and Engineering from UCLA. Before working for Dr. Bronner’s he worked as an environmental consultant to US industry in the development of industrial hemp and in international development. When not traveling he lives in Berkeley, California.


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