Honor Thy Label: Dr. Bronner's Unconventional Journey to a Clean, Green, and Ethical Supply Chain

Gero Leson


“A compelling story about the kind of moral, life-giving decisions that businesses can make to do good while doing well.” —Mark Bittman, author of Animal, Vegetable, Junk

What's in a label? For Dr. Bronner's, more than ingredients or intentions—it spells out an ethical commitment to fairness and sustainable growth, uniting consumers and companies worldwide. 

Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps are renowned for their dense product labels (“All-One!”) and the curious tingling of peppermint. But how did this unusual natural soap transform the small print into soaring sales—inspiring customer loyalty not just with lather, but with good clean business?

In Honor Thy Label, Dr. Bronner’s head of Special Operations, Gero Leson, reveals the inside story of how a little-known family-run soap company grew from countercultural roots to create a revolutionary fair trade and organic supply chain from the ground up—and rode the waves of popular demand without losing sight of the process. Through stories of harrowing setbacks and hard-won triumphs in projects that spanned the globe, in Sri Lanka, Ghana, India, and beyond, Leson demystifies the process of building and scaling ethical production. And he proves that if done right, the results ripple outward to benefit customers, communities, and the environment we share.

Told with spirit and conviction, Honor Thy Label invites socially conscious entrepreneurs and shoppers on a journey to break the boundaries of production with the pioneers of socially just business—spreading Dr. Bronner’s radical vision of simple ingredients with cosmic impact.

Copyright 2021 • Softcover • 352 pages


“People often ask us if there are any companies Patagonia looks up to. We’re proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with Dr. Bronner’s for the work they’ve done to pioneer a socially and environmentally responsible supply chain. For the past fifteen years their special ops chief, Gero Leson, has spearheaded these efforts. His new book is required reading for those who are serious about transforming business to help save our home planet.” —YVON CHOUINARD, FOUNDER OF PATAGONIA AND AUTHOR OF LET MY PEOPLE GO SURFING

“What would it look like for a major company to take the climate crisis seriously, with a commitment to organic, fair, and regenerative agriculture that can ripple outward to its customers and to other companies? With conversational accessibility, this engrossing book illuminates what makes Dr. Bronner’s so special.” —JONATHAN SAFRAN FOER, BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF WE ARE THE WEATHER

“Dr. Bronner’s is a true pioneer in the movement for a more regenerative and just future for all. This book shows the business world what’s possible when leaders put people and planet first.” —ELIZABETH WHITLOW, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE REGENERATIVE ORGANIC ALLIANCE AND REGENERATIVE ORGANIC CERTIFIED

“This book, like Dr. Bronner’s, shines a spotlight on the fact that how we care for the planet and one another are intertwined, and that these issues can’t be siloed.” —DANIELLE NIERENBERG, PRESIDENT AND COFOUNDER OF FOOD TANK AND 2020 JULIA CHILD AWARD WINNER

“Dr. Bronner’s is a comet of light proving that a business can be a powerful and positive force. Gero Leson illuminates how the brand focuses that trail of light on ecological and social issues important to all of humanity around the globe.” —JEFF MOYER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF RODALE INSTITUTE

“We can all learn from Dr. Bronner’s work to reduce its footprint and engage its whole value chain in its regenerative journey. This book explains what it takes to make a deeply sustainable and ethical company, but it also provides inspiration for how to craft a career and path that builds on your principles and passions.” —ERIN CALLAHAN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE CLIMATE COLLABORATIVE

“Dr. Bronner’s extraordinary success upends every truism and belief about what a business could be, starting with the proposition that a company does not exist to make its ‘owners’ wealthy but to make the world healthy and whole, from economics to ecosystems, from places to people to products. Gero Leson has been key in expressing those values in supply chains around the world. His story is fascinating, profoundly original, and true to the principles that are the basis of Dr. Bronner’s.” —PAUL HAWKEN, AUTHOR OF DRAWDOWN AND BLESSED UNREST

Free Podcast

My Farmer, My Customer

New! Learn from Marty Travis's experiences converting the Spence Farm into one of the most successful farming co-ops in the United States today.