UK-based natural body and haircare brand Faith In Nature says it has become the world’s first company to officially appoint Nature to its Board of Directors – in its words “giving the natural world a voice and a vote on the future of the business”.
The pioneering natural products brand, established in 1974 by aromatherapist Rivka Rose has worked with leading environmental and corporate lawyers to turn an idea into reality and have now officially amended their company constitution to include Nature as a director, with all the same voting rights as any other company director.
A voice for the natural world
Faith In Nature is putting this change into practice using the legal ‘guardianship’ model. Nature will be represented through a proxy role whereby a human who is legally bound to speak on behalf of the natural world, acts on behalf of Nature. This representative will speak and vote on behalf of Nature, much like a guardian acts on behalf of a child in the courts of law.
This decision extends a growing legal precedent around environmental personhood (the attribution of legal rights to non-human entities) and, proponents say, presents a fresh opportunity for businesses wanting to reduce their environmental impact.
Simeon Rose, Faith In Nature’s creative director and driver of the initiative, said: “We’re delighted to be the first to do this but we don’t want to be the last. Our hope is that other businesses who take their responsibility to the natural world seriously will follow suit – and we’re really happy to share details of how and why we did this. We’ve always wanted Nature to be at the heart of what we do and this felt like this is the next serious step we could take to make that a reality. This is much more than spin: by changing our governance structure we are making sure we’re legally accountable and that what’s good for Nature informs our strategy.”
Legal rights for nature
Paul Powlesland and Brontie Ansell from Lawyers for Nature, and Grant Wilson from Earth Law Centre have helped pioneer the concept of environmental personhood and are integral to this groundbreaking decision by Faith in Nature. Earlier this year, the Earth Law Centre assisted with the high profile legal case to attribute legal rights to Nature in Panama. The legal process with Faith In Nature also received significant support and expertise from a pro bono team of corporate experts at international law firm Shearman & Sterling LLP.
The position of board representative for Nature will be on rotation, but will begin with Brontie Ansell, director and co-Founder of Lawyers for Nature. Ansell said:”This will hopefully spark a big change in how the business world perceives and acts on its responsibility to the natural world. For too long Nature has been seen purely as an expendable resource: this kind of thinking has led us to the brink of ecological collapse. It can and must change.”