Neal's Yard Remedies

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Neal's Yard, in Covent Garden, London.

Neal's Yard Remedies is a leading independent British retailer of organic natural health and beauty products. Founded in 1981 in Covent Garden, London, they have 40 stores across the UK.[1] They also have branches in Canada,[2] Japan[3] and the USA.[4] In 2009 they launched their direct home-selling channel in the UK and US, and their organic beauty collections are available in Canada, Japan, UAE, Oman, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Greece, Norway, Belgium, Italy, Mexico, South Africa, Australia, and South Korea.

History[edit]

The first Neal's Yard Remedies shop was opened in 1981 by Romy Fraser in Neal's Yard in Covent Garden. The shop offered dried herbs, homoeopathic remedies, essential oils, Bach flower remedies, and a range of toiletries based on herbs and essential oils.[5][6]

In 1985 a small factory was opened in South London to meet increasing demand. In 1986 they opened two new shops and they have continued to grow. They now have 40 shops, 64 Therapy Rooms and 400 stockists in the UK, including well-known department stores like John Lewis and Fenwicks, and can be found in branches of Boots and Waitrose. They have also expanded overseas, with outlets in Japan, US, UAE, Oman, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Greece, Norway, Belgium, Italy, Mexico, South Africa, Australia, and South Korea.[citation needed]

In 2005 Neal's Yard Remedies head office moved from South London to a new purpose-built eco-factory facility at Peacemarsh, near Gillingham, Dorset. That same year Fraser sold the business to Peter Kindersley,[7] former publisher and owner of Sheepdrove organic farm, for an undisclosed amount understood to be over £10m. Fraser remains on the board.[8]

In 2007, Fraser was awarded an OBE in recognition for services to the health and beauty industry[9][10]

In 2008, Neal's Yard Remedies became the first UK high-street retailer to be certified carbon neutral by The Carbon Neutral Company[11]

Awards[edit]

The company has been a regular recipient of awards for its ethics, ecological approach and, in particular, popularity of its skincare products. Neal's Yard Remedies was voted ‘Best British Brand 2009’ by the independent body ‘CEW’ (Cosmetic Executive Women)[12] and ‘Best Organic Brand’ by Natural Health magazine.[13]

In 2005 they won the RSPCA's 2005 Alternative Award for its ethical treatment of animals.[14] the 2009 CEW Best British Brand and Best British Organic Skin Product,[12] and the 2009 Sunday Times Style Beauty Awards, Best Organic/Natural Product[15]

Eco factory[edit]

In 2005 the company’s headquarters and production moved to the new purpose-built eco-factory in Dorset, designed and built by green architect specialists Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios.[16]

Built on a 5.2 hectare site on the fringes of Gillingham in Dorset, the aim was to provide a people-focused, environmentally responsible building sympathetic to its rural setting, with the smallest possible carbon footprint, which could also bring valuable work opportunities to the rural location. Conservation of natural resources was also a priority in the design and construction of the building, including investigations of on-site energy generation, water conservation, the collection of rainwater and the use of low embodied energy materials. The project was a successful test bed for the use of unfired clay bricks to add internal thermal mass; the building has a leakage rate of less than one fifth of the statutory requirements.

Neal's Yard Remedies Organic[edit]

Neal’s Yard Remedies Organic was launched by Kindersley in the United Kingdom in April 2009, and in the United States in September 2009. Neal’s Yard Remedies Organic is the multi-level marketing subsidiary of the company.[17] The subsidiary combines the selling of organic products, personal service, e-commerce and social media into a franchise network marketing based business.[18]

Ingredients Policy[edit]

The company has a strong ingredients policy and follow the precautionary principle, with specific criteria for safety, sustainability and efficacy. The ingredients and practices that they ban include animal testing on ethical ground, genetically modified organisms and nanoparticles, due to uncertainty regarding long-term implications, and a number of synthetic and petrochemical ingredients which have possible health and environment issues associated with them.

Published research[edit]

In 1993, the company entered into a research programme with the University of Westminster, under the stewardship of Pr Christine Evans, to examine the antimicrobial activity of over 80 essential oils. The research was completed in 1998, culminating in the publication of the ‘The Antimicrobial Properties of Essential Oils’ by Dr Pauline Hili[19][20]

In 2009, the company worked with researchers from Kingston University to test the health properties of 21 plant and herb extracts. The research findings were published in the BioMed Central journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine.[21][22]

Criticisms[edit]

In April 2008, the company was investigated by the BBC for claiming that the homeopathic preparations they sell can help prevent and treat serious fatal diseases such as malaria. It was reported that this practice was "highly dangerous and it puts people's lives at risk."[23] Subsequently the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said the product was "clearly intended to be viewed as a treatment or preventive" and the company's actions "potentially harmful to public health and misleading"; Neal's Yard accepted there was no proof that it worked and have discontinued the product.[24]

In May 2009 The Guardian's Ethical Living blog invited the company to participate in an online discussion, having apparently received confirmation of willingness for discussion.[25] A later posting from a Guardian editor stated that Neal's Yard was "working on replies".[26] Following the posting of questions about the efficacy of their remedies, and comments of a skeptical nature towards Neal's Yard alternative medicines, the company decided not to participate in the discussion, and the thread was therefore closed.[25] The refusal of Neal's Yard Remedies to answer any of the questions was criticised by public relations experts.[27][28]

References[edit]

  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ nealsyardremedies.ca
  3. ^ NealsYard.co.jp
  4. ^ nyrusa.com
  5. ^ Nachman, Sherrie: The Unbeaten Path: In London, a New (Age) England, The Washington Post, 3 May 1998.
  6. ^ Marks and Spencer's Rose honoured, BBC News, December 29, 2007.
  7. ^ Shepard, Anna: Neal's Yard founder: a real eco pioneer, The Times, 23 August 2008
  8. ^ Wiggins, Jenny: Kindersley buys Neal's health unit for £10m, Financial Times, 23 December 2005.
  9. ^ "Marks and Spencer's Rose honoured". BBC News. 29 December 2007. 
  10. ^ Booth, Robert (29 December 2007). "Retailing High street king is now a knight". The Guardian (London). 
  11. ^ 2008 Carbon Neutral Company
  12. ^ a b [2]
  13. ^ [3]
  14. ^ McDonald's praised for happy cows, BBC News, 13 October 2005.
  15. ^ Best Organic/Natural Product, Sunday Times, 10 May 2009
  16. ^ [4]
  17. ^ "Organic Monitor Report". 
  18. ^ "Direct Selling Association". 
  19. ^ [5]
  20. ^ [6]
  21. ^ [7]
  22. ^ [8]
  23. ^ Homeopathic remedy claims are disputed, BBC South West, 11 April 2008.
  24. ^ "Firm 'misled' over malaria drug". BBC News. 6 May 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-07. 
  25. ^ a b Vaughan, Adam (26 May 2009). "You ask, they answer: Neal's Yard Remedies". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 20 May 2010. 
  26. ^ Vaughan, Adam (26 May 2009). "You ask, they answer: Neal's Yard Remedies". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 20 May 2010. 
  27. ^ Vaughan, Adam (28 May 2009). "The PR lessons from Neal's Yard Remedies public debate U-turn". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 20 May 2010. 
  28. ^ http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/05/29/graun_neals_yard_storm/

External links[edit]