Do An “Obama”: The Power Of Inclusiveness in the Certification Campaign

An Inclusive Victory

Like many Americans I am thrilled with the historic outcome of this election. Obama has become a national President, capable of unifying Americans across the geographic, gender, generational and racial divides. This is a victory for new America. A testimony to Americans’ capacity for growth and change. As a former expat who lived for 21 years in Europe, I know it will also enable a big boost in America’s international reputation, and an affirmation of the principles upon which the country was founded.

These themes were all echoed in Obama’s acceptance speech – a speech marked by a willingness to be humble in victory, and to reach out and embrace those disgruntled by defeat. His inclusiveness will help people move forward together, tackle tough issues, and get things done in the months ahead.

Inclusiveness is infectious. John McCain, in his concession speech, immediately became a practitioner. Gone was the bitterness, negativity and name-calling of the past few months. In its place was a heartfelt respect, as McCain reclaimed his dignity by asserting his intention to do all he can to help Obama in the days ahead. So much nicer than finger pointing !

And the point is? This inclusiveness, the leadership of change by understanding, inspiring and harnessing hope, by uniting people to work together for a better future, is very effective. It can be applied across many issues we face, both large and small.

Certification: A “Clean” Campaign?

NPA Seal

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I would love to see it applied to the area of natural and organic beauty care certification. Instead of unity, there seems protectionism and partisanship, according to this recent report from cosmetics design. There’s a new seal and standard every week, it seems, with slightly different criteria, both here and abroad. The still small but growing industry seems caught up in a “my seal is better than your seal” competition, complete with name-calling and lawsuits.

Inspiring? Or Tiring?

When I ask natural and organic beauty companies why they aren’t certified, they often reply that they feel many of today’s seals are “self-serving”, focused more on protecting and perpetuating their own interests than on educating consumers with reliable and truthful information about alternatives to conventional products. Others feel they have to appease multiple seal owners and collect them all like badges of victory. Still others feel unfairly excluded– because although they are making progress, they aren’t perfect yet. They feel eschewed for their imperfections rather than encouraged for their good intentions. If we are not careful, this sentiment could soon spill over to consumers. Confusion, cynicism, and ultimately, apathy could be the result.

“Do an Obama”

Why waste time, energy and money infighting about what is essentially good for everyone. I encourage the leaders of the natural and organic beauty industry to “do an Obama” and embrace the power of inclusive change in the campaign for safe and certified cosmetics. By enabling all “candidates” to work together to establish an achievable and measurable global standard of natural and organic beauty certification, even one with multiple levels, everyone stands to gain.

United we stand, divided we fall. A tired cliche?

Let last night be a lesson.

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