Charlotte’s Web started out as a driven pursuit to create high-quality hemp products to aid those suffering from debilitating health conditions.
It was a young girl named Charlotte Figi, whose public bravery and relentless battle with epilepsy, inspired the Stanley brothers to concoct their original formula of CBD oil.
Charlotte’s story lives indefinitely in the company’s mission to continue to help the other Charlotte’s of the world enhance their health through their full-spectrum hemp extracts.
Kelly Shea, who was recently appointed as the Senior Vice President of Government Affairs & Corporate Communications for Charlotte’s Web, said it was the big-hearted nature of the company that made her want to join the team.
“I didn’t come to Charlotte’s Web because I had to, I came to Charlotte’s Web because I wanted to. And so that first day at work, knowing that I was working for a company that was founded as a mission before it was ever a company, was incredible — and Charlotte’s web does walk that out every day,” said Shea.
Prior to working at Charlotte’s Web, Shea utilized her 25-30 years of experience with agriculture and sustainability to enhance the organic dairy industry at Danone North America.
This new position is the perfect transition for Shea, as implementing organic and non-GMO practices are just as important when farming hemp products.
Shea explains that hemp is a plant that naturally bio-remediates soil, so Charlotte’s Web thoroughly tests the soil and water in the area before planting to ensure the hemp is not pulling up any heavy metals or toxins that customers could then potentially ingest.
“You want the cleanest, best products you can provide. And from a sustainability perspective, that really is about taking care of the health of farmers, reducing the amount of toxins, pesticides, and herbicides that they or their families would be near. And it’s also about taking care of the planet as well,” said Shea.
All of Charlotte’s Webs products are created from their own Charlotte’s Web genetics, made with premium, American-grown hemp, with limited and select ingredients.
Their selection process is intended to build trust in the brand.
That trust is essential for Charlotte’s Web to fulfill their mission of providing the best alternative medicine to their customers.
The world has changed since Charlotte’s Web became an internationally recognized brand in 2013.
Shea explains that in 2017, there were only about 250 companies in the hemp CBD space; now, there are over 3,000.
As such, Charlotte’s Web is working to increase the trust in their brand and provide even more transparency to their customers.
On August 28, Charlotte’s Web announced they had earned B Lab’s B Corporation Certification.
According to the press release, this certification will allow Charlotte’s Web to further expand the ways in which the company can fulfill its mission of “benefitting the planet and all who live upon it.”
Certified B Corporations are defined as for-profit companies that use the power of business to build a more inclusive and sustainable economy.
“It’s a testimony to the company that the Stanley Brothers have created and that Deanie Elsner, our CEO, and the other people at our company continue to move forward. It’s really about our belief system in the right way to do business,” said Shea.
Gaining a B-Corp status is not an easy feat.
Prior to being certified, companies must undergo a B Impact Assessment test, which asks rigorous questions that evaluate the way your company values its workers, customers, and the environment.
Shea explained about 6,000 companies have attempted a B Impact assessment, and only 3,600 have succeeded in attaining certification.
“It’s really helpful to do that assessment because even after you get certified, that’s sort of your starting line for continued improvement. And so it’s really exciting to know that we’ve met the standard to be certified, but what’s even more exciting is knowing where we can go from there,” said Shea.
While the world is finally starting to acknowledge the healing properties of cannabis, there is still a lingering, negative stigma attached to the plant.
It’s safe to say that Charlotte’s Web helped put CBD on the map, and by gaining a B-Corp status, they’re helping to further legitimize the cannabis industry.
“B Lab is not going to certify industries that they feel are not healthy or positive industries,” said Shea. “I think a lot of what we need to do is education. And also, as a hemp industry, we really need to work to push the FDA and other regulatory bodies to be looking over our shoulders and ensuring that products are produced with an eye to food safety and with an eye to transparency.”
This importance of transparency is heavily rooted in everything that Charlotte’s Web does, from sustainable farming practices and buying locally to actively working towards organic certification.
As they move forward, they will use their B-Corp status to further validate the cannabis industry by improving equality for Black farmers and continuing their mission to help those in need.
“We were the pioneer and we’re still the market leader. And I think we need to sort of define how the rest of the industry should move forward,” said Shea.