Nu Skin: A Force for Good
A quick glance at the numbers paints an impressive picture of Nu Skin and their dedication to being a force for good for children and the world in which they live. But it’s in the work and, at times, the herculean effort behind each of those statistics where Nu Skin has made indelible marks on lives and on the company’s legacy within the direct selling industry.
Collectively, through a diverse network of corporate responsibility programs, projects and charity partnerships, Nu Skin’s impact is felt across the globe in the everyday lives of individuals. Their tangible contributions for more than three decades have empowered countless children and their families to move forward through the most difficult circumstances by saving lives, livelihoods and sustaining their communities.
Nu Skin’s impact includes 25,000+ life-saving heart surgeries for kids around the world, nearly 52,000 children’s vision screenings, and 944 scholarships for secondary and high school students. They’ve dug 111 freshwater wells used by families and entire villages and helped almost 8,000 Malawi families become self-sufficient through education. They’ve raised and donated $13 million—exclusively from the sales of Epoch products—in the past 25 years and have reached 50 countries through local community outreach programs, funded by grants through the Nu Skin Force for Good Foundation. And Nu Skin’s for-profit initiative, Nourish the Children, serves 120,000 meals to the neediest kids every single day, with the help of a boots-on-the-ground partner, Feed the Children. All told, that’s some 700 million meals.
Nu Skin has fought back against hunger and deforestation by planting 650,000 fruit-bearing trees and protected millions of acres of marine habitat through their nonprofit partner, Seacology. And they’ve been facing down their own carbon footprint since 2019 by setting sustainability goals and marked completion dates. Sustainability scoring and labeling Nu Skin’s entire product portfolio began last year, and they are working with supply chain and ingredient sources to make sustainable strides forward. In March 2021, Nu Skin rolled out a first-of-its-kind eco-pack—a sugar resin, all-in-one tube/lid packaging for some Epoch products.
This year, as Direct Selling News debuted the Bravo Global Good Award, celebrating companies that take a proactive approach to environmental, philanthropic, and social responsibility issues, it was only fitting that Nu Skin holds the honor as first-time recipient.
Commitment to the Earth and its citizens—that is the basis for the Bravo Global Good Award, and Nu Skin was chosen for their humanitarian efforts supporting children, as well as their on-going sustainability initiatives aimed at reducing their overall carbon footprint.
A Fire-bright North Star
When Nu Skin distilled their company values into a single moniker—Force for Good—back in 1993, corporate responsibility and philanthropic causes weren’t en vogue, but rather ancillary programs that most companies believed “nice to have.” But Nu Skin felt differently, having lived their mission daily since the 1980s when they launched in the small college town of Provo, Utah.
In the decades to follow, Nu Skin’s consistency in mission and growing philanthropic impact strengthened children, families, communities, and the very environment of the planet.
“To be a force for good throughout the world…that’s been such a North Star,” said Ruth Todd, senior vice president of global public affairs.
Co-founders Blake Roney, Sandie Tillotson and Steve Lund set a charitable tone and expectation that has carried through nearly 40 years of management and leadership at Nu Skin and is set like stone in their DNA. They include altruistic giving in their new employee orientation, host company-wide events and encourage regular service projects among the Nu Skin staff around the world.
“That fire began with our founders, and its flames grow brighter with every year,” stated Ryan Napierski, president and CEO-elect.
“We didn’t get it right all the time. We didn’t have all the answers in 1984, but we had a foundational piece. So, we’ve been able to add in and evolve and expand as we’ve learned more,” says Todd.
As Nu Skin became more attuned to what’s important in the world, “We learned our way into better,” declares Todd.
Nu Skin’s corporate responsibility canopy is held aloft by four pillars. This framework includes sustainability, the Nu Skin Force for Good Foundation, community partnerships and local outreach, as well as Nourish the Children, a for-profit initiative.
“Having a good framework for what your corporate responsibility looks like is very helpful because we have places or pillars to let us say, ‘This belongs there.’ Or by the same token, you can say, ‘We aren’t all things to all people.’ We say yes to the things we can and grow our way into some projects, but then you can also say no when it doesn’t fit your overall mission,” says Todd.
In everything they do, they must see the ties of how a project is supportive in their mission to help children. As benefactors of kids around the globe, Nu Skin recognizes that the entire global community suffers when boys and girls aren’t given the chance to grow up healthy with opportunities to improve their lives. So often, the suffering of children on a local and global scale stems from a lack of educational and economic opportunities, reliable health care options and vital medicines, exacerbated by tragedies like natural disasters, epidemics, and civil unrest, which can make a child’s well-being untenable.
Money to Help
To fund their philanthropic efforts, Nu Skin launched the Epoch product line 25 years ago. Since that time, every Epoch product sold has generated a 25-cent donation to the Nu Skin Force for Good Foundation, a 501c3 nonprofit. Nu Skin covers all administrative and overhead costs, allowing 100 percent of donations to be used for humanitarian and charitable causes. All told, $13 million has been raised through Epoch product sales alone.
The Foundation entertains grant applications twice annually and relies on a network of field representatives located in countries around the world to submit projects for consideration. But they don’t work alone. They rely on communities for ideas and for the muscle to get projects done. Communities always know best what they need.
For example, Nu Skin forged a partnership with Seacology, a nonprofit created by botanist and Nu Skin Epoch product developer, Paul Cox, 25 years ago. Time spent researching on the island of Samoa in the Pacific drew Cox’s attention to the plight of a small village, forced by their own government to sell rainforest logging rights in order to build a new school.
No school meant no government-supplied teachers. The village had no options until Cox stepped in and raised the money. The village ultimately built the school, and the rainforest was saved. That experience gave rise to Seacology and a charitable model that helps communities who want to preserve resources but fall under economic pressure.
Cox donated his royalties from Epoch products to Seacology in perpetuity, so projects that protect threatened island ecosystems will continue to be funded through Nu Skin Force for Good Foundation.
“It’s a unique and very long-standing relationship. It’s something that we can rely on as a dependable source of funding. Nonprofits are always looking for funding, and you never stop doing that if you want to do more projects, do more good and fulfill your mission around the world,” describes Mary Randolf, Seacology’s program manager.
Power in Partnership
“There is such power in partnership. We think it’s wonderful when nonprofits can get together because sometimes one plus one can actually equal three or four,” states Todd.
The power of nonprofit partnership is never more imperative than when Nu Skin relies upon organizations like the Red Cross and Convoy of Hope to help with natural disasters or with their work with Feed the Children.
“We’re not experts on where the needs are when it comes to children who are malnourished. We see lots of children in need, but we really rely on our charity partners to get those meals to the children who need them most,” says Sydnee Fox, director of public affairs. Nu Skin’s Nourish the Children, for-profit initiative, feeds 120,000 meals every day.
“They are the eyes and ears and boots on the ground for us. We couldn’t do what we do without our partnerships with other 501c3s. They are terrific. We’re all looking to try to solve the same problem. To get together, we think, is incredibly powerful,” describes Todd.
“As the needs of the people and the planet continue to evolve, we strive to do more and become better. We aspire to live our mission every day and do so in many countries in a myriad of ways. From the hundreds of life-saving heart surgeries performed in Asia to building libraries in Korea and creating an agricultural school in Malawi, we help provide a brighter future for children around the globe every day,” says Napierski.
Environmental Equals Human
Because environmental issues are human issues, Nu Skin has committed to and included multiple sustainability initiatives within their corporate responsibility canopy. They are currently assessing, scoring, and improving the environmental impact of 100 percent of their product portfolio. They aim to achieve a 100 percent roundtable on sustainable palm oil mass balance by 2023, as well as change all packaging to be recycled, recyclable, reusable, reduced or renewable and build a global network of zero-waste facilities by 2030. (Nu Skin recycled 110 tons of material in 2020.) Another objective is to invest 50 percent of Nu Skin Force for Good Foundation giving in those communities and people that are providing essential resources for the planet. All these initiatives are currently on plan, and they have started to see the impact globally with a reduction in paper and plastic tonnage.
“While the progress we have made thus far is inspiring, we do not plan to stop there. We’ll continue to find new opportunities to help where we can and find ways to decrease our carbon footprint globally. It’s our hope that our example can help motivate others to be a force for good in the world and protect this planet we all call home,” states Napierski.
From the June 2021 issue of Direct Selling News magazine.