Theresa Grantham and Business with a Clear Conscience

Interviewed by

Lisa Er

Theresa Grantham and Business with a Clear Conscience

In today's globalized economy, most of the everyday products we buy, wear, and eat are produced with labour from the developing world.

But do we ever think of the story behind the products that we buy? Who planted the seed for our cotton clothing and sheets? Where did the seed come from? Was it a genetically engineered seed? What fertilisers, herbicides, and pesticides were used on the cotton? How did those affect the health of the farmer workers. How old were the workers? Who removed the seeds from the cotton boll and who processed them, wove them and made them into garments? Were they paid adequately for their labours? This is the story of the cotton trail.

Theresa Grantham a haute-couture, or high fashion consultant and business woman in New Zealand, knew at a certain level there was a better way to service the fashion industry with a clear conscience. After a profound visit to India, she set out to change the karma of clothing and ended up launching a fashion brand that acts as a laboratory for social innovation and transformation.

The result is Atma Vichara. Atma Vichara was born of an idea that simultaneously developed in the minds of a group of people dispersed across four corners of the globe. This diverse group of individuals was inspired by a notion of another way to do business; of a way to value the people who are working to make products that each and every one of us are surrounded by.

Atma means consciousness or awareness or the unfathomable intelligence. Vichara means inquiry into. So Atma Vichara means inquiry into consciousness itself.

So Theresa and her partners are working to create conscious vibrational clothing, to bring morality into business. She prefers the word morality to ethics and says the business model is beyond ethics, sustainability and profit. They are creating a culture of positive storytelling, education, and transparency.

Theresa tells us of Value Chain Development. That is finding reliable ethical manufacturers and facilitating stakeholder interaction and engagement.

Then there is Supplier Development which involves rural outreach: and design interventions to improve lives of farmers and artisans. It also reviews existing supplier support programmes.

Business Model Development involves concept development, using fashion language to tell the story behind the label; business model design, and strategy and philosophy.

Translating ideals and ethics into company vision and mission is part of Organisational Development. There needs to be strengthening around core values; team building and value alignment. Self-inquiry is a basis for organisational learning.

All these contribute to creating a new way to do business, and from which others can learn and be advised.

You can find more on the web site:
The sales arm of the organisation is

To find out more about the cotton industry and why we need to be concerned, see the movie:

This programme was sponsored by:

New Zealanders working towards a new dynamic-community, democracy and goodwill.

Leave a Comment

Lisa Er

Lisa Er

Born in the UK Lisa emigrated with her parents to New Zealand at the age of 16. Already politically active Lisa has continued to have a passionate interest in peace, politics, and the philosophy behind what we do.

A primary school teacher for 14 years, Lisa then turned her hand to business and created the well known Lisa's Hummus, which she sold a few years ago. Now Lisa is immersed in creating a better political system via