Fairtrade fortnight (22 February – 7 March 2010) is a celebration of making the trading world a fairer place. You can get to show your support for the producers in the developing world through what you buy.
Fair trade isn’t just about bananas or chocolate, it can also relate to the beauty products we buy and use on a daily basis. To mark this fortnight of festivities, we spoke to Green People who work with a range of suppliers who have projects in place that build up rural infrastructure, focus on education, provide fair wages and healthcare.
Charlotte Vohtz, founder of Green People, explains;
“We launched our first organic skincare products over 13 years ago and from day one, we have been fastidious about ensuring that, wherever possible, the raw ingredients which are used in our skincare products are produced on a fairly traded basis. It is really important to us that people can be confident that the families that have been involved in the production of these gorgeous organic products are paid fairly, work in good conditions and have good prospects.”
Here are some of the real stories behind the ingredients that go into Green People products:
Ghana – Organic Shea Butter
The first and only Organic Fair Trade Shea Butter in the world it is handmade using age-old traditional methods in Ghana. The production process does not use chemicals or solvents. This fairly traded project provides employment, a fair wage and good working conditions for a community of 600 women who produce over 120 tonnes of butter each year!
Shea Butter provides moisturising, regenerative and anti wrinkle properties for skin.
Dominican republic – Organic Cocoa Butter
GP buy Fair Traded, organic Cocoa Butter from a project in the Dominican Republic which helps to train growers in sustainable harvesting and provide the financial help to expand their crops. It has assisted communities in investing in much needed community water systems, local healthcare and educational scholarships whilst providing fair wages and living conditions for its 9,000 farmers and 350,000 individuals involved in the production – ensuring the Cocoa quality is one of the best on the market!
Cocoa butter provides wonderful softening and moisturising properties.
Bulgarian Valley – Organic Rose Otto Oil
This family-run operation in the Bulgarian Valley of Roses produces 60 kilos of Organic Rose Otto oil a year. The land has been reclaimed by local farmers after the communist regime and is being reworked to get the valley back to the beautiful landscape it once was. The harvests provide work for people from all over Bulgaria including three generations of the Nikolaev family who gather together to handpick the roses.
Rose oil is packed with therapeutic benefits – it’s soothing on the skin, regenerates new skin cells and promotes a feeling of well-being.
Namibia – Myrrh
The Myrrh used by Green People comes from a project in Namibia which supports the Himba tribe, who depend entirely on the income from the collection of Myrrh resin. A group of women hand collect 100 kg in a day from 1200 different trees, but these nomadic people do not have the opportunity to create a market for the Myrrh. Their support creates a regular and much needed income to the Himba people. (This project is supported by WWF and the Namibia government).
Myrrh rejuvenates and helps heal damaged and sensitised skin.
India – Organic Peppermint Oil & Spearmint Oil
Over 40 small farms work together to produce a large amount of Organic Mint oils. Over the 8 years of partnership the local community have been able to expand their farms and offer the opportunity of education to the local children.
South Africa – Organic essential oils
Rose geranium, Lemongrass and Rosemary are just some of the organic essential oils that we source from South Africa. There are a wide range of projects going on in the country which support local communities, providing employment and a fair wage for the producers.
Organic essential oils make up much of what goes into natural skin care products, as these oils have beneficial properties for the skin and also a beautiful scent. This allows the company to avoid using artificial fragrances, to which many people have sensitivities.
The Fair Trade Foundation are running ‘the big swap’ during Fair Trade Fortnight where you are being challenged to swap your regular products – whether this be food or beauty items, for those that have been fairly traded. You can register what you’re planning to swap at their website here.