Changes in the beauty industry mean we will all soon be able to reap the benefits of ethically sourced products.
the next decade our approach to beauty - and the way we buy into it -
will alter, as a whole new world of holistic and environmentally sound
goods opens up.
The forces changing this business are similar to
those that are reshaping the food industry. Better appreciation of the
holistic approach to well-being (and beauty) and a desire for
corresponding products is one key driver.
Greater savviness about
ingredient origins is another. These interests have encouraged some
brands to rethink their formulas - and their packaging - so they are
more ecologically worthy.
One of the knock-on effects of this shift is a gentle rise in companies now sourcing ingredients via community trade programmes.
houses such as the Body Shop - which sources cocoa butter for its
moisturisers from the Kuapa Kokoo co-operative in Ghana - and One
Village have had fair trade partnerships in countries such as Africa,
South America and India for many years. One Village was founded in
1979 to work in partnership with producers' societies such as the Palam
Rural Centre in Tamilnadu, a community of some of the lowest caste
people in southern India.
A fair trading factor in beauty is a good
thing for the same reasons as in any market: it enables investment in
the community the ingredients come from because the price paid covers
the cost of crop production and is not affected by commodity price
But because fair trade is primarily about recognising
the value in individuals, communities and the environment, applying the
principle to a shamelessly commercial and self-absorbed business such
as beauty makes even more sense because it gives products greater worth.
The following list shows how some of the most conscientious companies are participating.
Founded by Akua Wood, a Ghanaian who settled in
Britain two decades ago, this range of soaps, body butters and scrubs
is made with ingredients imported from producers and farmer-run co-ops
in Ghana via Wood's company Sheabutter Cottage.The hero ingredient
is pure, unrefined shea butter, which comes from northern Ghana, where
300 women pick the nuts from the karite tree, then dry, boil, process,
crush and churn them into shea butter for Wood's products.
Cioccolatina Shea Body Butter, £10.75, is said to be wonderful for taking the itch out of eczema and dry skin.
Other products include Shea Olea Lotion, £10, and Shea Butter Scrub, £10. (0118-969 3830; cioccolatina.co.uk).
An independent foundation that sells products from
craftmakers in the poorest parts of the world from its shop near
Oxford, as well as wholesale to other British retailers.One
Village's main points of difference is that it strives to sell
good-quality handmade products that, wherever possible, reflect the
style or cultural tradition of the makers. Also the raw materials and
processes used to make the products are chosen with consideration to
the impact this will have on the environment.
One Village One Aromatics Incense Sticks (£12.50 for a
parcel of 12 differently scented sticks) are made with natural oils and
resins and unadulterated by heavy carrier oils.One Village
Sandalwood and Neem Soaps (£10 for four bars) are vegetarian and made
with rice bran and distilled coconut oil. (onevillage.com).
The Body Shop
As well as its non-animal testing policy, the Body
Shop is committed to environmental protection and respect for human
rights, and has an extensive community trade strategy.It aims to
develop trading relationships with communities in need and buys natural
ingredients from 28 suppliers across 22 countries from Zambia to
Africa Spa Salt Scrub, £14, comes in a chunky Kilner
jar, which makes it easy to scoop from, and contains community trade
Ghanaian shea butter and Zambian beeswax.Africa Spa Honey Butter,
£10, contains fairly traded honey - which makes it smell yummy, and it
is said to work wonders on dry elbows and knees. Call 0845-905 0607 to
find your nearest branch.
This company was founded by The Big Issue and Red Pepper magazines to promote ethical consumerism.
sources the best ethical, Fairtrade and environmentally friendly
products and services available and brings them together to be sold
through its website.If you buy products via Get Ethical you help to
reduce environmental impact and contribute to creating sustainable
Shikakai Amla Shampoo/conditioner, £10.30, contains
extracts from the herb shikakai, liquorice (which makes hair shiny),
Indian soapnut and neem.It is made by an Indian company called
Sasha Exports which has its own beauty manufacturing unit run by women
from underprivileged communities.