In November 2010, the motivation for establishing the Sustainable Lush Fund was simple: could we move beyond simply buying fairly traded ingredients and, instead, develop supportive partnerships with the communities that produce them?
More than five years on, the answer is a resounding yes.
The mechanics of the Sustainable Lush Fund are straightforward: 2% of the amount we spend on raw materials and packaging is donated to the fund. This money is then used to start sustainable farming and community projects from scratch, some of which produce and process beautiful ingredients for our products.
The Sustainable Lush Fund is based on the main principles of the permaculture movement, which is a natural design system based on enriching local ecosystems and offering sustainable alternatives to conventional agriculture. The millions of dollars spent to date has helped support the ongoing development of more than 44 projects in 21 different countries, six of which produce materials that find their way into our Charity Pot Hand And Body Lotion: ylang-ylang oil, moringa oil, geranium oil, fresh aloe, shea butter and fair trade organic cocoa butter.
Although it’s a totally separate and distinct initiative, Charity Pot represents an additional opportunity to show our support for causes that we believe in. Every penny that Lush customers spend on Charity Pot, minus the tax, is donated to carefully selected grassroots causes for people, animals and the environment.
Now, everyone who buys Charity Pot automatically supports some of these Sustainable Lush Fund initiatives—and continues to raise funds for frontline campaigns.
The Sustainable Lush Fund and Permaculture
The three main principles of permaculture are at the heart of every Sustainable Lush initiative: care of the earth, care of people and fair share. In fact, there’s one special initiative that helped produce the ingredients that make Charity Pot so special.
Inspired by an overgrown aloe plant, Lush co-founder Helen Ambrosen decided that she wanted to get her hands on some fresh leaves. So our Sustainable Lush Fund Coordinator teamed up with Maasai Permaculturist, Joseph Lentunyoi to work with the aloe growers in the arid region of Laikipia, Kenya.
The Maasai people of Kenya are pastoralist. Cattle rearing is traditionally done by men, who move from one place to another in order to find suitable pastures while the women and children remain at home. When vegetables aren’t available during drought, the traditional meal consists of sour milk and blood from cattle. Life expectancy for the women averages just 45 years. In partnership with Laikipia Permaculture Centre, the Sustainable Lush team worked with the women to green the desert land, introducing nutritious plants, alongside aloe, to improve both the land and the women’s diets. We then buy the fresh aloe leaves for our Charity Pot formula. The leaves arrive in their full form and are freshly cut at the factory to extract the gel. Recent funds from Sustainable Lush have gone to invest in fencing to protect the aloe from being tramped by wild elephants and camels.