Monday, April 14, 2008

AVEDA: Beauty Is As Beauty Does




Aveda would like you to discover how they connect their mission with product development by sourcing ingredients from traditional communities around the world. There is just so very much to learn about how Aveda takes careful steps and measures to give back in creating quality products for us, that it's really not feasible to encompass all the information here. I encourage you to gain more insight, it's definitely worth reading, by clicking here for their website.

Continuing our green theme for the month, I'd like to make you aware of at least a small portion of how Aveda is actively performing its mission. Today we'll look at how they're sourcing some of their ingredients.

BEAUTY FROM A WOUNDED EARTH

South African Rose Geranium

Of the 30 farms in South Africa who grow, harvest and distill the plant for Aveda, two farms in particular stand out. The farms of Dysseldorp are owned by the community and worked by men and women from the local town. By farming the rose geranium, families build a sustainable business on their land, and bring money closer to their communities. Not far from Dysseldorp, the town of Vaalwater is a tightly-knit community of approximately 300 people, of whom 75 are employed by the local farm. The land had been used to farm tobacco for many years, but its new owners, Tanya and Rupert, have transformed it into an organic rose geranium farm and essential oil distillery. Because an organic farm is more labor-intensive, they are able to employ more people, thus bringing in more resources for the community. They continue to struggle with the remnants of apartheid. Rose geranium flowers serve as hope for these families, who have lived on the land for hundreds of years. All of the income from the farm goes directly into the community, building better schools and houses, and bringing home care and counseling for the 1 in 4 of the adult population struggling with HIV. As their business grows, hope grows from the wounded Earth. Read more about South African Rose Geranium sourcing here.

Aveda Products Containing South African Rose Geranium:



Amazonian Babassu

In the eastern Amazonian region of Brazil, women gather after morning chores to collect nuts from lush new-growth babassu (bob-ah-sue) palms, carrying their harvests in woven baskets to shade trees, where they sit and break the hard shells with a stick over ax blades adjusted to their legs. The women are from Indigenous and local communities that have occupied the Maranhão region of Brazil for over four centuries. They call themselves quebradeiras de coco—"coconut breakers". Their world was not always peaceful. Twenty years ago, vast sections of forest were burned and cleared for cattle ranching and the people were forced, often violently, from the land. Joining with environmental groups, the babassu nut breakers successfully lobbied local and federal officials to prohibit the clear-cutting of the palm forests, and to protect their rights. These local collectives, have been partners with Aveda for six years. Aveda has taken certified organic babassu as a starting point to create a cleansing ingredient—known as babassu betaine—that is richly foaming. We are able to buy babassu directly from the women's collectives. This means we don't have to go through conglomerate importers and middleman companies that could usurp Native interests. In turn, we know exactly where our certified organic babassu is coming from—knowledge that assures us that our high standards of integrity are met. Ingredient purity can be traced to source, to harvests that don't harm the land or the people. Read more about sourcing Amazonian Babassu here.

Aveda Babassu Products:


Australian Sandalwood

Today, most sandalwood available on the market has been poached in India, sometimes by organized gangs who also poach elephants. Aveda's quest for the Earth's purest, finest organic sandalwood oil that can be traceably sourced has taken us on a journey where the sandalwood is sustainably harvested and where the oil extraction process uses steam instead of petrochemical solvents. The difference—in quality and sustainability—benefits beauty professionals, consumers, indigenous communities and the Earth. More than two hundred years ago, the Europeans first arrived in Australia with their heavy suitcases. For a hundred years, countless Aboriginal children were forcibly taken from their families, deprived of their native culture, and converted to European cultural and religious lifestyles. In 1976 the Aboriginal Land Rights Act opened the way for the native people to find their rightful path again. Today, Aveda and the Indigenous Communities of Mardu Peoples of Kuktabubba have a strong business partnership. Aveda has also joined hands with Mount Romance, the Australian-headquartered producers of sandalwood oil, to extract the sandalwood oil by steam instead of petrochemical solvents. Read more about Aveda's sandalwood sourcing here.
Aveda Australian Sandalwood Products:


Brazilian Uruku - A Celebration of Color

The small village of Nova Esperanca sits on a red-dirt cliff on the banks of the Gregorio River in the Western edge of Brazil's Amazon rainforest. Its members are the custodians of the precious urukum trees. Their story is a painting of the human spirit and a colorful tradition of rich culture. Nova Esperanca is surrounded by vibrant rainforests growing the urukum plant, a bushy tree that stretches nine feet tall and produces spiky red or green pods. If you open a pod with your thumbs you find a collection of small red seeds hugged together. Each of these seeds is filled with a deep orange pigment known as urukum, or, Bixa Orellana. Squeeze the seeds in your hands and your fingers become paintbrushes, giving brilliant color to whatever you touch. The Aveda Yawanawa partnership is very special. In 1992, Aveda founder, Horst Rechelbacher and anthropologist May Waddington started a partnership to create a urukum tree plantation that would help the Yawanawa to sustain themselves. Aveda's research chemists discovered that the urukum pigment harvested by the Yawanawa was ideal for creating superior lip color. The work of preserving their homelands from possible destruction due to logging and or conversion to ranching, Aveda believes is a model for all people, in this world's fight against loss of biodiversity, mitigation of climate change and ensuring basic human rights. Read more about Aveda's urukum sourcing here.


Aveda Brazilian Uruku Products:



Aveda also offers a video library where you can go behind the scenes of their latest photo shoots where sourcing in these traditional communities around the world takes place - I checked it out, very fascinating!

You may also view more about Aveda's sourcing of other ingredients such as Bulgarian Rose and Lavender, responsible packaging, production via renewable energy, and information on Aveda's collaboration with other partners for Earth Month.

1 comment:

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