Trees have long been described as the lungs of the earth. Here at Lush, we’ve come to understand that forests are so much more than a collection of trees. The guardians, biodiversity, culture and senses that define these precious ecosystems provide a lot of answers and hope. We wanted to share with you the Life and Journeys that make up our world’s forests, and that make up many of our Lush products.
We buy tonka beans directly from Kayapo communities in the Xingu river basin of the Amazon in Brazil - a very important area for biodiversity. 1.3 billion metric tons of carbon stored and protected in Kayapo forest. The Kayapó have legal control of 10.6 million hectares of the Amazon forest.
The Amazon’s largest and fastest cat is becoming endangered due to habitat loss and fragmentation of their forests. Analysing the portions of forests and rivers preserved today, it is very easy to see that where there are indigenous and other traditional peoples, there are forests! The role of traditional populations in conserving and even increasing biodiversity is the key. The more non timber forest products bought, the greater the chance of preserving the Jaguar’s habitat.
Among other products, you can find Tonka in Sleepy...
“When I smell Sleepy Body Lotion I imagine being a child again back when my mum bought me a teddy bear with a bag of lavender inside it. She would microwave the bag, put it in the bear and I would lie in bed inhaling the warmth of the lavender. It’s a smell that makes me feel safe, relaxed, and warm...
The smell of lavender mixed with tonka is something I hold so dear to me now, whether it’s in the body lotion or whether I catch a whiff of it randomly in public. Using the lotion on my daughter, Giana’s skin at night also helped me develop a physical bond with her, something I encourage every new parent who might be nervous and intimidated to try. I imagine one day when she’s older and forgotten about it that she’ll pop into a Lush shop and buy it without realising and then when she gets home and smells it properly that she’ll remember and it’ll bring a smile to her face.”
Perfume that boost biodiversity It can sweeten your tea and even power your car. Sugarcane is a versatile plant that’s turned into a variety of useful everyday items, from biofuel to sugar. Lush source organic ethanol, an ingredient made from fermented sugarcane, from a carbon neutral company in Brazil.
Fuelling deforestation in sensitive ecosystems, Brazil’s Atlantic Forest has been reduced to seven percent of its original size due to sugarcane and other farming , A thirsty crop, it takes a whopping nine gallons of water to produce just one teaspoon of refined cane sugar. But it’s not all bad news, a growing number of carbon-conscious farmers are rethinking how they grow this valuable crop.
The most exciting part? They’re helping to bring back some of the animals in the area which are on the brink of extinction. Recovering the land and replanting around 2.6 million trees, the ground only requires tillage every seven years or more and the sugarcane harvest happens only once a year. This gives native animals a chance to use the plantations as an effective habitat without disruption.
Partnering with a local researcher to carry out a biodiversity assessment, the survey showed 335 different species were present in the sugarcane plantation, 49 of which were actually endangered to some degree. Animals such as pumas, aplomado falcons and black jacobins were spotted - an exciting result for the sugarcane plantation.
Brazil Nut Oil
The Brazil nuts that produce our nourishing Brazil Nut Oil are purchased from 138 rainforest concessions in Peru. The Castañeros people move to the middle of the Amazon forest during harvest time, where they build their camps and search vast areas of jungle for Brazil nuts. The government established the size of each concession in years before and now they are passed down between generations. Each one measures between 800-1000 hectares. To ensure natural regeneration of the Brazil Nut tree The Castañeros ensure that each concession is divided into smaller sections and only 1 section is harvested each year, allowing the other areas to regenerate without intrusion over the other years.
Doing business in the Amazon
“Our business gives people an alternative to logging and forest clear-cutting, that is both healthy for the planet and healthy for people” Lupe, Lush supplier of Brazil Nut oil, Peru
Fair Trade Cocoa Butter
Into the Gola A green diamond of luscious rainforest glimmers in the heart of the west coast of Africa, spanning the size of New York City. Home to the pygmy hippopotamus and over 300 species of birds, the Gola Rainforest National Park is a treasured haven for wildlife in Sierra Leone. Internationally recognised as a ‘biodiversity hotspot’, more than half of the plants found in the national park are unique and indigenous to the region.
This wonderful cocoa butter is used in our Charity Pot Coin. 100% of proceeds (minus the sales tax) of this naked, vegan body lotion, are pooled into a fund which offers grants to grassroots charities and campaigns working in the areas of animal protection, human rights and environmental protection. The cocoa beans sourced from Sierra Leonean farmers bordering the Gola Rainforest are fermented and dried by the farmers and then sent to the Crown of Holland facility in the Netherlands to be processed into top quality Fair Trade Organic Cocoa Butter. This becomes one of Charity Pot Coin’s skin-softening ingredients.
Lush purchases dark patchouli oil from Gayo Lues Permaculture Centre in Sumatra, Indonesia. It was founded in partnership between Lush and The Orangutan Information Centre as a support hub for patchouli growers to move towards regenerative farming practices, avoiding forest fires and logging for the cash crop
The Leuser Ecosystem is the only place on earth where Rhinos, Tigers, Elephants and Orangutans all live together in harmony. Our Patchouli is sourced from Gayo Permaculture Centre at the edge of the Leuser - a network of 150 farmers who farm outside the primary forest using agroecology, avoiding practices that cause forest fires.
Sent to protect the Orang-utans
“For almost twenty years, I have engaged my life with orangutans and their forest homes. I believe that I was chosen by our mother nature to help orangutans, their forest and local communities who depend on the sustainable nature resources. However, I feel the more I care and create actions, the more I feel concerned about the future of this species. The life of orangutans is getting more difficult and therefore I feel I want to keep fighting and never lose hopes. Otherwise, we will face extinction and I can never imagine if that really happens.”
“In the heart of the Leuser rainforest I feel it is a real home. I feel the forest is a magnificent paradise where I see real peace. I see a real diversity with an abundance of many species living in harmony. I smell a lush vegetation that reminds me of my childhood dream when I really wanted to be in a real playground where there is no limit of what I could play with. It is just a stunning place that I am so jealous with many animals who have such a place to live.”
Can you recall the saddest moment in your working life? Can you share with us?
“When an infant orangutan died in the hands of our rescue team after he was taken by force from his mother. His mother survived after suffering from severe injuries and broken ribs.”
What makes you happy in life? What keeps you going?
“When I see forest trees are still standing and when I see the trees I planted keep growing then I will keep going.”
Panut, Director or Orangutan Information Centre and Lush Indonesia sourcing Hub Coordinator - Sumatra
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