In November 2010, the motivation for establishing the SLush Fund was simple: could Lush begin to move beyond simply buying fairly traded ingredients and, instead, develop supportive partnerships with the communities that produce them?
Over five years on, the answer is a resounding yes.
The mechanics of the SLush Fund are straightforward: 2% of the amount Lush spends 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 SLush 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 £2.2million spent to date has helped to support the ongoing development of 44 projects in 21 different countries, six of which produce materials that find their way into the reformulated Charity Pot: ylang-ylang oil, moringa oil, geranium oil, fresh aloe, shea butter and Fair Trade organic cocoa butter.
The SLush Fund and permaculture
The three main principles of Permaculture are at the heart of every SLush initiative: care of the earth, care of people and fair share. Here, we take a look at just three of the initiatives that have helped to produce the ingredients that make Charity Pot so special.
Inspired by an overgrown aloe plant, Lush co-founder Helen decided that she wanted to get her hands on some fresh leaves. So SLush Fund coordinator Cadi teamed up with Maasai Permaculturist, Joseph Lentunyoi to work with the women 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 whilst 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 45 years. In partnership with Laikipia Permaculture Centre the SLush team are working with the women to green the desert land, introducing nutritious plants, alongside aloe, to improve both the land and the women’s diets. Lush buys the fresh aloe leaves for the newly formulated Charity Pot. The leaves arrive in their full form and are freshly cut at the factory to extract the gel. Recent funds from SLush have gone to invest in fencing to protect the aloe from being tramped on by wild elephants and camels.