Look good—and feel even better about it. That’s the beauty of incorporating sustainable ingredients from around the world into innovative products with fair-trade policies. Unique beauty secrets exist everywhere, and The Body Shop has been dedicated to bringing them to consumers since its inception—and the whole time, helping the communities responsible for these secrets prosper. Mark Davis is the Community Fair Trade Director for The Body Shop. He travels around the world to source high-quality sustainable ingredients and then leads the company’s fair-trade program. Davis has dedicated the last ten years to introducing sustainable, fair-trade policies in beauty.
Can you break it down for us. What does fair trade mean?
For us, fair trade is as simple as getting the best quality ingredients from indigenous communities and the ingredients that in themselves drive performance—and then compensating the people producing them fairly.
Why is this of utmost importance to The Body Shop?
The founder of The Body Shop, Anita Roddick, was an avid world traveler and quickly recognized that people around the world had amazing beauty secrets. She wanted to bring them to consumers, but in a responsible way in which the originators were compensated and in turn communities were strengthened around the globe. Many of the fair-trade initiatives have employed women in areas where opportunity did not exist for them before. The global perspective drives the brand and the innovation behind the products.
In your opinion, what is the star sustainable product from The Body Shop cosmetics line?
I think the Honey Bronze products have a powerful fair-trade and sustainable story behind them. The line includes shimmering dry oil for the body, brilliance and bronzing powder for the face and lip nectar. The Community Fair Trade honey used in the products is sourced from Bezamar, an Ethiopian company harvesting raw honey using traditional beekeeping methods. I like to think of them as “bee whisperers.” The Community Fair Trade beeswax is harvested in Cameroon from hives made of local, sustainable materials. Using these products should make the consumer feel good on the inside and the outside.
What is an up-and-coming trendy sustainable ingredient in cosmetics to look out for?
I would say marula oil. Marula oil comes from the ripened fruit of the marula tree in Namibia. Kernels within the fruit are cold-pressed by hand to obtain the precious oil. It is a laborious process, but the oil itself is so innovative and has a powerful soothing, healing effect on the skin. In terms of fair trade, their operation is owned and managed entirely by women. About 5,000 women employed here have prospered, making enough money to send their children to school. It is in all Body Shop cosmetics except the oil-free ones. I think this exemplifies The Body Shop’s main message: “Beauty with heart.”
Photo: Courtesy of The Body Shop