The Ethical Choice – Why We Buy Fair Trade Ingredients

The practice of buying Fair Trade sourced ingredients is at the heart of Ayr Skin Care’s commitment to doing good for the greater world community. Fair trade in skin care products and other products is much talked about, but few understand that it is more than a trade initiative. It supports human rights all over the world. The right to make a good living. The right to have clean water and medical care. The right to practice their own unique culture and traditions. This is why we source verified Fair Trade ingredients for our skin care line. 

What is Fair Trade?  

Fair Trade practices level the playing field to allow the poorest producers of a product to earn a living to support their families. It sets fair working conditions such as fair pay for labor and eliminates the barbaric practices of forced labor, corporal punishment, and unsafe conditions. It places a high value on environmental sustainability 

Simply put, the designation for the regulations of Fair Trade assures you that the necklace you buy did not use child labor to gather the stones or your morning coffee beans were not picked by workers who were beaten with a stick. Fair Trade is a cause initiative that bucks the traditional profit systems for cheap goods obtained from conventional traders.

The  World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO) ensures adherence to rules in order to earn designation or certification. These are: 

  1. They must create opportunities for economically disadvantaged producers. 
  2. They must be transparent and accountable in their dealings. 
  3. They must adhere to Fair Trading Practices. 
  4. They must give payment to the workers at a fair price. 
  5. They must ensure that they do not use child labor or forced labor. 
  6. They must have a commitment to nondiscrimination, gender equality and freedom of association. 
  7. They must ensure safe working conditions. 
  8. They must provide capacity building. 
  9. They must promote Fair Trade. 
  10. They must respect the environment. 

Fair Trade Lives in Our Ethical Supply Chain

Some of the most amazing  fair trade skin care products and their ingredients are found in many of the poorest areas of the world. As an ethical brand devoted to bettering our world, we have adopted cruelty free practices and make purchases from Fair Trade organizations to develop our skin care line. Here is a peek at how it all works. 

Marula Oil, The “Miracle Oil” of Africa 

We proudly source our Marula oil from South Africa through a South African Government Fair Trade Cooperative. These eco-friendly enterprises uplift women in rural communities to help them provide a reliable, sustainable income for families and maintain their culture in the tribal lands. 

The women in these rural village collectives carefully gather the fallen Marula fruit by hand as they have done for hundreds of years. This master craft and artisan approach ensures that every Marula nut is sorted, sun-dried and cracked to prepare the kernels for extraction of its luxurious oil. The process of cracking is a delicate, time-consuming task best done by hand. With great precision honed over many years, highly skilled women use a rock and a stone to smash the hard nut in two and reveal the delicate soft kernel seeds inside. Never processed with antioxidant killing heat or chemicals, this process ensures the highest quality cold-pressed oil so prized for hundreds of years. It’s why we only purchase Fair Trade, cold-pressed Marula oil.

Shea Butter – A Favorite of Cleopatra 

For centuries, shea butter has provided employment and income, as well as well-known moisturizing abilities, for millions of women across the continent. Shea butter comes from the nuts of the karité tree found in the Sahel region extending from West to East Africa. 

Using traditional methods perfected over hundreds of years, women, often organized in cooperatives, harvest karité fruits. Crushing the nuts exposes the precious butter, which is boiled, cleaned, packaged and sold at local markets or exported around the world. The fair trade shea butter that we purchase for our fair trade skin care products supports a local woman’s cooperative. This local cooperative keeps an entire village financially and culturally stable. We’re especially inspired by the stories we hear of the workers and their excellent working conditions. They are very happy!

Cocoa Butter for Melt On Your Skin Moisture 

Fair trade practices are world-wide and we are happy to import fair trade organic cocoa butter from the Dominican Republic. Our source is one of many family-owned organic cacao suppliers working with Conacado, a union made up of 182 small-scale producer associations. Members number over 10,000 farmers. These Fair Trade initiatives also help provide loans, scholarships and opportunities to help women escape poverty. 

The union also provides education and teaches practical skills that benefit the entire community. Life-saving access to clean water has increased, as well as access to clinics and medical checkups. The cooperatives all work together to significantly improve health on the island. 

What Can You Do to Help? 

Here in the U.S., we are rather insulated from the realities of the working and living conditions in poorer, less developed countries. But, because our economies are global in scale there is an easy way to help others through our purchasing power. 

At Ayr Skin Care, we find that buying fair trade ingredients for our skin care products allows us to “put our money where our mouth is” to help others maintain their culture and sustainable practices, all while enjoying economic freedom. It’s a cause with us—one we are happy to share with all of you. 

Fair trade purchases are often more expensive, but these purchases are a catalyst out of poverty for millions of women. These cooperatives and unions have become resources that uplift and teach success strategies, entrepreneurship, and finance. They can, as found in the shea butter co-op, provide long term financial stability through bonus sharing and retirement plans. And, they can provide access to medical services, clean water, more nutritious food, and children’s education—life-altering elements we take for granted every day. 

One final thought: There is a word called “Ahimsa”, which is an ancient Sanskrit word meaning “nonviolence” or “do no harm.” It suggests that we cannot go a single day without affecting the people and the world around us, and that to ignore suffering, or to commit violence to another person or the planet will have a deep effect on us all. You might think that the working conditions across the world have nothing to do with you, but by being mindful when we can, and taking care of our ecosystem, the world, and the people in it, we can do good. 

So remember, when you shop fair trade, you are casting a vote for a world that is more loving, concerned with how others are treated, and protecting children and other “at-risk” workers. Together we all make a difference!

If you have any questions or comments, we would be happy to answer you personally! Please contact us at info@ayrskincare.com.