Organic castor oil now also certified 'Fair for Life'
Organic castor oil cultivation partnership in India
The organic castor oil used in Dr. Hauschka products has now also been certified as ‘Fair for Life’, a seal used to denote products from socially responsible, environmentally friendly and fair trade sources.
WALA, the producers of Dr. Hauschka skin care and make-up, have procured organic castor oil from the Castor Products Company since as far back as 2008. In its factory in the northern Indian region of Kutch, this company processes the castor beans grown by local farmers. The high-grade, cold-pressed oil was not available in organic quality on the European market for a long time. With the help of its Indian partner, WALA was able to close this gap in the market.
This collaboration has been taken to a new level with the ‘Fair for Life’ certification, which takes into account respect for human rights in a fair working environment, respect for ecosystem, promotion of biodiversity and sustainable agricultural practices. This is because, in addition to its ecological outlook, WALA/Dr. Hauschka embraces social responsibility. As well as helping to ensure a sustainable livelihood for its cultivation partners, it aims to contribute to improving infrastructures for education, water supply and healthcare.
Castor oil from ‘Fair for Life’ production in India is 10% more expensive than certified organic castor oil. This difference is paid to a separate account to be used specifically to finance projects in the farmers’ villages. In this case, the money is being channelled into a school in the village of Makhel where, in addition to the primary school, a classroom for upper secondary level students has been set up. This means that local girls, for whom the nearest school of this kind was previously 35 kilometres away, will now also have the opportunity to continue their education.
Other projects financed by the ‘Fair for Life’ fund include, for example, a drinking water tank and a computer for a small village school, and the construction of ponds to improve the water supply in the dry region. This year (2019), the harvest was very poor owing to the lack of rain. Because of this, many farmers have little or no income, which is why WALA paid 15% more this year rather than the usual 10%.
Nanalal Satra, the managing director of Indian partner Castor Products Company, is very much on the same wavelength as WALA, having spent many years working to improve living conditions for the rural population. As he explains: “Our company helped farmers to organise themselves in groups. We assisted them in planning their crops in line with market conditions and raised awareness of organic farming systems among small farmers.” This paved the way for the organic certification of the cultivation areas. The company also guarantees the suppliers fair prices for their castor beans at all times. Over time, the number of farmers supplying certified organic castor beans to the Castor Products Company for processing increased steadily.
Certified organic processing
At the Castor Products Company, the castor beans are cold-pressed in a hydraulic press without added heat. This helps to preserve the natural ingredients, ensuring that the oil is of the highest quality and purity. Nanalal Satra has been processing and marketing castor oil for more than 28 years. In order to work together with WALA, he originally obtained organic certification and is now also certified as ‘Fair for Life’. The organic growers that supply him have profited from the transition to organic cultivation. Satra pays them roughly 20 percent more for their castor beans than they would receive for conventional castor beans, as well as covering the cost of transporting them to the oil mill. Nanalal Satra has used the increased revenues from the sales of organic castor oil to set up recreation rooms for his workers, to assist farmers in switching over to organic cultivation and obtaining certification, and to enable them to cook using biogas.
Today the agricultural land of some 830 families has been organically certified, with 145 also bearing the ‘Fair for Life’ label. At the time of writing, roughly 20 percent of area under cultivation is certified as ‘Fair for Life’. WALA’s aim is for all small farmers to eventually bear this label.
At present, the farmers produce some 800 tonnes of castor beans on 2,268 hectares of land.
The oil obtained from the seeds of the castor oil plant enhances the moisture content of the skin and smoothes, nourishes lashes and brows, and gives Make-up products a soft, supple texture and provides nourishing care.
You will find organic and 'Fair for Life' castor oil in Eye Make-up Remover, Eye Balm, Lip Balm, Lip Care Stick, Coverstick 01 - 03, Revitalising Leg & Arm Tonic, Rose Deodorant, Lemon Lemongrass Vitalising Bath Essence, Sage Purifying Bath Essence, Spruce Warming Bath Essence, Lipstick 01 - 19, Sheer Lipstick 01 - 06, Lip Gloss 00 - 06, Defining Mascara 01 - 03, Volume Mascara 01 - 03, Liquid Eyeliner 01 and 02, High Spirits limited edition makeup Liquid Lip Colour 03 coral and 04 pink and High Spirits Eye Crayon Duo 01 and 02.
Interview with Ralf Kunert, managing director of Naturamus GmbH, independent WALA subsidiary.
Creating a better world • Sustainable partnerships all around the world
In creating the formulations for Dr. Hauschka skin care and make-up products, we draw on the many things that nature has to offer. For example, medicinal plants, botanical oils and waxes and genuine essential oils – naturally of organic or biodynamic quality wherever possible. Many of the medicinal plants used grow in our own biodynamic medicinal herb garden or in the fields on our Demeter farm over the road from Head Office, the Sonnenhof. We also purchase other raw materials from regional sources. Our climate is simply not suitable for growing some of the plant species from which we obtain raw materials.
Fragrant roses for essential rose oil, almond trees and jojoba bushes, for example. We want to purchase these in organic quality for our formulations as well. To do this, we sometimes have to instigate the production of organic raw materials in the first place. Essential rose oil, mango butter, castor oil and shea butter are just a few of the raw materials to which this applies. We support farmers financially and with our knowledge of organic farming. We help them obtain organic certifications and guarantee certain purchase volumes.
It goes without saying that we are committed to fair trade conditions and social responsibility, characterised by mutual trust and independent development opportunities. We therefore have a solid and long-term working relationship with many organic farming partners, including ones who grow almonds and olives in Spain, jojoba in Argentina and macadamia nuts in Kenya. We help our partners increase their production capacities and, where desired, finance regular visits to them by biodynamic consultants.
The aim of such involvement is always to enable the partners to develop commercially and achieve economic stability that makes them independent from us.
We also believe that such partnerships should involve good local working conditions. We have encouraged developments such as the creation of social areas for the workers of an oil mill and supported the construction of suitable sanitary facilities, for example. After all, it is not only financial independence that is important to us, but also better social conditions for people locally.