Worlds away from the lush, beautiful & sub-Saharan Africa level poverty of the South Pacific, The Body Shop recently celebrated 21 years of Community Trade at a star-studded event in New York.
With Minnie Driver in attendance, they marked the occasion by announcing that Women in Business Development Inc of the Polynesian islands of Samoa in the South Pacific will now supply The Body Shop with high-grade, cold-pressed organic virgin coconut oil. The oil will feature in The Body Shop Coconut Bath & Body Range, a longtime customer favorite since the early days of company founded by ethical entrepreneur Dame Anita Roddick.
"This group truly meets our definition of a marginalized community. Working with The Body Shop has the potential of really putting this beautiful, remote island nation on the map. We are thrilled be embarking on this new partnership" explains Graham Clewer, Head of Community Trade for The Body Shop International about Women in Business Development Inc, founded in 1991 to create trading opportunities for Samoan families. It now supports a range of activities across 90 villages across Samoa, including organic farming, beekeeping, fine mat production and handicrafts and traditional virgin coconut oil production, a practice dating back to the early 1800s. "Through Community Trade, The Body Shop is providing over 200 people with access to a stable market. Our trade provides an alternative to families who are left with no choice but to rely on money sent from family members working abroad. By making their own living through coconut, the goal is for the women and their families to be able to build a future in their own communities rather than look abroad."
Through Community Trade, The Body Shop spends around US $11.5 million annually buying ingredients, gifts and accessories from marginalized communities across the world, paying a fair price and giving producers access to a global market that would normally be out of their reach. Currently, 60% of The Body Shop products contain at least one Community Trade ingredient; by 2010, they intend to increase this figure to 75% through a combination of new suppliers and ingredients.
- Lesley Scott
(photo: coconut girl wireless)
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