Lush Cosmetics: Regenerative Farming in Guatemala

– The first time I actually
started reading a lot about Guatemala was Mark
Constantine asked me to go read a book called
The Fish That Ate the Whale, and it’s all about the
United Fruit Company and all the bananas that
were grown all over Guatemala and Latin America and Panama
and El Salvador and Honduras and it’s this long history of
foreign businesses coming in, destroying the land,
destroying the people, and then really polluting the environment and ending up in positions where there is really serious
conflict within it’s people. To go there and you realize that Guatemala is this
beautiful, incredible place where so many different ecosystems exist, they have so many different climate zones. It’s this beautiful place and we can grow many of the materials that we require in our supply chain and so Guatemala became
this country where, that we could invest in. We could get some farms and
we could do really good work. Every time I go to Guatemala, I hear about the changes and these are recent history changes of, oh that use to be a forest. Five years ago, that was a
forest and now it’s a field. Now there’s African grass growing on it, Now there’s cattle or there’s
a palm plantation over there. These are recent history and so there’s something
powerful about being able to go in and be like we’re gonna go and do something that’s positive around, take a cattle pasture and turn it back to forest. And we’re gonna do that organically. And we’re gonna take the
hard road there to do that and we believe this to be the right way. And so that’s kind of a longer story of why is Guatemala, and
we’ve had this long history of Guatemala as country being degraded. It answers a supply
chain need around like, it has all sorts of climate zones, and ecosystems that we
could grow materials that can enter our supply chain. So that, that means
that those projects have long term financial
viability because we can be buying from them for a long time. And that’s it’s a place of like, that really does acutely need social and economic regeneration. It’s top of mind lately
because when we look at climate change being the root
cause of a lot of problems and us in the western
world, northern hemisphere being the top contributors
to climate change and then you look at the cost and degradation happens so
much in these countries. All the migration problems, it’s not solely contributed
to climate change but it is. The droughts are longer,
the famines are longer, there’s no economic opportunity and people are migrating like that. So, so much of the ethical
work all stems from this and if we can be a player of something, of business that helps
people stay on their farms, they stay in their homes, we help them become
resilient to climate change. In my opinion, that’s when
we’re getting somewhere. It’s crappy when people
have to leave their homes. The human spirit, and
I’ve had the privilege of traveling all over the world
and I see this consistently, all over the world is that
families just wanna raise their children to be
healthy and to go to school. And people would happily
stay home to do that, if they could afford to. In terms of being a fair and
equitable buyer over time, I think we can get somewhere in creating a transformative supply
chain in Guatemala. I think we can be leaders in showing what an organic farm can do
verses conventional. And that hopefully it
means that the people and the people who work on our farms, cause we see that firsthand
every single time go there, people are very proud to be
working on an organic farm because it means that they are healthier and it means that their
families and communities will be healthier, and we get
that feedback all the time. So that’s something that
makes me really happy and proud of the work we’re doing there. And through these long term relationships, we can show that trade is a way for people to have jobs and
for that economic development to be sustained over time.

About the Author: Earl Hamill

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