FEATURED

Introducing the SLush Fund

In November 2010, the motivation for establishing the SLush Fund was simple: could Lush begin to move beyond simply buying fairly traded ingredients and, instead, develop supportive partnerships with the communities that produce them?

Over five years on, the answer is a resounding yes.

The mechanics of the SLush Fund are straightforward: alongside the amount Lush spends on raw materials and packaging each year, up to £1m is donated to the fund.​ This money is then used to start sustainable farming and community projects from scratch, some of which produce and process beautiful ingredients for our products.

The SLush Fund is based on the main principles of the Permaculture movement, which is a natural design system based on enriching local ecosystems and offering sustainable alternatives to conventional agriculture. The £2.2million spent to date has helped to support the ongoing development of 44 projects in 21 different countries, six of which produce materials that find their way into the reformulated Charity Pot: ylang-ylang oil, moringa oil, geranium oil, fresh aloe, shea butter and Fair Trade organic cocoa butter.

Charity Pot

Although it’s a totally separate and distinct initiative, Charity Pot represents an additional opportunity to show our support for causes that we believe in. Every penny that Lush customers spend on Charity Pot, minus the VAT, is donated to carefully selected grassroots causes for people, animals and the environment; £4.3million was raised globally from July 2014 to June 2015 alone.

Now, everyone who buys Charity Pot automatically supports some of these SLush Fund initiatives - and continues to raise funds for frontline campaigns into the bargain.

The SLush Fund and permaculture

The three main principles of Permaculture are at the heart of every SLush initiative: care of the earth, care of people and fair share. Here, we take a look at just three of the initiatives that have helped to produce the ingredients that make Charity Pot so special.

Inspired by an overgrown aloe plant, Lush co-founder Helen decided that she wanted to get her hands on some fresh leaves. So SLush Fund coordinator Cadi teamed up with Maasai Permaculturist, Joseph Lentunyoi to work with the women aloe growers in the arid region of Laikipia, Kenya.

The Maasai people of Kenya are pastoralist. Cattle rearing is traditionally done by men, who move from one place to another in order to find suitable pastures whilst the women and children remain at home. When vegetables aren’t available during drought, the traditional meal consists of sour milk and blood from cattle. Life expectancy for the women averages 45 years. In partnership with Laikipia Permaculture Centre the SLush team are working with the women to green the desert land, introducing nutritious plants, alongside aloe, to improve both the land and the women’s diets. Lush buys the fresh aloe leaves for the newly formulated Charity Pot. The leaves arrive in their full form and are freshly cut at the factory to extract the gel. Recent funds from SLush have gone to invest in fencing to protect the aloe from being tramped on by wild elephants and camels.

Lush Campaigns Presents: New Charity Pot

SLush Fund projects

When the Buying Team found themselves deep in six thousand hectares of Peruvian Rainforest, the situation seemed fairly bleak. The forest, managed by local Permaculture expert, Limber Cabrera, was in a poor state – partially cleared, degraded soil, little wildlife. The best way to secure the piece of land was to buy the rights to the concession, kick the loggers off and regenerate the forest ecology.

But how to sustain this project and move it from its charitable phase to the point where it can sustain itself? The answer will hopefully be found in rosewood trees, an endangered species thanks to mass deforestation. Almost from nothing, Limber has created a sustainable, traceable rosewood supply chain. Venture to this part of the rainforest today and you’ll find a distillation unit, using only naturally fallen or pollarded trees. Hopefully soon, this rosewood oil will be available for use in our products.

At the Ghana Permaculture Institute mushroom farming and many other community based projects go hand in glove with moringa oil, another Charity Pot staple. In this project SLush met a kindred spirit: Paul Yeboah, the director of Ghana Permaculture Network is a devoted Permaculture expert, with an ability to breathe the life back into degenerated land to grow badly needed crops. The 24 acres of land chosen outside of Techiman, Ghana was characterised by a chronic lack of fertility. Within this now species-rich food forest and training site, grows moringa aka ‘The Miracle Plant’. Pressed to produce a light and antioxidant-rich oil, moringa goes into Charity Pot, too.

But what about those mushrooms? Sometime into the project Paul was driving past a sawmill when he had a brainwave about sawdust. He took it away and worked out how to inoculate and grow mushrooms, turning waste into a resource. The mushrooms are now generating an impressive revenue stream and food source.

Although you’ll find ingredients that come from SLush Fund projects in many Lush products, only Charity Pot brings six of them together in one lovely lotion. Using ingredients from SLush Fund projects in Charity Pot is an important step, because Lush doesn’t make a penny from sales - even to cover the cost of the ingredients. Buy a pot and you can be sure that the money you spend will be donated to projects and causes that really can help to change the world.

“To source raw materials back from the SLush Fund is a really big deal,” says Lush’s Head Perfumer and Creative Buyer, Simon Constantine. “When you buy Charity Pot you get truly traceable, beautiful ingredients and a bit of each of these projects,” says Simon. “Just buy it and enjoy it.” 

The £2.2million spent to date has helped to support the ongoing development of 44 projects in 21 different countries

Comments (4)
4 Comments

emwillhoft_6394483

about 1 year ago

Lush is an amazing company and that is the reason i have been buying here for years. well done lush!!!

l.tibormolnar_5364791

about 2 years ago

Great!

olaanderson8

about 3 years ago

This is amazing, such a clever idea! <3

citywalkmanager

about 4 years ago

I didn't think Charity Pot could get more beautiful...amazing!
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