moisturising and softening
Cocoa butter is a rich, fatty substance derived from the seed of the cacao tree. Using cocoa butter enables us to create a solid base for self-preserving items like massage bars as the butters melt at body temperature, carry ingredients into the skin and beautifully softens the skin at the same time.
Cocoa butter contains oleic acid, a saturated fatty acid which is highly compatible with our body’s natural sebum, aiding the absorption of other active ingredients into the skin. It also contains stearic acid, which emulsifies water and oil within skin cells, plumping them and giving a softened feel to the skin. As well as being highly softening, the stearic acid and the solid form of cocoa butter means it is also a natural emulsifier in products, meaning it binds oil and water together in lotions, and in solid products to create a tight emulsion that does not leave space for microbes to move around and grow.
The Communidad de Paz de San José de Apartadó in north-west Colombia is one of our three Fair Trade cocoa butter suppliers. This group consists of roughly 2,100 farmers all pledged to non-violence in an area ravaged by the army, leftist guerrilla fighters and right-wing paramilitary groups. The Community have developed ways of growing which incorporate permaculture techniques, such as mixed planting and composting, so they don’t need to buy pesticides and fertilizers. The community also cultivate a variety of crops to eat and to sell including bananas, avocados, corn, rice, beans, plantains, and, of course, cocoa beans.
Lush has been buying cocoa from the Community since 2010. It then ships it to Europe to be processed into cocoa butter and powder. Lush supported the Community’s application to become certified Fair Trade and organic producers and between 2015-16 bought 50,000 kilograms of Fair Trade organic cocoa beans directly from this peaceful community.
At their ecological research centre and Farmer’s University, the Community have developed ways of growing which incorporate permaculture techniques, such as mixed planting and composting, so they don’t need to buy pesticides and fertilizers. They also aim to be energetically autonomous, and are developing new strategies constantly, such as bio gas and solar panels.
Lush is the main buyer of the Community’s cacao, which we ship to Europe to be processed into cocoa butter and powder. We bought our first 25 tonne shipment of cocoa beans in 2010, and then supported the Community’s application to become certified Fair Trade and Organic producers. Jesús Emilio says: “The relationship with Lush arrived at a point when the Community was losing hope in the idea of exporting our products. Lush gave us hope again - and the close relationship between us has been amazing at an emotional level.” Over the last three years, Lush has worked with the Community to improve their ability to dry, store and export the beans. Arley explains: “Lush collects the cacao directly from our storage, and that allows us a lot more security. In the past we were robbed but now that we have strengthened our production process we don’t face such risks as before.”
On March 23, the Community will gather to celebrate their 17th anniversary. “For the Community, the anniversary is a great moment, a very deep and spiritual moment,” explains Jesús Emilio. “It is a special time because people from all the settlements that make up the Community, as well as other friends and allies, come to commemorate the occasion. Together, we remember all the years we have had, and look forward to the challenges that we must face.”
We hope through collaborating with PBI and sharing the experiences of Jesús Emilio and Arley we can help to spread their inspirational message of peace.