The humble Brazil nut. Enjoyed either plain or covered in chocolate. Except it’s a rather extraordinary nut, not just because it comes from the depths of the Amazonian rainforest, but because it takes an epic journey, which The Body Shop is keen to raise awareness of with its relationship with Community Fair Trade and the new Brazil nut collection.
Last week I met Gaston Vizcarra, the founder of Candela and Community Fair Trade Supplier of Brazil nut oil at the unveiling of this new range. He struck me as the Santana of Brazil nuts (a compliment – honest). There is something immediately heart-warming about Gaston in the first few minutes of meeting him. Maybe it was the pocketful of Peru he had brought with him (his home) and as the evening unwound, so did his adventurous stories. Accidentally stumbling into a tiger’s den whilst looking for Brazil nuts definitely makes my life pale into insignificance. (FYI – Tigger was not home.)
Gaston has been supplying Brazil nut oil since 1989 through the Community Fair Trade programme to businesses like the Body Shop who use it to make those much-loved toiletries and cosmetics we love to use.
This ‘trade not aid’ relationship has helped immensely to sustain, harvest and protect over 3,000 hectares of the Peruvian rainforest by providing a livelihood for the nut collectors and nut crackers part of the Candela co-operative. Did I say Peruvian? I did. That’s because Brazil nuts are grown in Peru, as well as Bolivia, Venezuela and Brazil (of course).
Gaston works with more than 270 nut gatherers who hand harvest Brazil nuts from the Madre de Dios region, providing a safe alternative to logging and illegal gold-mining which results in deforestation and pollution. And because the Brazil nut is so invaluable as a source of income to both parties, the environment is also protected to ensure this cycle continues for future generations.
This 5 minute video by The Body Shop sums up the story of the Brazil nut perfectly:
Last year, The Body Shop International bought over 20,000kg of Brazil nut oil from Candela. This oil came from approximately 280,500m2 of forest, from nearly 3,000 trees. It’s pretty remarkable to know Gaston’s hopes and dreams came from a small bottle of Brazil nut oil that he brought to the UK all those years ago.
Understanding how this chain of events leads to the pretty lotions and potions we pick off the shelves was an eye opener. I think we are familiar with how passionate the Body Shop is about creating products derived from natural resources but the realisation of the long and arduous process involved gives much food for thought and indeed value and appreciation. Now I can’t look at a Body Shop Body Butter without pausing to think about how it got there in the first place.
You may recall the Body Shop brought out a Brazil nut Body Butter a while ago. Well it has returned by popular demand and this time, it’s brought some new friends to join the party:
Body Butter (£13)
Beautifying Oil (£9)
Body Mist (£7.50)
Shower Cream (£4.50)
Eau de Toilette (£8.50)
Cream Scrub (£12.50)
The first thing that is striking is the subtle sweet scent – it’s like chocolate or toffee with vanilla but aromatically sensual without being sickly sweet. I admit I wasn’t a fan of the Body Shop’s chocolate range (it was a little on the nauseous side) but the Brazil nut has won me over, especially the Body Mist and Eau de Toilette.
Another favourite is the awesome scrub with the shells crushed into smithereens for exfoliating. I am not impressed with scrubs that are too soft to work. Give me something that will do its job, and this offering certainly does.
The creamy Body Butter speaks for itself, considering it’s always such a popular and sought-after product of the Body Shop. In total the entire collection will set you back £55, which is (pea)nuts, so you could indulge in it entirely without feeling guilty (that’s how I justify multiple goods purchases) and hey, it is a worthy cause.
I can remember when Anita Roddick founded the Body Shop, and how strong her ethics were so I am pleased to see her legacy lives on with The Body Shop striving for the same beliefs:
AGAINST animal testing
SUPPORT community fair trade
ACTIVATE self esteem
DEFEND human rights
PROTECT the planet
The new collection drops on 23rd April. You can also visit the Body Shop’s website on Community Fair Trade here.