Edit March 9, 2017: we now use a different argan oil supplier. Please check out Badger Rebecca’s visit to our argan oil cooperative in Morocco!
In 2007, a group of Moroccan women organized an all-female, Fair Trade cooperative in order to reduce poverty in their village. These women began to harvest Argan, a plant endemic to Morocco, often referred to as the “Tree of Life.” They use traditional methods for extracting the precious oil from the hard kernels of the Argan tree – removing the pulp, hand-cracking the nuts, and liberating the two or three oil-rich seeds from the center. The seeds are then cold-pressed to release the treasured oil, then the oil is decanted and filtered. The discarded pulp from the Argan fruit is re-purposed as animal feed.
The Fair Trade cooperative has not only created a means of financial stability for Moroccan women, but has also improved family life and increased literacy rates. The income from producing Argan Oil even allows families to send their children to high school and university. Gender roles have expanded in Morocco due to the cooperative – women’s social status has risen significantly since the villages have observed the economic development and other positive changes the Argan cooperative has generated.
One of the cooperative’s supporters is Earthoil, a UK-based organic and Fair Trade oil distributor – in fact, Earthoil is the only supplier of Fair Trade Argan Oil in the world. Their commitment to Fair Trade is robust – Earthoil is completely dedicated to providing organic and ethically-sourced ingredients that benefit the lives of the people who produce them. Because Earthoil is Fair Trade Certified, we know that the Moroccan women who produce the Argan Oil are compensated appropriately as the market value of Argan ebbs and flows, and that all profits are divided fairly among cooperative members. We also know that the women in the cooperative can work as many or as few hours as they choose so they can attend to their other responsibilities, and that child labor is prohibited. Additionally, every member of the cooperative has a vote for all decision-making processes.
Earthoil’s Fair Trade practices allow for small-scale farmers to grow high-quality crops and sell them at a profitable rate. Fair Trade also maintains traceability and transparency for all crops produced. In the case of Argan Oil, we know that this ingredient comes straight from Moroccan Argan trees, to Earthoil’s distribution facility in the UK, to the barrels we keep here in the Badger warehouse. Such a short supply chain is beneficial for growers, distributors, and purchasers, as all involved parties are compensated quickly and fairly without passing the ingredient through several additional brokers.
At Badger, we find that Fair Trade initiatives perfectly align with our own mission and principles. Our vision of a healthier world includes sustainable agricultural practices, ethical ingredient sourcing, and caring for our planet. Like the Moroccan cooperative, we use money to fuel our business rather than treating our work as a means to an end. We respect each other and the people we serve. Our business operations are straightforward and traceable, and we are certain that each individual is a critical part of our team. We purchase from Fair Trade suppliers like Earthoil because we believe in fair labor practices, healthy social development, and treating the earth respectfully. Pure, simple ingredients from socially responsible suppliers are what make Badger products protect, soothe, and heal.