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At Aveda, The Art and Science of Pure Flower and Plant Essences, we believe that Nature is the best beauty artist of all. This is why we continually strive to increase our use of naturally derived ingredients whenever possible.
Naturally Derived: We define naturally derived ingredients to be those for which more than 50% of the molecule comes from a plant, non-petroleum mineral, water, or some other natural source.
Our commitment to deliver high performance, botanically-based products that are kinder to the planet – which is good for all of us -- goes much deeper than our use of naturally derived ingredients.
We connect our Mission with product development by using what we define to be green ingredients whenever possible.
At Aveda, our goal is to ensure our products will benefit our guests through exceptional performance, while we deliver our continued promise of environmental and social responsibility.
Aveda's products are formulated without parabens, phthalates and sodium lauryl sulfate.
We work hard to ensure that ecological and cultural diversity is represented by responsibly sourcing key ingredients from different habitats all over the world.
Through fair compensation, we positively impact the people and economies from which some of our products' ingredients are sourced.
Aveda firmly believes that we will succeed in our goal by striving to use what we call green ingredients in our products whenever possible. Our definition of a green ingredient requires that it meet at least one of the following criteria:
• Naturally derived, which we define to be those for which more than 50% of the molecule comes from a plant, non-petroleum mineral, water, or some other natural source.
• Certified organic.
• Sourced from sustainable or renewable plant-based origins, and does not negatively impact the ecosystems from which they are sourced.
To Aveda, continued progress and improvement in the number of green ingredients we use in our products is an essential part of ensuring we honor our Mission commitment to care for the world we live in.
Aveda's use of green Ingredients in practice:
• Since 2000, Aveda has substantially increased our purchases of organic raw herbal ingredients and organic essential oils from 20%-25% of total tonnage to more than 90% for both while also increasing our total tonnage significantly. The exact percentage varies slightly from year to year due to product mix and availability of certified ingredients.
• Aveda has established Soil to Bottle™ traceability for certain key ingredients, which allows Aveda to progressively document and expand the source of these ingredients while promoting quality through its supply chain.
• Aveda's development of its exclusive Babassu Betaine technology is part of its efforts to develop and use sustainable plant-based alternatives to replace the use of petrochemicals whenever possible.
• All of Aveda's essential oils are processed in an environmentally responsible manner through steam distillation
Journey with us—to trace Aveda's ingredients back to the farm or harvesting co-op. We call it Soil to Bottle℠, and we do it to ensure fair compensation throughout the process.
Aveda develops close working partnerships with certain communities and/or suppliers and seeks to use them as our primary source for specific ingredients. We frequently reference these relationships in our promotional materials. However, sometimes due to conditions beyond our control (e.g., drought, pests, and capacity limitations) these communities and/or suppliers are unable to meet our needs for an ingredient, including being unable to supply some or all of it. When such situations occur, Aveda uses additional suppliers to provide high-quality alternative sources until we are able to resume sourcing from the primary supplier.
Ayurveda is an ancient holistic system of healing that strives to create balance in body, mind and spirit. Ayurveda means “the science of life” and it has been central to Aveda since the very beginning, when we first partnered with the Ayurvedic Doctors Vinod and Kusum Upadhyay*. They have helped us to tap 5,000 years of Ayurvedic wisdom in creating our products, including some with powerful, high-performing Ayurvedic herbal extracts.
In keeping with Ayurvedic principles—and because of our concern for the Earth—Aveda is committed to using organic ingredients. This has led to another Ayurvedic partnership, between Aveda and the Indian firm, Nisarga.
Nisarga—which means “nature” in Sanskrit—grows Ayurvedic herbs using organic and biodynamic agriculture. The firm owns farmland and also partners with locally owned organic farms to produce the Ayurvedic herbs ordered by Nisarga's customers. We've partnered with Nisarga to source organic turmeric and amla for use in some of our products.
Turmeric grows at Nisarga's organic Umbari farm, which creates jobs for nearby villagers planting the fields, harvesting the rhizomes, then steaming, drying and polishing them for shipment.
Amla is grown at the independent Devarashtre farm, one of many that works with Nisarga—which helped to certify the land as organic, paying the costs that make certification a barrier for many small farms. Villagers harvest the amla by hand, removing the seeds and drying the fruit before shipment for processing.
At the processing plant, Nisarga employs an environmentally friendly extraction method using carbon dioxide, which leaves no toxic residues and works at a lower temperature—yielding highly potent extracts.
Because of the company's concern about the dangers of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, Nisarga works to encourage farmers to convert to organic agriculture. They have held regular seminars for about 35,000 farmers over the years, convincing many to go organic. Nisarga pays the organic certification costs for their farmer partners and also provides ongoing educational support to help make conversion successful.
Our support of Nisarga is helping them to expand organic farming, which is better for the Earth, the farmers—all of us.
*They practice Ayurvedic medicine and conduct Ayurvedic research at Maharshi Bhardwaj Clinic and Research Centre in Haridwar, India.
Women have been gathering the nuts of the babassu tree in Maranhão (Mah-rah-NAH-oh), Brazil, for generations. Mothers teach their teenage daughters how to break each side of the hard babassu nut and remove the seeds to sell, because it’s a time-honored way for women in remote rural areas to earn income for their families.
But in the 1970s, cattle ranchers and loggers invaded, chopping down the forests and charging the women a fee to collect nuts.
According to one of the nut-breakers, “We were facing a lot of injustice. But whoever was doing the bad things was protected by law enforcement. We had more than seven colleagues who were jailed unjustly. They were prosecuted and we fought, fighting for justice—and we managed to get them free.”
The women and their community successfully pushed for the “Free Babassu Law,” which now protects the babassu palm trees—and local communities’ right to harvest the nuts from wild babassu trees growing on privately owned land.
But they didn’t stop there. The nut-breakers joined with other farm workers to form a co-op called COPPALJ that gives them more power—ensuring that they get a fair price for their work.
Raimundo Neto, CEO and cofounder of COPPALJ, said, “We have 158 families that are direct members of COPPALJ, and indirectly we estimate that we serve around a thousand and some families, one thousand five hundred families on average.”
The co-op buys the babassu seeds that the women collect and presses them to get raw oil, which they sell to our mission-aligned partner in Brazil for refining.
The nut-breakers’ co-op is also a member of a local nonprofit called ASSEMA, which provides community development projects and technical assistance and education, and advocates for the rights of the local people and the protection of the babassu trees.
Aveda has been part of the nut-breakers’ lives since 1996, when we discovered the power of babassu oil. We support the nut-breakers in two ways.
We buy a significant amount of the certified organic oil that comes from the seeds they collect, helping to provide them with income—and we help fund ASSEMA programs that help the nut-breakers and their families, including education about organic and sustainable farming practices that increase food security while protecting the surrounding ecosystem.
Helping to change lives is important to us at Aveda. So is clean water. So we found a way to combine both in support of the nut-breaking families. In 2011 and 2014, some of the money raised during Earth Month went to help the people in the nut-breaking communities gain access to clean drinking water.
Families in one community used to have to walk six kilometers to get clean water—or use a horse to carry water for the whole village. The horse would sometimes stumble and spill the water on the way back to the village—and the whole trip would be wasted!
Our 2011 grant funded the construction of three rainwater-harvesting systems, each able to store 30,000 liters of water. Three composting toilets were also built to improve sanitation.
Our 2014 grant is helping another community in a similar way, improving access to clean water and safer sanitation.
One woman in Maranhão told us that the new water system in her community is “the best thing that ever happened in my life, to me and my children. Not only for me, but for the community. I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart!”
But we would like to thank the nut-breakers—for all of the hard work they do to bring us—and you—the power of babassu.
Certified organic babassu oil from Brazil is used in many Aveda hair, body and skin products.
Sandalwood (Santalum spicatum) oil is a key ingredient found in many of Aveda’s own aroma blends, providing a rich, woody depth with polished smooth notes that create an air of complexity and mystery in many of our beloved skin, body and hair care products.
Growing wild in the expansive and mostly arid landscape of Western Australia, the sandalwood trees from which we source our oil are harvested by local, indigenous communities.
For many years, Aveda has partnered with these communities to source high-quality essential oils and to assist in connecting them with the global business community. In keeping with Aveda’s mission to care for the world, we work with a local distiller from Western Australia, ensuring that the premium we pay for the oil directly benefits the indigenous sandalwood collectors.
with oil from the tree of life.
Deep within Brazil, the people of Piaui say “where there is buriti, there is water” because the tree grows along rivers. The oil from the fruit is so moisturizing that it drew us into a new partnership, a Brazilian company that shares our mission to care for the world we live in. Dedicated to improving lives in communities where they find ingredients, Beraca purchases buriti oil from local cooperatives, providing income to many families—so they can keep their way of life.
Explore Aveda's partnership with Enio Bonchev, a Bulgarian Rose and Lavender oil distillery, which ensures the Romi People's fair treatment and compensation.
Nestled in a valley at the foot of Bulgaria's Balkan Mountains, near the small village of Tarnichene, are fields of native lavender and rose and a distillery on which local villagers and many nomadic Romi people depend for their livelihood. The family-run Enio Bonchev distillery—which employs people to pick the blossoms and operate the distillery—is the main source of economy for the village, and the owners also provide food, clothing, and access to medical care to their workers. Aveda helps supports this local economy by purchasing lavender and rose oil from Enio Bonchev. Aveda has also donated funding to help increase the workers' quality of life.
The distillery—founded in 1907—was shut down for almost 50 years under the communist regime, leaving the area impoverished and local workers and traveling Romi people without jobs. It re-opened in 1992 by Dimitre and Filip Lissicharov, descendants of the founder, Enio Bonchev. The distillery employs approximately 25 villagers to work full-time through the year. Approximately 50 additional workers are employed to maintain the fields, performing tasks such as weeding and planting, during the non-winter months. And, during the harvesting season an additional 40 people are hired to operate the distillery, and 250 people—including the Romis—to work in the fields. Some Romis live in a nearby city, but transportation is scarce so the distillery provides a bus service three times a day to and from the fields. Romis who come down from their mountain villages in donkey-carts bring their entire families, and the children play with toys (provided by the distillery) while the adults work.
Picking lavender and rose is an incredibly labor-intensive process: field workers spend all day in the hot summer sun cutting the stems by hand and loading the blooms into carts. Many distilleries cut costs—and jobs—by using machinery for this process, but the Enio Bonchev owners prefer to keep jobs in the community, and in doing so they produce a purer oil since hand cutting means fewer stems go into the batches. When picking season is over, the workers cull and replant the fields and compost leftover plant material back into the soil. “This is our land,” says co-owner Filip Lissicharov. “We feed it and nurture it because it feeds and nurtures us. It is our freedom, our home, our health—everything we need in this life.”
At Enio Bonchev, the harvesters are appreciated for their hard work. Other distilleries pay either at the end of the season or when the raw material sells, leaving the workers without income for many months. The Enio Bonchev distillery pays daily, which to the workers means they can feed their children every day. In the end they are able to make enough money to help support their families through the winter months. The distillery also provides animal feed at the end of the season so the workers' horses and donkeys don't starve during the winter.
Aveda supports the distillery by purchasing large quantities of the exceptional oil, which has been grown organically and certified to USDA standards since 2002. This on-going purchase provides economic security for the distillery, allowing the owners to provide additional benefits. They offer dental care to all full-time employees, and for the field workers they hire a doctor to be on hand in case someone becomes overheated or sick, provide free breakfast and lunch for the workers and children that come with them, and supply the pickers with lightweight cotton t-shirts and hats to help protect them from the sun. A 2008 grant from Aveda helped construct restroom and shower facilities.
The Enio Bonchev distillery presents a clear example of how a business model built on fair treatment and compassion for employees and the local community can be a success. It's a system that benefits everyone involved. Season after season, word spreads about the Enio Bonchev distillery and the respect for the workers, the fields once again fill with people and the cycle continues.
Spanish cistus extract is essential to aveda—like the people who harvest this certified organic plant. our relationships with local andalucian village inhabitants have helped create an earth-friendly cistus practice.
Cistus ladaniferus, jara in Spanish, is a plant of survival, renewal and rebirth. For centuries it has been the foundation of Andalucía's landscape, and the unlikely resource upon which local wildlife, farming and vegetation live in balance. Cistus plants are considered by some to be a “wild weed,” and “rockrose.” Untamed, they grow wildly from rocky, dry ground on sunny plains dotted with oak trees, or encinas.. In fact, cistus thrives in the most rocky, arid soil, growing more fiercely and wildly in Andalucía than any other part of the world. Arid conditions encourage the cistus plant to produce more resin—a key ingredient Aveda uses in its aromas and as a powerful moisturizing agent in its Green Science™ firming skin care.
The cistus plant flowers once a year, opening a wrinkled, white, five-petaled blossom to the late winter sun for a few short days. In hot summer months, the plant exudes a sticky resin along its leaves and branches and a rich, restorative aroma. Once cut, the cistus plant automatically regenerates fresh branches for the following summer.
Since the early 20th century, the local people of Andalucía have harvested wild cistus and sold it to European perfumeries and distilleries to produce into oil. In 1989, Biolandes, a French company specializing in essential oil extraction, set up a distillation factory in the small rural village of Puebla de Guzmán, in Andalucía, and trained workers to harvest and process cistus using Earth-sensitive processes. Employing those who are connected to the needs and nuances of the local environment, Biolandes brought the business of cistus production back to its home, inspiring new jobs for its communities. These jobs enable some families to stay in their native region, rather than leave in search for work. Thus, the sustainable harvest and production of cistus oil supports local growth, livelihood and harmony.
The process by which cistus is transformed from wildly growing shrub to an essential oil begins each summer in Andalucia, where hundreds of local workers collect the organically-grown cistus twigs. With the dry ground crunching under their feet and crickets singing in rhythmic waves, workers cut 2-foot long cistus twigs, hand harvesting up to 400 kilograms per day—per person. Using a moon-shaped cutting tool called a hoz, the men pick only the young, ripened, fragrant upper twigs of the cistus plant, leaving a 6-inch stem to generate new growth the following year. This coppicing method perpetuates the cistus plants' natural cycle of growth.
Once the cistus has been cut, the twigs are packed into 15 kilogram bundles and transported by truck to the local distillery, where a group of 20 local workers process the cistus into gum or oil. In an effort to conserve resources and minimize waste, left-over cistus stems are placed into the wood-burning furnaces to create the steam needed for distillation. As a result of these efforts, there is no petroleum-based energy in the distillation factory. Then, bundles of freshly-picked cistus are steam-distilled for 24 hours. The 400 kilograms of cistus branches workers collect each day produce approximately 300 grams of the golden, fragrant oil—used in Aveda aromas for its powerful, long-lasting, sweet and spicy notes.
Aveda's search for the highest quality organic cistus essential oil brought the company to Puebla de Guzmán in 2002. At the time, neither the distillery nor the cistus oil was certified organic. Aveda initiated a conversion, partnering with Biolandes to help foster a smooth transition in the challenging path from conventional harvesting and manufacturing processes—to organic. The result is a transparent business model for organic conversion, strengthened by partnership. Since 2005, the cistus oil from Andalucia has been organically certified by ECOCERT, a third party auditing company specializing in organic standards. Today, the cistus oil Aveda receives from Andalucía is certified organic. As a result, Aveda has doubled its purchase of certified organic cistus oil from Biolandes, , purchasing 90% of Biolandes' certified organic cistus oil produced in Andalucía.
This sustainable business in partnership with Biolandes and Aveda continues to thrive, as does Andalucia's wild cistus plant. The partnership also assures a high integrity organic cistus essential oil for Aveda professionals and guests—completing the cycle of sustainability. With cistus at its heart, the village of Puebla de Guzmán represents a small-scale ecosystem tuned into community and Earth with harmony. As renewable and traceable as the self-perpetuating growth of wild cistus, the cycle from harvest to oil, from Soil to BottleSM--is beauty in balance.
“Cistus is my life; it is my family's life, my children's lives, my heritage.”
- Roman, Community member, Puebla de Guzmán, Andalucía
Cistus Ingredient Benefits
Cistus oil is used in many Aveda aromas for its powerful and very long-lasting sweet, spicy, resinous note.
At the top of the world in the himalayas of nepal, things are changing for the better for many families, and the forests as well.
It started a decade ago, when Aveda began looking for partners to make beautiful handcrafted paper for our holiday gifts. We wanted paper that was sustainably sourced--and we found it - lokta bark paper from Nepal. It's Forest Stewardship Council certified and certified Wildlife Friendly.
We learned that the people of Nepal had been making Lokta bark paper since the twelfth century. It was used for royal decrees because it's traditionally believed to last for 1,000 years. Today we use it to cover all of our gift boxes in green paper, all year long.
In our nine years* of purchasing this durable paper, we have bought over 2 million sheets, which has given employment to 5,500** people in remote villages with few opportunities for work. An amazing 90% of the papermakers are women, who give back to their communities and save money in cooperatives, ensuring a better future. 2,490 families have directly benefited from Aveda's purchase of handcrafted paper. It has helped 5,885 children to attend school since 2007—many from very poor families who could not otherwise afford an education.
Our paper purchase has also benefited the environment. Forest groups help protect 42,000 acres of forest that provide lokta bark for our gift set paper—which has received Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification. Our lokta bark paper is also Certified Wildlife Friendly®, which means it helps protect the beautiful diversity of Himalayan wildlife, like the red panda and endangered snow leopard. Protecting the forest not only preserves habitat but also fights climate change. This is a gift for all of us.
We believe you give joy with each gift covered in Lokta bark paper from Nepal.
*2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016. **Full and part-time.
Step into the Amazon borderlands. Meet an association of farmers who converted from traditional agriculture to agroforestry. See how they’re helping revitalize farms and forests around Tomé Açu, Brazil with certified organic cupuaçu (koo-poo-AH-soo).
Not long ago, rural farmers in Tomé Açu, Brazil, struggled to support their families—even on the borderlands of the bountiful Amazon jungle—because their land was depleted by decades of clear-cutting and burning for traditional agriculture and cattle ranching, which proved unsustainable for their small family farms.
In 2005, they decided to make a change, and more than 20 farms formed an association to adopt a more sustainable method of farming, called agroforestry. They learned that by mixing crops like passion fruit and black pepper, with trees like Brazil nut and cupuaçu, they could increase the yield of each plant, and replenish nutrients to their depleted soils in a more natural way.
Many of the farmers planted cupuaçu, a native tree, because it grows in a mutually beneficial way with other trees and crops. They sold the fruit pulp for food and threw away the seeds—until they discovered the unexpected treasure they held: a rich, moisturizing and conditioning butter with a “growing” value in the global market.
Farmers began selling the seeds and in 2006, many converted to certified organic farming to earn even more. In 2014, Aveda funded the purchase of a seed dryer through the Global Greengrants Fund to help the association produce their own butter—and earn four times more than they did from selling the seeds.
The association’s sales director, Manuel do Carmo, says, “With this process, we also begin to earn more…and invest more in the education of our children, have better housing and transportation.”
The association plans to also reinvest some profits in seedlings and reforesting.
Yet, they believe their greatest investment extends to all of Brazil, to the thousands of visitors who come to learn their model of success, and to younger generations who will return to Tomé Açu and build upon the legacy they started.