Lush's Head Perfumer

Lush's Head Perfumer

18 May, 2017
Sustainable Farming and Permaculture
Simon Constantine Speaks about Lush's SLush Campaign

Lush’s head perfumer Simon Constantine has made a very special media-first appearance in Hong Kong’s flagship outlet. Simon, the son of Lush’s two co-founders Mark and Mo Constantine, runs the fragrance department and has been involved in actively pushing for ethical buying and environmental protection. We at Ecozine were very privileged to speak with him regarding the company’s SLush fund campaign.

SLush, which stands for Sustainable Lush, serves as a partnership between Lush and fellow communities. It provides funding and training to aid in the production of ingredients for Lush’s products and also gives a boost to community businesses. In Kenya, for example, Lush have given the Maasai people the means to farm and grow aloe vera plants, which are then used in Lush’s products. To combat the problem of animals such as elephants, giraffes and goats trampling over their crops, Lush have gone the extra mile by installing specially made fences. The campaign also helps local businesses by providing funds. Lush funded a Kenyan beekeeper to effectively teach and train women on the aspect of sustainable beekeeping as well as the harvesting of honeycombs. As a result, the women now have their own beehives and are able to produce fresh honey, which they sell and distribute locally.

The SLush fund is based on the principles of permaculture, an alternative to agricultural farming. The word itself is a portmanteau of the words ‘permanent agriculture’ as well as ‘permanent culture’. It is simulates the patterns and features observed in natural ecosystems to produce agricultural goods. It is at its most basic level, a garden that can take care of itself. For example, to help the aloe plants become more self-sustaining, Moringa seeds were planted in between them, which will in turn provide nitrogen for the soil. It further improves conditions for the aloe by acting as a shade once the plant has fully sprouted. As an added surplus, the seeds can also be used to produce soap. The simple act of arranging seedlings to complement each other in the long run is one of the staple ideas that fuel permaculture’s success and innovation in today’s farms. “Sustainability refers to reaching a plateau where you can just keep everything steady – it’s like you put one thing in and get one thing back,” says Simon.

It is this system that Simon and his team are confident will redefine how people and businesses will approach farming. “There’s big potential in the horn of Africa where at the moment you’ve got disaster relief efforts ramping up because of the ongoing drought – so we’re interested in how in a sensitive way, the kind of more holistic approach of permaculture can bring to a region like that”.

Though extremely effective, traditional ideas must be superseded by new ones, which will deter new businesses from venturing into the movement. “I think the biggest barrier is getting people to take that risk and try it out in the first place - especially when people have to step out of what they know”. There is an underlying degree of irony here, as Simon mentions the prevalence of permaculture practiced in the past. “Indigenous knowledge has always played a part in permaculture, and this knowledge can be awakened – sort of like empowering old technologies to come back in a new framework”. “The idea of permaculture works very well with nature, doesn’t require that many chemicals or for you to burn the land”. “One needs to eliminate bad habits that have been passed down”. Agriculture still rules Kenya’s economy, even though more than 80 percent of its land is too arid and infertile for efficient cultivation.

Moving forward, Simon stands proud on Lush’s efforts in combatting unsustainability and has high hopes in expanding the SLush fund to other parts of the world. “We’re always open to applications and projects anywhere in the world – it doesn’t even have to be in Africa or regions like that. It can be absolutely anywhere”. So far, Lush have invested over 2.2 million pounds in SLush to support the ongoing development of 44 projects in 21 different countries.

By: Ecozine Staff


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