In less than two decades, Guatemala has seen an astonishing 17 percent of its forests disappear.
Agriculture is the biggest cause of deforestation; in fact, it’s one of the world’s worst environmental problems with unsustainable farming practices taking the biggest toll. In Guatemala, lands are cleared to make room for single-crop farms to keep up with growing demand for things like cattle, sugarcane and palm oil.
Many of these farms exist on steep slopes throughout the region. With soil erosion and land clearing, forests and the communities within are left open to the devastating effects of heavy rain. Without a lush forest of trees to slow the mud and landslides, many in the community lost their livelihoods, homes and, in some cases, loved ones.
Regenerating with Lush
In 2014, we began investing in regenerative projects and working with local communities and farms to regenerate degraded land while producing ingredients for our products. In 2016, we invested in Izabal, one of the worst deforested areas of Guatemala, and purchased a former cattle ranch stretching across 223 hectares.
With every regenerative project we take on, we have three goals in mind:
1. Put more trees in the ground
2. Put more money in the hands of farmers
3. Build an ethical business that can grow ingredients with 100 percent transparency
In Guatemala, we’ve been working to slowly turn the land back into a thriving, biodiverse area where fresh ingredients like cocoa, vanilla, avocado and coconut can be grown organically, all while reversing the effects of deforestation. We rely only on organic methods of pest control, as well as natural fertilizers like agricultural charcoal that are made cleanly on site, using by-products from the farm.
Our farm has also become an important employer in the area with fair wages, safe working conditions and a place for single women to make living—something that’s historically been a struggle for many in the farming industry.
As our farm continues to grow and mature, we’re working with 387 community farmers, too. They’re each establishing their own plots using regenerative farming methods, where we’ll offer a guaranteed price for the ingredients they harvest. The focus is on mutually beneficial business partnerships, while empowering farmers to choose environmentally-sound farming over more destructive land uses.
We believe in giving back to the land, people and communities that we touch. Our goal is to work with local communities to create sustainable economies that support reforestation for future generations. Every time you buy a Lush product, you’re also investing in a future that we can all feel good about.