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Beauty For The World: Plant Trees, Save the Atmosphere

by Emily Barth Isler

Brands that Give Back

Beauty is supposed to be fun and glamorous. But it can also change the world, and not always for the better. Meet these exceptional beauty brands, whose founders have implemented initiatives to conserve energy and water, create sustainable packaging, make a positive human impact and fight deforestation. They are leading us in a more sustainable direction, just as we need it the most. 

Plant Trees, Save the Atmosphere

Emily Cunningham, MoringaConnect

We started working with moringa because of the social and environmental benefits of the tree. Our two million trees absorb 160,000 metric tons of carbon annually and we engage 5,000 small farming families in the production of moringa. We also created the largest solar-powered irrigation system in West Africa. Moringa is quick to grow, easy to cultivate and thrives in arid climates. It produces seeds in less than a year and leaves in just two months. Every order placed plants a moringa tree. 

—Emily Cunningham, cofounder & COO, MoringaConnect

True Moringa is a groundbreaking partnership between Emily Cunningham and Kwami Williams, who came up with the idea when they were students traveling in Ghana with MIT’s D-Lab. When they returned to Cambridge, the pair devised a proprietary extraction system that could be made available to the farmers back in Ghana, adding value and jobs on the ground, and producing the highest quality moringa oil nature has to offer. As one of the first brands to make moringa oil popular and trendy in the United States, True Moringa offers oils, lip balms, body butters and balms, body scrubs, cleansers and toners containing the vitamin-rich oil, all the while supporting the communities that harvest it back in Ghana. The oil comes from the seeds of the moringa plant, but the rest of the plant can be used to provide protein-filled food and tea.

Dr. Sarah Villafranco, Osmia Organics

At the Green Spa Network conference in 2018, I heard a lecture about environmental carbon that really opened my eyes. The speaker explained that while efforts to reduce carbon emissions are necessary and good, they are simply not enough. He went on to explain how trees, while not a permanent solution to a massive problem, could bail us out of trouble while we work on a long-term solution. 

Several months later we announced our tree-planting partnership with One Tree Planted: We planted one tree for every order. Since then, we have planted over 40,000 trees, and our team can’t wait to see how many we’ll plant in 2020. 

—Dr. Sarah Villafranco, founder and CEO, Osmia Organics

Osmia Organics is beloved by many green beauty devotees for being gentle, effective and formulated by a former ER doctor. People turn to Osmia to help with skin issues from eczema to fine lines to perioral dermatitis, because they see real results. Osmia started with artisanal soaps, and continues to make gorgeously, naturally scented oils, body butters, creams, and soaps of all kinds in addition to facial skincare. But what really sets it apart is its commitment to sustainability, from growing plants locally to planting trees.

Fabian Lliguin, Rahua

Thus far we have saved 37,500 hectares (95,000 acres) of pristine and biodiverse tribal lands with oxygen-producing trees in the Rainforest. This land is now protected through collective private property of the tribes for perpetuity. We are continuing this work with more tribes and communities, providing them with the most powerful tool in history—the legal land titles to their private property. The protection of ancient forests and its veteran trees is not only producing oxygen and preserving precious biodiversity; but most importantly, sequestering CO2 output for approximately 100,000 people per year. 

 —Fabian Lliguin, cofounder, Rahua  

Rahua has made the kind of haircare that people who don’t even know what green beauty is use, just because it’s effective, smells amazing and comes in cute packaging. But any green beauty user worth his or her salt knows that it’s also the real deal—a pure and clean solution to haircare. And beyond that, the brand gives back in a major way. Not only has it donated money to the people and ecosystems of the Amazon Rainforest, it is committed to empowering local indigenous communities. Lliguin, an Ecuadorian of Inca/Quechua heritage, is working closely with the indigenous communities to achieve the title of private property to their own land.

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