“Perfumers Promote Fair Trade for Haiti’s ‘Super-Crop'”
Reuters, April 24, 2014
“The vetiver plant, a tropical grass, is a little-known Haitian agricultural treasure, producing one of the most prized essential oils for high-end perfumes. … The crop is a major employer in the region, where farmers have harvested vetiver from the region’s dry, hilly soil for decades with little but a subsistence living to show for it – until recently. The perfume industry, spurred by the devastation from the 2010 earthquake that killed more than 200,000 Haitians, is seeking to do better by the people whose toil and land make possible the distillation of vetiver’s aromatic, woody note – the base of famous fragrances sold by Chanel, Guerlain, Estee Lauder, Christian Dior and Hermès. Major perfumers have begun to introduce sustainable agricultural practices that will offset environmental damage caused by ripping vetiver roots out of the soil. The changes have put more money in farmers’ pockets and improved oil quality in the bargain.”
Quickie analysis: Nice to see a (mostly) positive story that involves both global corporations and Haiti :-).