At the LUSH Summit with Khadi Papers
In February I attended the annual Lush Summit in London, a two-day extravaganza with suppliers to Lush from around the world, materials innovators, campaigners, environmental activists, re-wilding project leaders, inventors, musicians and so many all-round great people.
I was invited by Nigel and Barbara from Khadi Papers (I visited their South India factory on my travels last year) And to meet Milan, who runs Get Paper Industries in Nepal. They work together to produce the 'Cosmic' tie-dye paper gift wrap for Lush, and we were demonstrating this process at the event, with people coming up to have a go at dyeing Lokta paper themselves.
Milan and his team in Kathmandu make paper primarily from Lokta, a native plant that grows in the foothills of the Himalayas and due to careful harvesting, is a renewable crop, re-growing in three to four years.
When Milan gets a large order of the 'Cosmic' wrap from Lush, up to 400 women are employed to help tie-dye the paper. Imagine how colourful that factory is!
Supporting a traditional industry such as this provides much needed employment for rural communities in Nepal and the business also funds a local NGO working for women's rights and girl's education.
This type of story was echoed across the Lush event. I spoke to people from around the world who contribute either materials or ingredients for Lush products, and all benefited from the ethical and responsible way that the cosmetics company buy from them.