A Vision for Lanolin
One vision, many partners and more than seven years of development activities were needed to create something that seemed impossible: lanolin that is derived from organic sheep and can be traced back to organic farms. But, we did it. We now exclusively use organic lanolin in our products. Here is how and why this sustainability project was so important to us:
What is Lanolin?
At Dr. Hauschka we are open about that fact that our cosmetics are not always completely vegan. We deliberately use ingredients from every corner of nature’s kingdom. Lanolin, which is secreted by sheep and also known as wool wax, is a good example of a valuable substance. When used in creams and ointments, it protects and soothes the skin. However, we were not completely satisfied with the lanolin that has been on the market, up until now.
Since organic lanolin was not available anywhere, our ingredient sourcing partner; Naturamus, initiated the production of lanolin derived from organic sheep with a partner in Argentina. This partner offers both sheep breeding and the subsequent wool processing that cares strongly about the health and well-being of the animals and also the environment.
Organic sourcing of Lanolin
Shearing takes place every year during the Patagonian springtime (between July and September). The shearing process, or esquilada, is followed by scouring. The by-product that results from the scouring process is lanolin. The rest would be so simple – if only organic sheep did not have problems with parasites. But they do. For that reason, the use of certain animal treatment agents is required by law, including in organic sheep farming. And that is precisely why organic lanolin did not exist until we found a farmer who was prepared to follow an innovative path with us. Organic sheep farmers do not use preventative pesticides, as is common in intensive livestock farming. The sheep are not treated unless a vet finds evidence of a parasite infestation. In that case, an alternative method is used. Instead of herding the animals through tubs full of pesticides, on an organic farm, they are simply sprayed with the substances. Together, these measures significantly reduce the amount of pesticides used and ensure we maintain our 100% natural formulas.
We are now just one processing step away from the sustainable wool wax for which we have been searching the globe for years. The lanolin must be cleaned in order to filter out the last remaining pollutants. We were also able to secure a partner who does not use any of the petrochemical and harmful solvents that are usually used. This results in high-purity, organically produced wool wax that can be traced back to every step of the production process – right back to the pastures that the animals grazed on.
Incidentally, sustainability is not the only standout feature of ‘our organic lanolin’. It brings together conservation, animal welfare and product quality. As wool scouring and refining take place in the country of origin, the value created stays in Patagonia. As well as the benefits for the planet, the economic benefits are significant. We make sure that we share these fairly with all our partners along the supply chain.
After 7 years of hard work, we are already looking forward to the next sustainability milestone we can reach as a global company.