Colgate-Palmolive commitment to buy from First Nations growers
[by Ryan Evans]
Miranda Tapsell. Image: supplied
Sourcing of native ingredients for Palmolive Skin Food hand and body cleansing products aims to spur action by industry in support of Indigenous communities.
How can the choice of where to buy trending ingredients by one of Australia's leading personal care brands spark meaningful change for First Nations Peoples?
Colgate-Palmolive’s latest hand and body cleansing product range, Palmolive Skin Food, is infused with native Australian extracts. While native ingredients like river mint and quandong peach are on-trend - with the industry expected to double between 2020-2025 - First Nations representation in the native agricultural supply chain is low; industry bodies suggest less than 2%2.
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“When we started our Skin Food journey we hadn’t planned to seek out First Nations suppliers,” said Senior Brand Manager at Colgate-Palmolive, Kate Johnson.
“But as the team developed the new range, we came to learn about the underrepresentation of First Nations Peoples in the native agriculture supply chain. By partnering with First Nations growers, we hope to set off a domino effect among companies like ours, which will provide new opportunities for indigenous communities.”
Early on, the team met Dominic Smith, owner of the Pundi Produce & Diramu brands and proud Yuin man living on Ngawait country in SA.
“He opened our eyes to how companies could support First Nations Peoples through the native agriculture supply chain,” Johnson said. Following in the footsteps of his Aboriginal ancestors, Dominic uses a mix of ancient & traditional methods to grow native river mint in
aquaponics systems that encourages biodiversity & water conservation. Dominic is supplying the native river mint for Palmolive Skin Food's newest hand wash, Palmolive Skin Food Native River Mint Foaming Hand Wash, which is set to hit shelves in a few weeks.
“Aboriginal people have nurtured the native food industry for 60,000 years.” says Dominic.
“Native plants have been our food & medicine, our totems, our songlines & our cultural heritage; but we are sometimes overlooked in the industry, and business efficiency takes priority. It’s time to change to a future where our People are empowered, they have a strong belief system & our culture is celebrated & shared with everyone.”
Said Lisa Carroll of NATIVE EXTRACTS, a leading supplier of Australian native botanical extracts in collaboration with First Nations enterprises, “If we can strengthen growth of the native ingredient supply chain, we can improve socio-economic outcomes for First Nation growers as well as amplify their important stories, which need to be heard."
The Colgate-Palmolive team, after meeting with Dominic and other Indigenous agricultural business owners, Aboriginal Elders and community members, and Native Extracts has committed to consciously source native ingredients from First Nations growers and suppliers.
The Company also has established a sponsorship program with First Nations growers that invests in infrastructure for the native foods industry. And importantly, the brand is sharing the stories of three First Nation growers as part of its new campaign, titled ‘We not me’, to promote its Skin Food range. Native foods are synonymous with First Nations People, culture and ancestral heritage.
These profile videos are intended to shine a light on the importance of First Nations participation in native agriculture.
Colgate-Palmolive Marketing Director Anthony Crewes says “We have no illusions that the Palmolive brand alone can make a lasting impact on the prospects of First Nations growers, but we hope our step forward in forming meaningful partnerships inspires change amongst our industry. Collectively, we can make a difference. We encourage all manufacturers to take a closer look at their supply chains and consider the conscious choice for authentic inclusion of our First Nations native plant growers within Australia.”