Greenman uses community-farmed organic beeswax from Africa because it is pure, kinder to bees, and better for your skin
Greenman uses organic, community farmed beeswax from Africa as the base for our balms, because it really works to help protect your skin, and is a gift from nature used by our ancestors for as long we know, at least since the ancient Egyptians.
Greenman prefers to use plant products where possible, but our vision includes living with animals in a holistic way – for example, a small holding and vegetarian lifestyle with milk, eggs and honey. We did search for and test vegan waxes for cosmetics (based on hemp, candellila and olive oil) but none can be organically produced.
We found beeswax is the oldest and the best balm base, being kind and protective to skin, great texture and aroma, and with good storage and temperature stability in the pocket.
When using beeswax its especially important that it is organic, because we are going to put it on our skin, and we know some bee farmers use antibiotics and pesticides in their hives, as well as on their crops.
Searching the world for organic beeswax
The requirement for organic beeswax led us to New Zealand and California, both places where large organic plantation crops are grown. But in recent years, industrial-scale bee farming has been associated with Colony Collapse Disorder, since parasites such as Varroa Mite thrive in large scale bee farms.
Finally, our researches led us to natural bee farmers in African forests (Ethiopia and Zambia). Here, traditional methods using hollow logs (now often modernised with frame hives) are used by small scale community farmers in untouched natural forests. These traditional methods include cleaning old hives with fire, which destroys parasites. They don’t use antibiotics or pesticides to control parasites, as is done in industrial bee farming.
Not only is Greenman’s beeswax organic (certified by Soil Association), it is also community farmed, and has been done so sustainably since ancient times. Supporting communities in traditional farming helps make it sustainable to work in harmony with nature – ie, it helps protect against industrial scale plantation farming, which harms the environment in many ways (reduction in natural habitat, reduction in biodiversity, exhaustion of water resources, desertification).
Our search for organic beeswax in UK
Greenman developed BeeBalm over several years. The first tubes went on sale in March 2012 in Brighton. As we developed our lip balm, and the name BeeBalm came to us, we realised organic bees are vitally important to the organic movement.
We choose ingredients with an established reputation for protection, nourishment and antiseptic qualities. It’s not rocket science, just natural ingredients – pure, organic and unrefined – with a history of beneficial use by humans. That way we know about the products by our own experience with no need for animal testing. We specify organic because we don’t want contamination by pesticides or relatively untried industrial chemicals.
We started our search for organic beeswax during a trip to Cornwall in 2010, and continued the quest to Scotland’s Western Isles. We’ve learned the sad news that the UK no longer has any stretch of organic land big enough for bees to forage from. Bees gather their nectar and pollen over a wide range, so the farmland for miles around needs to be organic – no nasty pesticides.
By supporting organic bee farming, we help to save bees and reward farmers who don’t use the pesticides. That’s very topical right now, with pesticides being blamed for massive decline in bee populations.
Greenman hasn’t given up the quest for British produced organic bee products. If we can defend the bees, we’ll have taken a big step toward saving our planet.