Soya Oil


The Ingredient

Why it is good for you:

Soya oil penetrates skin easily, and blends beautifully with other natural oils. Soya oil is well known for its rich moisturising properties making it a great base for hair and body products. It is rich in essential fatty acids and therefore recommended for the care of dry and mature skin.

Ensuring Exceptional Quality: Our Soya oil is GM free and made from organically grown beans

Step 1: The land planted for soy is organically certified, and farmers are using no-till direct planting techniques – this helps preserve the nutrients in the soil, and protects against soil erosion. Soya beans are planted from October to December coinciding with the rains, and harvested in March and April. The farmers don’t use artificial chemicals, herbicides or pesticides and use natural methods of pest control.

Step 2: The beans are then sorted and transported to a warehouse in the town of Capanema, where the beans are cleaned and bagged ready for pressing. There are strict controls in place to check the quality of all the beans that come into the warehouse, and to ensure no contamination with GM beans.

Step 3: The oil is extracted from the beans by mechanical pressing. This compares to conventional soya production, where the beans are chipped and the oil is extracted using a chemical solvent called hexane. The mechanical pressing used to produce The oil The Body Shop uses leaves no residue in the oil and is non-toxic.

Step 4: The oil is left to settle, is then filtered, degummed, and shipped to Europe, where it is refined and packaged for dispatch to our manufacturers.

Facts: The Body Shop buys approximately 150 tonnes of oil each year This would need 800,000 kilos of beans each year This would need to be grown on 250 hectares of land = 500 football pitches The Body Shop buys enough Soya oil to fill over 125 bath tubs each year.

The Supplier

Location: Brazil is South America’s biggest and most influential country, covering almost half the continent. It is the fifth largest country in the world (by land mass and population) and now one of the world’s economic giants. It is traditionally known for its football prowess, coffee production and distinctive music such as samba and bossa nova. It is one of the world’s 17 megadiverse countries, harbouring extensive biodiversity, protected environments and natural resources.

There are many threats to these natural resources, with vast tracts of Amazon and Atlantic rainforest been lost in the past century. Cattle ranching, mining, agriculture and the growing of soya beans are the some of the main reasons for deforestation in Brazil. In the southern state of Parana, where the Capanema Farmers are based, the area farmed for soy is bordered on one side by the Iguacu river (which forms one of the world’s largest falls, the Igacu falls), and the Parque Nacional do Iguacu on the other, one of the last surviving tracts of Atlantic rainforest. The park was founded in 1939 and was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1986, covering over 220,000 hectares on the Brazil-Argentine border. It has over 2,000 species of trees and 400 species of bird, and is home to many endemic species.

History: Many of the soyabean farmers in the Capanema district believe in preserving nature and have been passionate about organic farming for decades. Many of them tell us how they notice a marked improvement in their health as soon as they stopped working with chemicals and harmful pesticides. They have also resisted genetic modification, preferring instead to produce organic soya. The Body Shop started trading with the Capanema Soya farmers in in 2000.

Why we are working with them: Apart from ‘Support Community Trade’, The Body Shop also strongly believes in ‘Protecting the Planet’ as one of our five values, and as such were aware when we first started using soya oil of the potential negative environmental (as well as social) impacts of sourcing this ingredient. So when we set out to find a suitable supplier back in 2000, we worked with local NGOs in Brazil to find a group that we could work with who supported and met our Commitment, and our Community Trade principles.

In choosing to work with smallholder organic farmers we are supporting a more sustainable form of soy cultivation, which does not use harmful or synthetic pesticides or fertilizers, using small plots of land that are conducive to improved crop diversification and intercropping, as well as maintaining or improving the local flora and fauna. In order to qualify for organic status (the beans are certified to both EU and USA standards), the farmers are not allowed to plant on cleared land, and in Brazil they also have to ensure 20% of their land is planted with trees. Many of these farmers have farms that border the National Park of Iguazzu, one of the last remaining tracts of Atlantic Rainforest, and the farmers work very closely with the park authorities to support initiatives such as improved wildlife corridors. The Body Shop has also worked very closely with WWF UK and WWF Brazil on the issue of soy, and we continue to share best practices with them. They also regard our supplier as a good example of sustainable soy, and support the view that sourcing from smallholder farmers is a sustainable alternative to the big agri-businesses that are so often cited as responsible for negative environmental and social impacts.

There are stringent control systems in place ensuring traceablity of all beans used to make the oil right back to individual farmers, and our supplier has a dedicated farmer support team who are responsible for ensuring they meet the organic and environmental criteria that are conditions of sale.

The Community

Why it is good for them:

Community Benefits: Most of the deforestation in Brazil has been attributed to burning and logging to create farms and soya farming. This is growing rapidly in Brazil and has been identified as a key issue by the WWF. The Capanema Farmers are committed to preserving nature and growing GM free organic soya. Most of the farmers are smallholders and while most of their income comes from selling soya, they grow other crops and vegetables for sale and family consumption. The Body Shop pays a premium on top of the price of the Soya oil that goes to a fund managed by a small co-operative of organic fair trade registered farmers. The fund has financed farmer training on organic farming techniques, FLO certification and bulk purchase of agricultural inputs such as organic fertilizer.

Environmental stories: Protection: Iguassu falls: Their name comes from the Guarani or Tupi words y (IPA:[.]) (water) and uasu (IPA:[wa'su]). Legend has it that a god planned to marry a beautiful aborigine named Naipi, who fled with her mortal lover Taroba in a canoe. In rage, the god sliced the river creating the waterfalls, condemning the lovers to an eternal fall. Theres are 275 falls along 2.7 kilometers (1.67 miles) of the Iguazu River. It has been nominated as one of the modern 7 wonders of the world, UNESCO world heritage sites since mid 1980fs The Atlantic Forest initially spanned 500,000 square kms, shared between Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay. However, only 7.4 percent of the forest is left today . or about 35,000 square kilometers, making it one of the most threatened and fragment subtropical forests in the world.) The forest is home to more than 20,000 plants species . of which 8,000 can be found nowhere else . and 1,000 bird species, 372 amphibians, 350 types of fish, 197 types of reptiles, and 270 mammals.

Long isolated from other major rainforest blocks in South America, the Atlantic Forest has an extremely diverse and unique mix of vegetation and forest types. The two main ecoregions in the hotspot are the coastal Atlantic forest, the narrow strip of about 50-100 kilometers along the coast which covers about 20 percent of the region. The second main ecoregion, the interior Atlantic Forest, stretches across the foothills of the Serra do Mar into southern Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina. These forests extend as far as 500-600 kilometers inland and range as high as 2,000 meters above sea level. Altitude determines at least three vegetation types in the Atlantic Forest: the lowland forest of the coastal plain, montane forests, and the high-altitude grassland or campo rupestre.

Working with RTRS: The Round Table on Responsible Soy was formed in 2006 to address the issue of forest conversion for the production of soya particularly in Brazil, Colombia, Argentina and Paraguay. The Atlantic Forest and Cerrado savannah areas of South America are particularly threatened by a rapid increase in production of this crop. WWF is actively involved with this round table and is focusing on the issue within our priority conservation regions.
Our supplier is still involved in the consultation/pilot process, and is often asked to participate and chair various events. They are part of the RTRS supported Soypsi project (see Gebana section above). Many of the farmers were RTRS certified in August 2013.

Meet Alberto and Darcy Fritzen

Alberto’s grandparents came to Brasil from Germany and he has lived in Capanema for over 30 years, and has lived on this farm for 16 years.
They own 9.5 hectares, and plant soya on about 3.5he, and the average harvest gives them 35 – 40 sacas of soya beans. They are self-sufficient with all the food they grow (90% of their food is own produce), and have livestock too. They grow maize, manioc, soya, beans, rice, grapes, garlic, peanuts, grapes and various fruits, and also have several bee hives. The couple get their cash income from the sale of soya, wine (most of their income is from wine sales), garlic, passion fruit juice, honey, and propolis.

Alberto has been an organic farmer all his life and although farming using organic methods is a lot harder, he would not want to use the ‘poisons’ used in conventional farming, as he knows they make you ill. He also thinks that organic farming is more lucrative. He knows of other farmers who have abandoned organic farming and started using GM crops, as the input costs are cheaper, but he would never want to do this as he believes it is not natural and is not good for the community or the environment and GM farming endangers nature and harms our health.
Alberto has heard about the plight affecting bees in much of Latin America, but his hives are still healthy, a result he believes of the bees feeding on GM free crops. His model farm is on an ‘agro turismo’ trail, and many foreigners have visited them over the past few years.



Gebana Brazil


Community Trade soya oil made from organic (non GMO) beans


February - April


Capanema, in the State of Parana, south Brazil


We have been using CFT oil since 2000, and buying from Gebana since 2006.