Organic olive oil is an essential ingredient in Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Soaps and provides the velvety smoothness that they are known for. In honor of our Jewish ancestry and our commitment to promoting peaceful coexistence, our olive oil comes from the Holy Land, supplied by farmers in both Palestine and Israel.
In late 2006, Dr. Bronner’s began sourcing 90% of our olive oil from Canaan Fair Trade, a company founded by Palestinians near the West Bank town of Jenin. Their objective was to improve the economic situation of olive farmers in the West Bank through Fair Trade with customers in the West, while promoting peaceful coexistence with Israel. Canaan works closely with the Palestine Fair Trade Association (PFTA) and now purchases oil from 1,700 of their smallholder members. Dr. Bronner’s helped Canaan plan for, and initially funded, the project’s organic and Fair Trade certification by the respected Swiss certifier IMO. This boosted the project’s visibility and provided access to high-end markets in Europe and the U.S.
In the past, the export of Palestine’s high-quality olive oil had been virtually impossible due to their landlocked situation and competition with subsidized and freely-traded oil from Mediterranean countries. But now, PFTA growers are guaranteed a minimum price to cover costs of production and receive a combined organic and Fair Trade premium of 25%. Canaan donates additional funds for education, tree planting and logistics projects. Beyond our trade relationship, Dr. Bronner’s supports Canaan with distribution contacts, technical assistance and partners for development agency grants.
Since 2009, the trading relationship with Dr. Bronner’s and other buyers has helped Canaan expand and become a symbol of hope for sustainable and fair economic development for olive farmers and their communities. The company also produces and exports other traditional Palestinian foods, such as couscous and dried tomatoes, all of which allow Palestinian growers to trade directly with expanding, high-value markets for organic and Fair Trade materials while redeveloping their traditional livelihoods.
The balance of our olive oil (10%) comes from Israel. Sindyanna, a Fair Trade business run by Jewish and Arab women in Israel, supports Arab-Israeli farmers. In light of the vision of peace that the olive branch symbolizes, we are also sourcing olive oil from the Jewish-Israeli Strauss family farm in Israel, a pioneer in organic olive oil production.
To learn more, watch “Organic and Fair Trade Olive Oil from the Holy Land” now.