3 Ways Argan Oil Makes Positive an Impact on People and the Planet

What is Argan Oil?

Argan is a tree that bears fruit with an oil-rich kernel. It is found almost exclusively in the semi-desert lands of Morocco. Locals have used argan fruit for centuries as a food source for themselves and goats, which are another common food source.

Photo by Hafida Abousalih on Unsplash

How is Argan Oil Made?

There has been a wave of articles about argan oil and whether it is made from goat poop. It’s not… Goats eat argan fruit, including the kernels, which they swallow whole and can’t digest. Technically, the kernels can be collected from their poop and planted, or harvested for oil. That’s about as much involvement goats have.

Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash

Environmental Impacts of Argan Oil

Argan trees are an environmental asset. They act as a natural barrier against desertification, preventing soil erosion and protecting water sources, which is increasingly important in hot countries like Morocco. Increased demand for argan oil has put the argan forests at risk of being wiped out. This outcome would have major environmental consequences on the landscape and local communities.

Economic Sustainability of Argan Oil

The export of argan oil allows Morocco to reach its economic goals in a sustainable way. But, economic success and sustainable production can only be achieved if governments and organizations work with locals to provide support and resources. UNESCO protected trees are largely maintained by the local population. They need the means that will determine the protection of the argan forest, rather than its demise.

Social Sustainability of Argan Oil

Before the argan oil boom, it was uncommon for women to work outside of the home, or for their children to receive an education. Women of the family usually picked and created the oil, while the men went to the market to sell it.

Photo by Jonathan Ford on Unsplash

Should You Buy Argan Oil?

The argan trade is embroiled with a mix of complex social, economic and environmental issues. As consumers, the best thing we can do is to be responsible. Living low waste means questioning how much impact a product has and how much we need it. If you are buying argan products, buy the fairest argan oil possible. Our choice help to ensure the protection of both people and forests, that are part of the argan supply-chain. Look for Fair Trade standards or brands that specifically link to co-ops they are working with. Transparency is key.

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Chelsea Webster

Chelsea Webster

Activist for joy. Writes to highlight how power systems steal your joy and how you can steal it back.