How We Work
Being a socially responsible business can make things a little more complex, with the need to balance the business vs. the social mission. This being the case, we wanted to take the time to properly explain our model and how we work.
It all begins with our cooperative that is based in Agadir Morocco. Our 60 women, which has grown from the original 18, are the producers of our argan oil and members of the cooperative. As such, we work together to empower these women with fair wages and security, in addition to producing a great product for our consumers.
The first step to improving the lives of the women comes in providing them fair compensation for their work. Making argan oil is a labor-intensive, tedious process, and unfortunately much of the industry takes advantage of the women in this region for cheap labor. We take a different approach, putting their livelihood first, we ensure they get the maximum return for their work, which is demonstrated by the figure below.
We are able to achieve this higher level of return by cutting out middlemen and selling directly to our customers, while also providing a higher quality product. In the end, this approach leads to an almost 10x return above the industry standard to the women and their families.
Money isn’t our only effort in helping the people in this region, as we have also partnered with Volunteer Morocco to maximize our impact in the surrounding communities. To date we’ve participated in tree planting campaigns, irrigation projects, and more, with plans to expand our collaboration in the coming years.
Our commitment to being socially responsible doesn’t end with our cooperative, but also in how we engage with you, the consumer. A major part of this side of our model comes in the form of transparency. This ranges from keeping you informed of what ingredients are being used in our products to understanding how we operate as a cooperative.
One important aspect of this is ensuring you know how we spend your money, which brings us to the Know Where Your Money Goes tool. Every purchase you make online, is broken down into the following areas outlined below, which demonstrate exactly how we’re using your funds.
Currently, for every purchase we return approximately $3.00 directly to the cooperative, which is about 17%. Compared to the industry, this is at least 10 times more than other cooperatives and almost 30x more than private entities.
It is our mission to maximize returns to the cooperative, while providing high-quality, natural products to our consumers. As we scale, costs will decrease in areas like manufacturing, packaging, and shipping, which will directly increase the share women are able to earn - so the more you buy, the more good we can do together!
Hopefully this quick primer has helped you better understand how we operate as a social enterprise and inspired you to support our cooperative. Be sure to check out our website to find our latest products and impact the women of our cooperative.
Peace & love,
Aly at The Argan Tree