You’ve probably smelled vetiver at some point in your life and not even known it. The woody aroma, which comes from a tall, hardy grass grown from India to Haiti, is a popular ingredient in perfumery. Some fragrances heavily feature vetiver, especially colognes, and others use the ingredient as a “fixative” to help the scent last longer. At Aveda, we use vetiver in products like Tulasāra Firm Concentrate, Chakra Body Mist #1, and the Aveda Men line.
“It’s quite complex, rich and deep, but it has an interesting twist to it because it has a bit of sparkly grapefruit,” says Associate Pure-Fumer Kate Rosso, who works in Aveda’s Aroma Lab onsite at our HQ in Minnesota. “It’s a grass, but it’s the roots that are distilled for perfumery. The roots are really deep, and because of that, it’s a pretty hardy plant and it can survive in either dry or wet soil. It also helps prevent soil erosion.”
Vetiver is the new star ingredient in our limited-edition 2018 Light the Way candle. The Light the Way candle has become an Aveda Earth Month tradition, with 100% of the suggested purchase price of the candle going to Global Greengrants to fund clean water projects around the world. The vetiver aroma does more than just scent your home with rich, woody aroma, though.
We’ve been working with the people of Haiti to harvest our vetiver for years, but on
October 4, 2016, Hurricane Matthew devastated the island, killing over 1,000 people and devastating the region. The vetiver farmers lost a majority of their crops, along with their animals and homes. Working with Global Greengrants, we immediately sent $10,000 from Light the Way candle sales to Heifer International to help fund a generator for one of the large water bottling plants in the affected area. In addition, $5,000 was also provided to the Lambi Fund to provide more clean drinking water and infrastructure repair for those in most need in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew.
The Light the Way candle proceeds have also helped Haiti rebuild. Working together with Aquatic Resources Conservation Group (ARC), we’re helping to construct three sustainably built homes in the community of Favette, with bathrooms, solar stoves and solar lighting.
The Favette Vetiver Depot and Community Center is also being built in partnership with Heifer International and International Flavor and Fragrance, one of our top aroma distributors. The center will be earthquake, tornado and flood-resistant, and will include a water catchment system to provide water for the community, plus offices, bathrooms and more, giving the people of Favette a place to gather.
In total, you’ve helped us give a grand total of $170,000 in grants for Haiti since 2010 — pretty amazing, right? Every time you light your new Earth Month candle, enjoy the vetiver aroma and think of the good work you’re helping us carry out in a very special place.
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