Soapstone has been used since 2550 BC to sculpt beautiful objects and buildings: both Rio de Janeiro’s famous Christ the Redeemer statue and the elaborately carved Hoysala temples in India are crafted from soapstone, just like our Community Fair Trade Home Fragrance Soapstone Oil Burner.
We source our Community Fair Trade soapstone burner from Tara Projects, an alternative trade organisation that supports artisans across North India. Tara pays fair wages, on time, and aims to provide producer groups with regular orders so that they can earn a steady income and avoid exploitation from middlemen.
The Body Shop Soapstone Oil Burners are produced in Agra, a region of India famous for handcrafted stoneware. Local craftsmen still ply their trade using traditional techniques passed down from father to son: these techniques were used many centuries ago to create the beautiful stonework on the region’s most famous attraction: the Taj Mahal.
Our handcrafted burners are produced by master craftsmen, using exquisite Indian Gorara soapstone. The mineral composition of the stone means that the final colour of each item is only revealed at the final polishing stage, making each item unique.
Tara provide their producer groups with programmes on education, health and finance. They encourage and train each group to become financially self-sufficient by opening bank accounts as well as developing savings and working capital funds.
Although child labour has been outlawed in India, the practice is still widespread. Tara runs campaigns to eradicate child labour, a particular issue in many of the communities it works in. Tara also ensures that all members’ children are at school and where necessary will sponsor them, especially in areas where girls are not traditionally sent to school.