Hi Lucy, would you like to introduce yourself and your product? I’m 23 and the co-founder of Lucy Bee Ltd, along with my dad. We set up the company to import the best quality, unrefined, organic, raw, coconut oil at an affordable price. We were introduced to the benefits of this amazing store cupboard staple in 2007 by a friend, from Hong Kong, and wanted to share our discovery with everyone! Lucy Bee Coconut Oil is a natural, unprocessed oil, cold press extracted from organically grown, mature coconuts. It is, also, classified as raw, meaning, minimal heat is used during extraction (max 45C), to retain maximum nutritional value. We insist on being Fair Trade certified so our producer families can benefit, too. Our unrefined coconut oil can be used as a replacement for processed oils in all cooking plus as a wonderful, natural beauty product when used on hair and skin. Its uses are seemingly endless! Where did your journey begin? I was diagnosed coeliac when I was 18 months old so my parents were forced to look at labels and ingredients for everything we ate. With very little gluten free foods readily available at that time, it was easier to cook from scratch……this proved to be a blessing in disguise as we’ve always eaten healthy, nutritious, natural foods. As a consequence of this, I’ve got a real interest in the power of foods for health and their healing properties. As part of this journey of eating healthily, we were introduced to coconut oil as I’ve mentioned and realised that this was the missing link in our dietary jigsaw – a healthy fat with wonderful benefits. Dad already imported an organic brown rice pasta (because we couldn’t, initially, find any that held their shape and texture) and because unrefined coconut oil was quite expensive, we decided to look at sourcing a quality extra virgin coconut oil that we could share with everyone, at a reasonable price, too. We quickly realised that coconut oil tastes different depending on the country it’s from and the extraction method used, so took our time to choose what we firmly believe is the best. At what point did you decide to ethically source your ingredients? From day 1. It is the foundation of our company that anything with the Lucy Bee name has to be ethically sourced. We’re really proud to say that our coconut oil is Fair Trade certified and has already helped to make a difference to lives through fairer wages and sustainable community developments. Our contributions have helped to dig wells for clean safe water for the local community of our coconut farmers in the Philippines, plus school scholarships for children and solar light bulbs for their one-roomed wooden homes. Our contributions in the Solomon Islands has helped to supplement incomes used for education and daily living needs. We strongly believe in the values and principles of organic farming methods and care for the environment. It’s up to all of us to care for the world we live in. Can you tell us about your decision to use glass jars instead of plastic? This was a no brainer as far as we’re concerned! For far too long, plastic has been littering the Earth. Those images of whales washed up on the beach with their insides bloated with ingested plastic send a really powerful message. As part of our ethos of caring for the environment, it was a natural choice to use recyclable glass jars. This, also, ensures there’s never any risk of plastic toxins leaching into our oil. How important is being ethical and sustainable to Lucy Bee? It’s what we are about – so very important. We import our coconut oil from the Philippines, the Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka and the Dominican Republic, too, ensuring the oil is organic, extra virgin and raw, we also insist on it being Fair Trade certified. The oil would be the same whether Fair Trade or not but we CHOOSE Fair Trade because we feel it’s important to help improve life for those that produce the oil for us. Because of this, we’ve ensured fairer wages and working conditions for those producers in the Solomon Islands and Sri Lanka – before, they weren’t Fair Trade certified. The coconut trees that produce Lucy Bee Coconut Oil are grown in agroforestry. This means the crops are grown amongst the natural tropical vegetation and it is one of the most environmentally friendly agricultural production systems in existence. Though not part of or a requirement of Fair Trade, crops grown in agroforestry work in harmony with the scheme. Agroforestry contributes to soil fertility, cleaner water through reduced nutrient and soil run off and it allows for other crops to be grown between the coconut trees. How important do you think it is for businesses to have a strong environmental policy containing activities like recycling and carbon footprint reduction? Obviously it’s up to each individual or company. At Lucy Bee we use recyclable glass jars, our packaging trays are from recycled cardboard and we use recycled paper for our brochure, too. As a family we recycle – it’s second nature really! What advice would you give to other companies to improve their products? I’d say listen to your customers. How can using Coconut Oil make people more resourceful? Well, by purchasing a Fair Trade product you’re already helping others, without necessarily realising it. Glass jars are great to reuse for storage or use as an on-the-go drinks glass. To help our readers, we’ve got a great article on our blog with some suggestions for reusing the jars:. Where do you see Lucy Bee Coconut Oil in five years time? We plan to continue to expand and introduce other natural products that reflect our ethical ethos and complement our belief in a healthy lifestyle   Lucy Says: "Believe in what you’re doing and have consideration for others along the way."