Cō-Impact Sourcing® – Wintergreen


Why Nepal?

Wintergreen grows in the foothills of the Himalaya, making Nepal and China the sole regions of the world with endemic, wild wintergreen. It thrives in a cool climate with heavily forested areas. We source our wintergreen from Nepal, where we support much needed income streams for harvesters and distillers.

How Does it Work?

The essential oil comes from the leaves of the wintergreen plant, which grows between 100 and 300 cm high. The leaves are hand collected by harvesters – primarily women – who then transport the wintergreen leaves in a large basket that rests on their back while being held in place by a strap around their forehead. One basket of wintergreen leaves can weigh up to 62 kg. The women sell the raw material to distillers. The leaves soak in warm water overnight before being steam distilled. Next is the distillation itself, which lasts at least 14 hours.

In Nepal, the forests where wintergreen grows are managed by Community Forest User’s Groups (CFUG) who oversee wintergreen collection to prevent overharvesting. Harvesters and distillers work with CFUGs to follow management plans that allow harvesters to collect the wild wintergreen leaves in specific areas that rotate each year.


Building Supplier Capacity for Wintergreen

Together with our partners in Nepal, we have been active in facilitating supply chain improvement and sustainability programmes for Wintergreen. We worked with our partners to develop manuals on proper collection, manufacturing, and testing practices. Then, we implemented trainings on these topics. We've also installed distillation units in several communities. These initiatives are helping optimise oil yields to make best use of this beautiful natural resource and increase income for wintergreen harvesters.

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