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  • Writer's pictureTali Orad

The Supermarket Tree

Everyday items we forget that trees provide for us and the power of consumers

Image by Manuel Willer from Pixabay

As consumers, we have the power to choose the products that we use in our daily lives. From the food we eat, the beauty products, and the medicine we use, all of these necessities are derived from trees.

Traditionally, many view trees as the sole producers of firewood, lumber, and oil. While these products do serve us, they are not necessarily beneficial to the lifespan of trees and large forested areas. In addition, the production may be controversial when they are not ethically sourced.

Trees feed us

One of the largest products from trees we benefit from is food. Fruits such as apples, bananas, mangoes, limes and more, are sold almost everywhere in the world. The range of produce is incredible, especially since not all fruit grown on trees is edible.

Nuts such as almonds, walnuts, pecans, and pistachios are also popular edible products that are common in multiple countries. These provide many health benefits including lowering the risk of heart disease when eaten regularly.

How do you start your day?

Many people drink tea and coffee on a daily basis and according to World Tea News, tea consumption across the world is 9.3 gallons per capita, while coffee is 5.6 gallons per capita.

The world population is around 8 billion and the need to feed us all, so ethical sourcing of food products becomes important. “Ethical eating” according to Food and Nutrition, is considering the economic, social and environmental impacts of food and beverage consumption. This considers aspects such as labor practices, animal welfare, and threats to land.

How can we ethically source food?

A major strategy to ethically source food is to buy locally. With products produced and consumed within proximity, this reduces the extensive life span of materials and energy used.

Eating fruits that are locally sourced and in season reduces the extensive process of transporting these products while also keeping its nutritious value.

Avoiding products containing palm oil additionally ensures ethical sourcing as extraction methods have resulted in significant deforestation and logging in tropical rainforests.

Trees keep up our appearances

While food sourced from trees will always be in high demand, we also derive a wide variety of our beauty products from trees. Let us name a few…

Salicylic acid is a popular ingredient in many exfoliating and acne prevention treatments. American Forests says this common pore-cleansing ingredient can be derived from a willow bark extract.

Skincare by L’Oreal mentions another common ingredient found in makeup products is called rhamnose, which is a sugar derived from the silver birch tree and helps with wrinkles.

When looking for sustainable and environmentally friendly beauty products, it is important to evaluate if the ingredients are naturally occurring and made from renewable, raw materials.

Labels could be a good source of information when looking for a beauty product. Many of these contain palm oils, which are often not sustainably sourced as they have led to deforestation in tropical rainforests.

It may be difficult to purchase products without palm oil. However, many labels will say “certified sustainable palm oil,” which will help you know what to buy.

Trees to promote health

Like beauty and skin products, medications are vital to our daily lives. Many ingredients in prescription medications are commonly derived from tree bark.

Taking the willow tree as an example, its bark is known for producing aspirin, due to its anti-inflammatory traits.

Witch hazel is popular in many face products, which have been shown to soothe skin.

Many remedies for common health problems are found in nature. Several examples include chamomile tea, spices, and ginkgo, leaves.

When purchasing products, we do have a choice to shop from specific companies that source ethically. One well-known beauty product company that has been progressive is Sephora, which has collaborated with organizations such as the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) to source ingredients safely and sustainably.

There is more

The list goes on and on, trees also provide us with building materials for construction, we make furniture out of them, even toys and decorative items... The list is endless. Yet, the trees on planet Earth are not.

How to keep up with ethical sourcing

As a consumer, you have the power to make decisions about the products you purchase. If we value the environment, it is logical to apply this value in our daily lives and through the money we spend.

If you are unsure how to purchase ethically sourced products, the first step is to read the product labels. Often, many will use words or phrases such as “fair trade”, “animal welfare approved”, “local”, and most importantly, “ethically sourced”.

By choosing to put your money where your values are, you have the opportunity to extend the lifetime of trees and large forested areas from harm due to over-extraction and conserve our precious natural resources.


* 1treellion Global Funds is not associated with any of the companies and brands mentioned in this article.

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