Sḵwálwen Botanicals: incorporating sustainability into plant-based skincare products

Photo: Leigh Joseph, Skwálwen Botanicals, 2020 Indigenous Business Award recipient

Sḵwálwen Botanicals exemplifies the profound intersection between sustainability and Indigenous business practices. Based in Squamish, Sḵwálwen Botanicals is a recipient of the 2020 Indigenous Business Award, showcasing its dedication to both cultural preservation and environmental stewardship. 

Skwálwencreates small batch botanical skincare products based on Indigenous plant science while honouring traditional Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) plant knowledge. Its products incorporate wild harvested plants with organic, high-quality ingredients. As an ethnobotanist and scientist, founder, and PhD candidate, Leigh Joseph leads her company in handcrafting skincare products inspired by traditional Indigenous plant knowledge, passed down through generations. By incorporating Indigenous botanical ingredients such as cedar, salal, and sage, Sḵwálwen Botanicals not only celebrates Indigenous culture but also promotes sustainable harvesting practices. 

Sustainability is woven into every aspect of Sḵwálwen Botanicals‘ operations, reflecting a holistic approach to business that prioritizes environmental responsibility. Here’s how sustainability plays a pivotal role in the company’s ethos: 

1. Ethical Wildcrafting: Sḵwálwen Botanicals prioritizes ethical wildcrafting, which involves harvesting plants in a manner that respects their natural growth patterns and ensures their long-term viability. By practicing sustainable harvesting techniques and obtaining permission from landowners and Indigenous communities, the company minimizes its impact on wild plant populations. 

2. Traditional Knowledge: Sḵwálwen Botanicals honours Indigenous traditional knowledge by incorporating ancestral teachings into its product formulations. By valuing and preserving Indigenous plant wisdom, the company contributes to the revitalization of traditional ecological knowledge systems, which are essential for sustainable resource management. 

3. Environmental Conservation: Sḵwálwen Botanicals is committed to environmental conservation and biodiversity protection. The company carefully selects botanical ingredients that are native to the region and promotes the restoration of Indigenous plant habitats. Additionally, Sḵwálwen Botanicals minimizes waste and utilizes eco-friendly packaging materials to reduce its environmental footprint. 

4. Community Engagement: Sḵwálwen Botanicals actively engages with Indigenous communities and collaborates with local artisans and knowledge keepers. Along with donating product for events, raffles and community use, Skwálwen has planted hundreds of Indigenous plants back onto the lands in partnership with Indigenous youth. 

 By fostering partnerships with Indigenous organizations and supporting community-led initiatives, the company strengthens cultural connections and promotes economic opportunities for Indigenous peoples. 

Through its commitment to sustainability and Indigenous values, Sḵwálwen Botanicals demonstrates the transformative potential of business as a force for positive change. By honouring traditional knowledge, promoting environmental stewardship, and uplifting Indigenous communities, Sḵwálwen Botanicals embodies a vision of sustainable business rooted in respect, reciprocity, and reverence for the natural world. 

BC Achievement: Elevate Excellence. Share Success. Inspire Change.

Join the Conversation, Share the News.