Mica, the ingredient that brings the shimmer to lip glosses, the sparkle to eye shadows and the glitter to nail polishes, has been under the spotlight this week because some of the world’s biggest cosmetics giants are unable to confirm that the mineral Mica in their products is not obtained using child labour in illegal Indian mines.
With many of us becoming more aware of leading a greener, more sustainable lifestyle, the demand for natural ingredients in make-up is on the rise, but just because it is natural, it doesn’t necessarily mean it is ethically sourced or socially responsible.
A significant quantity of India’s Mica is extracted in illegal mines in the states of Jharkhand and Bihar, where child labour is widespread. Children as young as five years of age climb down narrow, crumbling mine shafts at the risk and peril of being trapped underground in case of collapse, these children will then cut Mica with hammer and chisel for 7-8 hours a day.
The work is hard and dangerous. Children working risk snake and scorpion bites and they also suffer cuts and skin infections, as well as respiratory illnesses, such as bronchitis and asthma.
DanWatch, an independent, non-profit research centre which conducts investigative journalism on a global corporate impact on society and the environment, concluded that Green People was 1 of only 4 out of 16 companies questioned which could prove that they don’t use Mica that has involved child labour in its extraction.
Green People has documentation from the raw material supplier confirming that no child labour is involved in the extraction or processing of the Mica that they use. We are also one of just two companies who stated that the Mica we use does not come from India where the issue of child labour is reported.
The Mica used in the production of all Green People colour cosmetics comes from Malaysia, and not from India.
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