FairWild Week: Our Serbian Rosehips

Neal's Yard Remedies

Neal's Yard Remedies

Writer and expert

This week is FairWild week, a global campaign that shines a light on sustainable wild harvesting and aims to raise awareness of the wild plant ingredients that are in products we consume every day, from beauty and foods to home furnishings.

This is a cause close to our hearts, and we are proud that by using FairWild-certified ingredients, we can create a positive impact on the landscapes and communities where our ingredients are harvested. 

What does sustainable wild harvesting mean? Unfortunately, awareness around wild harvesting is still very low. The FairWild Foundation works to protect the planet’s last remaining pristine landscapes, and all their thriving biodiversity. Sustainable wild harvesting also means the protection of and respect for the indigenous communities that carry centuries of wild plant wisdom. Unless these communities of growers and collectors are empowered and prioritised with fair wages and premiums, we will to continue endanger wild plants through overharvesting and exploitation.

Harvesting our ingredients sustainably: wild rosehips

The majority of the radiance-boosting rosehips that go into some of our best-loved products start their life growing wild on the hillsides surrounding the town of Svrljig, in rural, south-eastern Serbia.

Our partners in Svrljig operate a family-run business, helping us to wild-harvest our rosehips alongside the 120 herbs that they collect from the area. Around 100 local villages handpick the rosehips for us during harvesting season, when the ripe berries carpet the ground in vast expanses of crimson red.

As a key source of local income in a remote area with high levels of unemployment, rosehips are deeply embedded in the culture of the area, and while the berries aren’t edible directly from the plant, they are used during harvest time to make local teas, jams, jellies and wines.

The local collectors cut, blow and sieve the rosehips to separate the seeds from the shells (only about 10-15 seeds per fruit), which are then cold-pressed in distilleries to help preserve their antioxidant properties. To ensure a sustainable harvest year after year, the collectors only pick from established plants and leave at least 10% of the fruit on the bush, to safeguard the natural regeneration of the plant.

Our Serbian rosehip oil is FairWild certified, meaning that everybody involved throughout the process is paid a fair wage, and the benefits are felt by the local communities directly. We’re also proud to have been able to support the production of a local mill, which means that the collectors are able to produce the rosehip oil themselves, instead of outsourcing them abroad, and that we are able to buy it directly from our partners in Svrljig.

Collecting Rosehips
Rosehips Serbia
Collecting Rosehips

Find out more about our other ingredients here

Or discover our glow-giving rosehips in action in our Wild Rose collection.