What does a person feel when they hear the word luxury? Perhaps comfort, reminding you of king-sized beds and plush duvets. Perhaps high-end, bringing up thoughts of gold jewellery and expensive clothing. Luxury in a product is the ultimate pursuit of excellence – to invoke these feelings and more in a customer is the goal. This feeling of luxury is what we pursue through our work at Santanol.
Santanol, Mercer’s plantation and distillation company in Western Australia that grows, distills, and sells Indian Sandalwood oil, is known in the fragrance industry for its sustainable practices and high-quality oil. Used in flavour and fragrance, aromatherapy, skincare and pharmaceutical products, Sandalwood adds a luxurious depth and history to its products. But just how do we produce this high-quality oil while maintaining our commitment to Pure. Ethical. Sandalwood?
With a pure, ethical, sustainable approach.
The Santanol plantations were established as part of a global conservation program, with our Research and Development Centre developing methods to grow East Indian Sandalwood trees in the Australian climate. These methods needed to ensure that the trees were protected without compromising the habitat for local wildlife or tampering with the quality of this rare resource – environmental integrity and product integrity work hand-in-hand for material this fine.
Ethical Management of the Plantation
The establishment of the Santanol plantations back in 1999 means that the same land has been farmed for multiple decades, ensuring that the land is a reliable source for ethical growth. Through the growth and harvest of Sandalwood, an internal seed orchard has been developed meaning that the healthiest and most diverse seeds are planted to increase the quality and yield of Sandalwood oil. While the land is being farmed, the surrounding savannah is untouched, ensuring that the local wildlife is not disturbed and are welcome to find shelter within the plantations as well.
Maintaining Purity in all Aspects
Purity of our oil means purity in our approach to protecting the plantations. At Santanol, we avoid the use of pesticides unless we have to. Rather, we first use a number of methods to naturally protect the trees from weeds and pests – methods that often serve a double purpose. As the Sandalwood tree requires a host tree to assist in collecting nitrogen for better growth, these host trees also work to deter weed growth. Goats roaming on the plantation also work as weed control while providing added fertilizer for the soil. Added microbes to the soil have also been recognized by the introduction of mites and ladybugs to the plantation, with their main purpose as pest control.
A Sustainable Footprint
Being located in a savannah region, the plantations are subject to monsoon rains during the wet season, providing natural irrigation to the Sandalwood trees. However, we’re prepared for the dry season as a catchment basin collects monsoon water that is then distributed to the trees through gravity-fed flood irrigation. The Sandalwood tree only takes as much water as it needs, meaning any excess returns to the natural water system, to the river and continuing its journey to the sea. Because this system doesn’t require any pumps, no added energy is required for irrigation. Energy is also saved in our steam distillation process, as we use natural gas boilers to power the equipment.
Pure. Ethical. Sandalwood. A feat that Mercer and Santanol can achieve together in our pursuit of excellence by being Sustainable. By Design.