Originally, the BASF’s Argan Program was designed to study the argan tree and valorizes the oil and its by-products, while diversifying the revenue of the cooperatives and fostering preservation of the argan forest by the local population. For this purpose, BASF partnered with Targanine - a network of six oil processing cooperatives from the region of Agadir. In 2005, the first products were commercialized. This marked the beginning of the program.
Since 2005, four ingredients from the program have been commercialized:
- an organic and fair-trade certified oil (Lipofructyl Argan),
- a skin-tightening protein extract from oil cakes (Argatensyl),
- an anti-aging extract from the leaves of the argan tree that protects the skin from environmental factors (Arganyl),
- and, the brand new Argassential, another anti-aging active that improves the skin firmness and increases the volume of the lips and cheeks, thus restoring facial proportions.
BASF is also very pleased with the sustainability improvements achieved by the program. “Our local partners have consistently achieved greater levels of autonomy and sense of social responsibility. They are now sourcing high-quality argan oil. This in turn enables us to develop first-class ingredients for our customers and – ultimately – consumers, who are increasingly demanding products based on raw materials from renewable sources,” said Charlotte d’Erceville Dumond, the responsible R&D Manager at BASF.
Between 2005 and 2015, the number of cooperative members involved in argan oil production has increased sixfold and group turnover has risen by 875 percent. Today, 1,000 women from rural areas are working in the cooperatives. They now market 16 different products in total, including by-products, botanical and essential oils, and bee products.
The oil and its by-products are supplied to BASF under fair-trade conditions. These include a non-negotiated premium price, payment in advance, a fair trade premium for the oil, and long-term forecasts. Fifty percent of the price paid for oil cakes and pulp is allocated to social funds within the cooperatives.