For years, Honua did not use sandalwood in our products as it is often not sustainably sourced. Kapua, Honua's founder, is not comfortable sourcing ingredients that do not have a sustainable, continuous source as it is important not to continue to drain that supply. However, due to mutual friends, she discovered Haloa'Āina, a Hawaiian family-owned business dedicated to restoring the native dry land forest on Hawaii Island. They have over 1 million new sandalwood trees growing on thousands of acres of forest land at their preserve.
Before their caretaking, the forest was stressed and nearly destroyed from years of cattle grazing and wild sheep. They have removed damaged trees and proactively care for the land. Due to their efforts, a natural regeneration is returning the forest to its native, pre-ranching condition. They grow sustainable Hawaiian Sandalwood that works miracles for the skin…but first and foremost they are a native Hawaiian forestry and education organization.
Honua sources sandalwood oil and hydrosol from this project, which is critical to the livelihood of the local ecosystem.
In early 2022, Honua founder, Kapua Browning, visited the project, camped on the property (!!) and toured to see the Hawaiian sandalwood trees once again thriving in the Hawaiian soil on the Big Island.
Here she is with Justin Lee, pioneer and part-owner of Hāloa'Āina. Over a decade ago, Justin's father, Wade Lee, felt a calling to do more for the Hawaiian ecosystem. He found this land, barren and nearly dead, and vowed to restore the forest to its near original state, with the help of his family and friends. Now Hāloa'Āina has become a major source of sustainable Hawaiian sandalwood worldwide.
Dive inside more of the tour with this video, which features several Honua sourcing locations, but focuses mostly on the work at Hāloa'Āina.