As a longtime supporter a environmental and humanitarian causes such as the World Wildlife Fund and the Ethical Justice Foundation, Cole isn’t a stranger to working for the greater good. (She’s also the co-founder of The North Circular, an ethical accessories label that enlists local grannies to knit with wool from rescued sheep.)

“You can empower communities through trade, rather than making them dependent on aid,” Cole says.

“I have long been an advocate of the potential of using business and consumer power to cause positive change,” Cole said in a blog post. “It feels amazing to be supporting a brand who are pioneers in that way of working.”

In February, Cole paid a visit to Tungteiya co-operative in rural northern Ghana. Comprising more than 500 women from 11 villages, it’s the largest ingredient supplier within The Body Shop’s fair-trade program. The retailer buys 450 tons of Shea butter from the group every year, paying not only an equitable price for their labors but also a premium that goes into a fund for community projects.

“Today I’ve met some of the grandmothers,” Cole said on her trip. “None of them had been educated or could write. But their grandchildren are now being educated because of the schools the premium fund has paid for, it empowers the whole community. You can empower communities through trade, rather than making them dependent on aid. And on the other side of the equation, we, in the more developed countries, are lucky to get the global products we want and enjoy things from all over the world.”

+ Lily Cole for The Body Shop

+ The Body Shop