Oryx Desert Salt is well-known for being a local, sustainable product that’s free of pollutants. However, behind every Oryx Desert Salt product on the shelf is a story of working together with not only nature, but also people and small businesses. ‘The average consumer often doesn’t know that producing our salt has a social and environmental impact far beyond what they might expect and we believe it’s important to know what that impact is,’ says Samantha Skyring, CEO and founder of Oryx Desert Salt. ‘We’re finding that more and more consumers want to know the story about the social and environmental conditions they are buying into beyond just the product itself.’
‘We’re a local South African company harvesting pristine, natural salt in an environmentally sustainable way within our own country,’ says Sam.
The 50km2 salt pan is situated in the Kalahari Desert. Here, the rain-water fed underground streams converge and constantly replenish an ancient underground lake of 55million tons from which the salt water is pumped, laid on the pan under the hot Kalahari sun and sun-dried.
Oryx also believes strongly in giving back to the community, so for every product sold, a percentage is donated to the Khomani San and Mier communities who own !Xaus Lodge in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in the Kalahari Desert.
‘We’ve also given a lot of thought to how we can make our packaging more sustainable,’ says Sam. “We have replaced paper stick-on labels with labels printed directly onto recyclable glass bottles and our ceramic grinder heads last up to 10-12 times longer than normal plastic throw-away grinders.”
Oryx has created supplier relationships with several local enterprises which all share a common empowerment goal for the people working inside these organisations.
Ukama Holdings, packages all Oryx Desert Salt products. It’s also a social enterprise started with the aim of creating micro enterprises who act as their supply chain in the various packaging services they offer.
Oryx’s pure cotton bags are sewn by a home industry project in Ndabeni village. The founding seamstress, Thaakira Essau, has grown her team to seven women in order to cope with the demands for Oryx Desert Salt bags.
Macassar Pottery which produces the Oryx Salt pots, is a self-sustaining social enterprise founded in 2010, offering a safe space for the community, youths in particular, to discover and follow their dreams.