Palm Oil Creates Problems in Paradise
At Dulse and Rugosa we have never used Palm Oil in our soap or in any product. When our business first started, we formulated soaps based on oils that made sense to our Maine farm brand. We loved our soap but realized as we moved from experimenting to growing a business that many soaps contain Palm Oil. The reason for this is a combination of price and quality.
The controversy around Palm oil comes from the destruction of the rainforest in Indonesia. Natural rainforest habitat is being turned into Palm oil plantations. In economic terms, Palm oil makes good sense. High yields on little land make Palm oil so attractive. Currently, around 85% of the global Palm market is supplied by Indonesia and Malaysia, home to Orangutans- the great apes of Asia. For orangutans the loss of their homes means they are forced to move closer to villages and towns. Where they are considered pests and nuisances and are often killed. Sadly, Orangutans may be extinct in just a few years.
Palm oil is used in soaps because it makes a long lasting bar with a nice lather. It’s also a reasonably priced oil. Many natural, earth friendly companies use Palm oil in their soap. That’s why label reading is so important.
Can you guess who’s soap this is?
Saponified Organic Coconut, Palm, Olive Oils ([Organic] with Retained Glycerin), Water, Hemp Oil (Organic), Jojoba Oil (Organic), Salt, Vitamin E
It’s not just soap that uses Palm oil, it’s everywhere.
Here’s the ingredient list from some delicious organic cookies-
Organic Unbleached Wheat Flour, Organic Powdered Sugar (Organic Sugar, Organic Corn Starch), Organic Palm Fruit Oil, Organic Sugar, Molasses, Ground Ginger, Salt, Sodium Bicarbonate (leavening), Soy Lecithin (an emulsifier), Spice, Monocalcium Phosphate (leavening), Natural Flavor.
I love the World Wildlife Foundation’s “Peel Back the Label” activity. It’s a great visual way to understand how ubiquitous Palm oil is.
And even if you read the labels you might not recognize how Palm oil is labeled.
Here is a handy guide from WWF.
INGREDIENTS: Vegetable Oil, Vegetable Fat, Palm Kernel, Palm Kernel Oil, Palm Fruit Oil, Palmate, Palmitate, Palmolein, Glyceryl, Stearate, Stearic Acid, Elaeis Guineensis, Palmitic Acid, Palm Stearine, Palmitoyl Oxostearamide, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-3, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Kernelate, Sodium Palm Kernelate, Sodium Lauryl Lactylate/Sulphate, Hyrated Palm Glycerides, Etyl Palmitate, Octyl Palmitate, Palmityl Alcohol
All words for Palm oil
It’s easy to think as an individual or a tiny company that your choices don’t really affect the planet.
For more info in saying NO to Palm oil, check out these blogs and websites.