Why we don't use palm oil
Palm oil and palm kernel products are widely used soap ingredients that we refuse to use. Yes, even the sustainably sourced version, and here is why. Palm oil and it's derivatives are found in over half of the products in the supermarket, including food, candles, soap, cosmetics, as well as being widely used as a cheaper and "green" fuel source. The good news is that it is a cheap versatile oil and does make inexpensive bubbly soap. The commercial process does make it a drying soap, but sadly that is what consumers have come to expect from all soap. Or so they think.
By now you may have read about the devastation being caused by this seemingly unquenchable demand for palm oil. The World Wildlife Fund writes "The (palm oil) industry is linked to major issues such as deforestation, habitat degradation, climate change, animal cruelty, and indigenous rights abuses in the countries where it is produced….300 football fields of rainforest is cleared each hour to make way for palm oil plantations.”
This deforestation and loss of habitat is pushing many native species to extinction. Orangutans, who live only in the rainforests of Borneo and Sumatra, may be extinct in a decade, along with Asian tigers and Asian rhinos. The palm oil mania is causing massive deforestation, and what was mostly limited to Indonesia and Malaysia, this is now spreading to South America and Africa.
Despite the fact that some countries are trying to establish more sustainable approaches to production, including so-called certifications, there is still plenty to be worried and suspicious about how the oil is produced.
Our Planet Soap knows that great soap can be produced without palm oil, even if we do pay 2-3 times more for good olive oil and nut butters like shea and cocoa butter, than we would for palm oil. Olive oil-based soaps have been made for thousands of years! Given that there is such worldwide demand, we feel that the palm oil industry can survive without this soap maker!
Be an informed consumer. You have to read labels, but because palm oil products have hundreds of different names, such as sodium palmate, palmitic acid, palm kernelate, etc. There are plenty of resources and printable lists online, such as:
The Rainforest Action Network: https://www.ran.org/the-understory/palm_oil_s_dirty_secret_the_many_ingredient_names_for_palm_oil/