By Megan Vick
At the South Durham Farmers Market, we met a wonderful woman who used to live in Borneo. She was so thrilled to learn we don’t use palm oil in any of our products, particularly our soap.
Palm oil has been used for many years in nearly everything for both food and cosmetic use. It’s solid at room temperature, which makes it ideal for thickening and hardening products. It’s frequently found in granola bars, candy, and packaged food items as well as soaps, lotions, and other personal care items.
The problem with palm oil is not with the oil itself, but with the destruction of the environment that comes with the harvesting of the trees. Orangutans, an endangered species, live in the rain forests of Borneo and Southeast Asia. They are particularly affected by any deforestation in the region. In Indonesian, “orangutan” means “Person of the Jungle” and these amazing creatures share 97% of DNA with humans. It’s important to say no to palm oil (link) to help protect the environment and the species.
In Southeast Asia, conservation is not on the mind of many like it is in America. Orangutans are thought of as pests and are casually run over with logging trucks or shot on plantations. Plantation workers also burn vast areas of land to clear it for new growth. Many believe slow-moving Orangutans cannot get out of the path quickly enough and are burned to death.
Because of this information, we are 100% committed to the Orangutans and we will never use Palm Oil in our products. Deforestation is an ongoing problem and there are many alternatives to Palm Oil in both food and personal care products.
There are new and ongoing developments with sustainable palm oil. This oil is harvested responsibly and any product made with sustainable palm oil should bear a logo (find US logos, etc). Keep in mind that a very small percentage of palm oil is sustainably grown and harvested. In some cases, it’s also possible to mix certified sustainable palm with non-certified (or non-sustainable) palm and still make the claim. Food products labeled with the term “vegetable fat” may also contain palm oil. Be sure to check with the manufacturer if you are concerned.
With the increasing destruction of rain forests and of species around the world, we have successfully found alternatives to many cruel or questionable ingredients currently used. We’re proud to be a Palm-Free, truly vegan company and you can be sure no animals were harmed in the creation of our products.
Check out the World Wildlife Fund for more information on what you can do to help Orangutans.